A short excerpt on the scientifically proven benefits of meditation as a catalyst to overall wellbeing, from Dr. Habib Sadeghi’s book Within – A Spiritual Awakening to Love & Weightloss.
Scientists who have studied meditation extensively define it as a hyper metabolic physiological state, a condition in which the mind exists outside of waking, sleeping or dreaming. It’s a verified fourth state of consciousness, far removed from simple relaxation. When we sustain ourselves at this unique level of mind for even short periods of meditation, the body responds in amazing ways. In fact, the quality of rest achieved during meditation is more concentrated than anything that can be experienced during sleep, and it’s much better at reducing stress and cortisol levels.1 Some studies show meditation reduces cortisol by 30% more than standard stress relief exercises.2 This is significant, not just to overall health, but to weight loss goals as well, because elevated cortisol both promotes weight gain and prevents the body from losing existing weight. To date, over 600 peer-reviewed studies, published in 160 respected medical journals in 33 countries, have been conducted on the health benefits of meditation. Other exciting research includes:
A group of patients with coronary heart disease decreased the occurrence of heart attack and stroke by 48% after following a meditation practice for five years. A group that also followed regular doctors’ orders regarding diet, exercise and medication, but didn’t meditate, did not experience this dramatic reduction.3
Those who practiced meditation for a five-year period showed biomarkers for health and aging that were comparable to someone 12 years younger.4
A regular meditation practice was found to decrease insomnia by 42%.6
Free radicals and the oxidative damage they produce decreased 27% in vital areas of the body for people that meditated regularly.5
American veterans who spent between 10 months and two years in active combat in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan experienced a 50% reduction in depression and symptoms related to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after adopting a regular meditation routine.7
These are just a few of the incredible benefits of a regular meditation practice. As you can see, meditation is far more profound than basic relaxation. When you’re in control of your mind and it doesn’t control you, the body’s healing intelligence gets to work in the way it was designed, and the results will amaze you. Meditation has also been shown to dramatically improve creativity, memory and brain function, problems with ADHD, metabolic syndrome, academic performance and much more. Meditation isn’t a panacea for all problems, but if you remain consistent, you’ll be very surprised at how it positively impacts your life in many ways you never expected.
Dr. Habib Sadeghi is the co-founder of Be Hive of Healing, an integrative health center based in Los Angeles. He provides revolutionary healing protocols in integrative, osteopathic, anthroposophical, environmental, and family medicine, as well as clinical pharmacology. He served as an attending Physician and Clinical Facilitator at UCLA-SM Medical Center and is currently a Clinical Instructor of Family Medicine at Western University of Health Sciences. Dr. Sadeghi is a regular contributor to Goop, CNN, BBC News and TEDx. He is the author of Within: A Spiritual Awakening to Love & Weight Loss, as well as the foreword to Gwyneth Paltrow’s It’s All Good, and is the publisher of the health and well-being journal, MegaZEN.