Study Shows That Mindfulness Meditation Reduces Inflammation
Inflammation is an underlying issue in many health conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and asthma. I have found that psychological stress plays a role in many such conditions. It has been found in a recent study at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, that mindfulness meditation techniques can benefit inflammation.
Mindfulness-based stress reduction consists of continuously focusing the attention on the breath, bodily sensations and mental content while seated, walking or practicing yoga. Although there has been interest in the stress reduction ability of meditation for some time, this was the first experiment to compare it to other stress reducing practices that don’t use mindfulness. In the other program there was nutritional education, physical activity and music therapy.
They used a tool called the Trier Social Stress Test to induce psychological stress and a capsaicin cream to produce inflammation on the skin. Immune and endocrine measures were collected before and after training in the two methods. While both techniques helped reduce stress, the mindfulness-0based stress reduction approach was more effective at reducing stress-induced inflammation.
Many people can’t or don’t want to take drugs or medications for their conditions, and meditation offers a basically free method to reduce stress and inflammation which is at the root of many health conditions. I often use anti-inflammatory herbs on my patients and I often suggest silent meditation at an addition to their spiritual practice. It is nice to know that science is starting to validate what spiritual practitioners have known for centuries.