Meditation, which originated in India, had an almost twenty-five-hundred-year run as a physical and mental health booster and then was stopped dead by modern medicine. Until, that is about thirty years ago when DR. Herbert Benson coined the term â€œrelaxation response.â€ Since then it has been gaining ground. In 1998 Congress gave the NIMH $10 million to expand a network of mind-body research centers and provide training for health workers in a variety of meditative approaches.
The purpose of meditation, one popular version of which is called â€œmindfulness,â€ is to open the mind to sensations and thoughts and temporarily tune out everyday life. Not only does this induce calm, it also can bring about specific, quantifiable changes in the body. Most who consistently practice meditation feel different and better afterward, but a least five people now have provided specific proof that something beneficial has in deed happened.
In a 1999 study conducted by a Harvard team of researchers, five accomplished meditators spent about forty minutes in an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) machine, started at a dot on a computer screen, thought up random list of animals, and mediated. The resulting pictures of their brains showed that the regions that process positive emotions and influence cardio-respiratory function were most active during the meditation.
Check out more about alternative therapy.