The simple and straight answer to this question is both NO and YES. Confusing! Well, meditation does not cure the disease directly; rather it organically helps in alleviating the underlying cause of most of the diseases. In other words, meditation helps in identifying and relieving those mental as well as physical factors causing harm to the mind and body respectively. Before going any further let me first clarify what meditation is?
Many people think that meditation is a practice to sit in one corner of a room with eyes closed. Yes, you are partially right. Meditation is a practice of focusing the mind firmly for a specific period of time. This can be achieved in silence or by chanting continuously. It has a higher purpose; it is a means to transform one’s mind. As the body needs exercise to remain fit similarly meditation is an exercise of mind. Meditation might be done either for spiritual upliftment or as a religious practice or simply for relaxation. In any case, meditation works as a preventive therapy against various mental and physical diseases.
Cause of disease
Have you wondered why our generation is at the receiving end of so many illnesses like neck pain, back pain, stomach upset, indigestion, diabetes, etc? Even a common cold makes us look pathetic while our earlier generation is able to carry out their routine activities with much ease although they are old. If we look at their lifestyle and ours we will know the root cause of our health deterioration. The older generation had a simple lifestyle that involved a lot of physical activity while we almost entirely rely on modern gadgets and technology to such an extent that it has become our master and we are slaves. The overuse of gadgets has made our lifestyle sedentary, dull, and extremely stressful. Our lifestyle reeks of unwanted competition and excessive desires leading to both mental and physical tension. Only when we encounter disorders like obesity, diabetes, and mental health issues like anxiety, depression, etc. do we think about our health.
Due to hectic lifestyle, we indulge in ready to order junk food laden with highly refined carbs, high-fat content and almost nil nutritional value. Even people have stale food also because of a lack of time and energy. This is highly detrimental for a health-giving rise to obesity-related diseases. Having a high carb diet is one of the major reasons for lifestyle-related disorders like diabetes, cholesterol, etc.
Every individual has a genetic identity of his own. He has received from his forefathers. So if there is a genetic susceptibility of some disease then he might inherit it. We have naturally inherited the disease-causing genes. But whether they manifest or not is our choice. By making small yet significant changes in our lifestyle and diet it is possible to manage the genetic disease susceptibility to a great extent. For example, we might be prone to high blood pressure genetically but if we take necessary steps by minimizing stress, tension both by lifestyle and diet changes it is absolutely possible to prevent hypertension and high blood pressure.
How does meditation correct the cause of diseases?
Just stay away from troublemakers (unhealthy diet and lifestyle). This is possible by exercise, a proper balanced diet, and meditation.
Meditation calms the mind by concentrating it unequivocally on a particular aspect- like the sound OM, or the name of God, etc. thereby preventing the mind from unwarranted distractions. Regular meditation puts the mind in a stable state making it more aware and alert. When this steady state is achieved we become more responsive to our inner conscious. Slowly it restrains itself from getting affected by the stressful outer hectic world. Calm and a clear mind offer better clarity of perception. Regular meditation also regulates breathing patterns which are an excellent indicator of our state of mind and body. Scientific evidence shows that guided meditation is a wonderful tool in fighting chronic illnesses like depression, heart diseases and chronic pain as mentioned below-
Meditation and mental health
JAMA internal medicine published an article wherein it was observed that mindful meditation programs over 8 week period helped ease symptoms of depression and anxiety. It is also effective in preventing depression relapse as per the journal JAMA Psychiatry, 2016.
Meditation and heart health
American Journal of Hypertension, 2014 reported a drop in high blood pressure among subjects who practiced yoga and meditation. Meditation lowers stress levels keeping blood pressure in check benefitting the heart. The American Heart Association stated that meditation indeed reduces the risk of heart disease in 2017.
Meditation and chronic pain
In 2016, the Journal of American Medical Association published research on mindful meditation that helped manage chronic lower back pain. Along with yoga, it is reported to reduce inflammation in white blood cells.
Also Read: How Meditation Can Cure Stress
Meditation and Cancer
A study published in Cancer journal, 2014 found that the ends of DNA strands (telomeres) of breast cancer patients remained intact over a 3 month period Thereby altering the body at the cellular level. Moreover, it helps to cope with the emotional stress of cancer patients as per a study in Cancer journal, 2015.
Meditation and Sleep
As per the study reported in Journal Internal Medicine, 2015, patients practicing meditation had less insomnia, fatigue, and better recovery in a 6-week program than those who did not meditate. Yes, its right a relaxed mind sleeps better feels healthier.
Meditation and Gut
Many of the stomach problems like ulcerative colitis and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) arise due to stress. PLoS ONE journal reported a study wherein subjects participating in meditation, yoga, etc showed improvement for IBS, reduced anxiety, and improved quality of life. Even stomach ulcers could be managed well by meditation and yoga.
Just meditate whenever possible. We can see the result by ourselves. Meditation helps in combating stress; a stress-free life is a happy life.