6 Powerful Reasons Why Meditation Should Be Part of Your Healing Regimen
If you’re diagnosed with cancer or any other health condition for that matter including depression or anxiety, don’t make the mistake of underestimating the power of meditation for healing.
We all know that meditation relaxes you, keeps you focused and can decrease pain, but can it also contribute to healing? The answer is a resounding “yes”. Here’s why.
Meditation Promotes the Body’s Natural Healing Response
Dr. Herbert Benson, founder of Harvard’s Mind/Body Medical Institute, coined the term, “The Relaxation Response” to describe meditation that releases a biological cascade of chemicals and brain signals that slow your body down and allow your body to heal itself naturally.
He found that meditation deactivated the stress (fight or flight) response and triggered the parasympathetic nervous system, allowing for your body’s natural healing responses to kick in.
The fight or flight response left on for too long in our body is what contributes to illness or dis-ease in the first place. Meditation simply turns this off and the parasympathetic (rest and digest) system turns on. Find out more about Dr. Benson’s meditation protocol here
Meditation Supercharges Your Immune System
You could take Vitamin C, Zinc, Vitamin D and other immune boosting supplements, but you could also meditate. Since your immune system responds to both positive and negative thought patterns, meditation allows your immune system to do its job by maintaining a positive mental environment.
One UCLA study showed that HIV patients who meditated maintained more CD-4 cells, the cells responsible for keeping the virus under control
According to Deepak Chopra, meditation stimulates the parts of your brain that control the immune system. And Dr. Joe Dispenza, in his research, has shown that meditation (in just 7 days) increases Immunoglobulin A, which identifies nasty invaders such as bacteria and viruses so they can be destroyed by the immune system.
Meditation Actually Changes Your DNA
While not too long ago, doctors attributed most illnesses to a case of bad genetics, we now know from the emerging field epigenetics that very few diseases (like 5%) are actually genetic. The vast majority of them are actually influenced by epigenetics.
What’s that you ask? In a nutshell, it’s the cell’s ability to either turn on or turn off a gene expression. And whether a gene expression for cancer turns on or off will depend on lifestyle factors—stress, diet, exercise, etc.
So basically, it’s not your genetic code that determines whether you get a disease. It’s your lifestyle that influences changes in the genes. Hence, most diseases are influenced by lifestyle, which would turn on “good genes” and turn off “bad genes”.
For example, let’s say two women have a genetic predisposition for breast cancer. One drinks a bottle of red wine every night while the other rarely drinks. The wine guzzler gets a breast cancer diagnosis while the other doesn’t. No surprise. That’s epigenetics.
Or perhaps one woman struggles with stress, anxiety or some other negative emotional issue. The cancer gene will turn on, or get expressed. That’s also epigenetics.
Let’s then say that the stressed out, wine-guzzling woman decides to start meditating each day for 20 minutes. Would she still get cancer? We can’t say for sure—that would be oversimplifying.
But it would definitely reduce her chances of the gene being expressed, just as cutting out alcohol or exercising would. Recently scientists discovered that meditation can lengthen telomeres, the genetic material that influences how slow or quickly we age. Wow.
Meditation Interrupts the Subconscious Beliefs and Perceptions that May Contribute to Illness
When I first got serious about this meditation business, I was awakened to all my negative thoughts. I was too harsh on myself and constantly judged myself.
With meditation, I learned to ease up on this. As I’ve mentioned, the opposite of disease is being at ease. There could be negative thought patters, conscious or subconscious, that you are not aware of which you will become aware of through meditation.
Since negative thoughts and feelings are one of the major factors that contribute to illness in the first place, becoming aware of them is key. Meditation helps you do that and interrupts the negative thought pattern so you can change it.
Dr. Bruce Lipton, author of The Biology of Belief discusses this in detail.
“…if I have a belief, then the function of the mind is to manifest that belief so it becomes reality. For example, if I have a belief that I’m going to die of a disease because someone told me so, then the function of the mind is to convert that belief into physical manifestation, and it’s no surprise that my belief becomes reality. But it’s not because I have a terminal disease that I end up dying; it’s because I believe this disease will kill me.”
Meditation Makes It Easier to Make Healthy Choices
When you meditate consistently, you feel less gravitational pull towards alcohol, fried foods or sugar. These unhealthy substances just don’t seem to have the same level of temptation.
Don’t get me wrong. I still have a sugar addiction myself, but meditation has definitely calmed it down. It’s made me aware that I only crave sugar when I’m stressed or overwhelmed.
So now, when I’m craving a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, I simply ask myself—Why am I so stressed? I can then choose to meditate, go for a walk, or indulge in my craving without judgement.
Also, because meditation itself reduces the stress, the cravings don’t come up as often in the first place.
I credit meditation with helping me to give up alcohol and clean up my diet. It has made me more aware that making positive choices for my health empowers me and makes me feel good, and that the 5 minutes of bliss from half a pint of ice cream is not worth the way I feel afterwards both mentally and physically.
Visualization, Has Proven to influence Our Health in Radical Ways
Visualization, one form of meditation, has been shown in countless studies to have a substantial effect on health outcomes. You can read about many of these studies in the book, How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body by David Hamilton, Ph.D.
You can also look at Dr. Joe Dispenza’s work. There are hundreds of testimonials on YouTube from people who credit meditation and/or visualization techniques for their healing. This one is one of my favorites.
It’s about a woman who had stage 4 cancer, went through several western and alternative treatments, but was told there was nothing more doctors could do for her. Then she discovered meditation.
In a 7-day Dr. Joe Dispenza meditation retreat that I attended last July, I personally heard from a number of people who told me that meditation was responsible for dissolving their tumor, healing multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s Disease, and many others.
How to Get Started with Meditation
Wow. Powerful stuff. We’ve learned that meditation can help you heal by eliciting the body’s relaxation response, supercharging your immune system, changing your DNA, interrupting harmful thought patters, helping you make healthier choices, and visualizing.
So how do you get started?
For beginners, I definitely recommend starting with guided meditations. You can find a number of good ones on YouTube. Here is a good place to start. I also recommend Dr. Joe Dispenza’s meditations for powerful transformations, but they are a little longer, usually 45 minutes to one hour.
While I have heard stories of people who healed with one powerful meditation, more often I’ve heard people tell me that they healed chronic conditions such as cancer after having done meditation 1-2 hours a day for sometimes a year or two, or some even said 4-6 hours of meditation a day.
Also, I don’t recommend using meditation in lieu of conventional medical treatment. Instead, think of it as a tool in your healing toolbox that will give you better results than conventional treatment alone.
If you would like to know more about how to meditate, read this article here.