Through meditation, we practice to find freedom within our minds, but did you know meditation can also free your body from chronic inflammation. There are many studies that show how we can heal chronic inflammation through a mediation practice. To learn how meditation boosts the GABA neurotransmitter click here.
What Causes Inflammation?
Inflammation is the bodies natural reaction to protect itself from injuries or infections. In many studies, stress has actually been directly linked to chronic inflammation. Stress can also be caused by what we call the monkey mind, click her to learn how meditation calms this.
Chronic inflammation can contribute to heart disease, asthma, blood vessel disease, metabolic disease, inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Flight or fight mode also referred to as flight fight or freeze, you may have heard of it before. During flight or fight mode our body’s sympathetic nervous system, or SNS, is rapidly involuntarily activated to respond to what it perceives as a dangerous threat.
The SNS sends messages to the smooth muscles and the adrenal medulla, which is in the center of the adrenal gland and produces stress hormones such as adrenaline.
It pauses what the body considers nonessential functions in order for you to direct your energy into possibly live-saving ways. This includes interrupting digestion. Originally the flight-fight-or-freeze mode was triggered by dangerous events such as a wild animal encounter and fighting natural disasters.
Currently, in our society, it is extremely prevalent that we are triggering this mode through work deadlines, relationship stress, and social anxiety. When we chronically trigger this flight or fight mode the body becomes chronically inflamed and more prone to disease due to this imbalance.
Science Supporting Meditation Healing Chronic Inflammation
One specific study studied the effect of meditation in specifically healing stress-induced inflammation. The study compared two groups immersed in an 8-week program. The focus was to see if the meditation specifically had a different impact on stress-induced inflammation.
During the study, they induced inflammation with a topical application of capsaicin cream to forearm skin and psychological stress was induced with The Trier Social Stress Test (TSST).
They performed this by using two groups in different 8 week immersive programs. One group practiced a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program the other practiced an equivalent and well-matched Health Enhancement Program (HEP).
The only difference between the two programs was the meditative and mindfulness approach in the MBSR. The results found that the same level of stress-produced cortisol responses although the MBSR group produced a smaller post-stress inflammatory response than the HEP group.
This resulted in mindfulness and meditative based treatments being more effective than other well-being oriented programs.
Begin Freeing Your Body
You can begin deepening your meditation practice through meditation techniques or incorporating mindfulness exercises into your daily life. When we practice meditation we enter an observational point of view. Click here to find a guided meditation for living in the present moment.
Any emotions that rise up while meditating, we practice viewing with nonjudgement and allow them to pass while returning our attention to our point of focus such as our breath or a mantra. To learn the meaning of the mantra Aham Prema and how to use it click here.
This is the beneficial difference of relaxation and mindfulness that the meditation study above proved to be more effective in treating chronic inflammation.
Relaxation tends to be about soothing the mind while mindfulness and meditation causes us to practice objective skills that can directly affect relaxing our flight or fight mode reaction.