Science shows that meditation provides better relaxation than ordinary rest, on some accounts even better and faster than sleep.
Such relaxation comes as a natural biological response. It provides a number of health benefits and may even increase your lifespan. The ability to respond to acute challenges is improved.
Meditation works as an antidote against stress:
- muscle tension is released
- breathing becomes slower and more relaxed
- blood pressure tends to go down
- the body's production of stress hormones is reduced
- your mood tends to change in a healthy direction
- chronic muscular pain in the head, neck, shoulders and back is often alleviated
Meditation often proves more effective than medical treatment in handling stress-related aches and pains.
Brain scanning has revealed increased activity in the prefrontal cortex during meditation; this area is related to higher cognitive functions, such as attention, cognitive understanding and executive control. EEG shows that not only alpha waves occur, as in relaxed wakefulness, but theta waves also emerge, indicating even deeper relaxation.
Better results from non-directive techniques
Some studies suggest that Acem Meditation and other non-directive meditation techniques, in which thoughts are allowed to come and go, have more pronounced effects than techniques built on concentration.