Experts extol various different benefits of meditation - not only is meditation an end in itself, it is thought to help improve concentration, lower stress, help a person achieve goals and even help a body heal itself they say. Is meditation really that powerful? While the spiritual and mental wellbeing brought about by the practice of meditation is more readily believed, people tend to be skeptical about the ability of meditation to bring about physical healing. Can the power of the mind actually help promote healing and physical well being?

The Mind and Physical Well Being – What’s the Connection?

Instances of how emotions and feelings affect our physical wellbeing are all round us. Take for example, the fact that fear triggers certain bodily reactions within us and can leave us feeling shaky and physically drained. Also take the example of how grief or unhappiness can have an impact on the appetite – while in some people these negative emotions could trigger binge eating type of behavior, in others, unhappiness and sadness could kill the desire to eat altogether.

How Can Meditation Affect the Body’s Physical Working?

Meditation that involves visualization is thought to be particularly effective to foster physical wellbeing and actual healing. Sometimes described as a form of self hypnosis, this is a meditation device that uses affirmative (positive) imagery to create emotions and reinforce positivity in the mind and hence the body.

The understanding is that we become what we think; that there is a mind-body connect that facilitates this. So when we think of something that has a positive associations for us, this engenders positive emotions and likely triggers the release of certain hormones in the body’s endocrine system; which in turn assists in the healing.

How Does Meditation Impact the Brain?

Meditation is known to affect the body’s limbic system. Advanced practitioners of meditation are able to demonstrate how they can mindfully control body responses such as heart rate, blood pressure and even the body’s ability to regulate temperature.

Clinical studies conducted with seniors found that meditation could possibly prevent the cortical thinning of the brain that is seen to be a part of normal aging processes. In other words, meditation could impact the actual structure of the brain in the longer term.

How Can Meditation Help the Body Heal?

As one expert puts it, meditation can help prevent or lessen the ‘wear and tear‘ upon the brain; a wear and tear that puts the body at greater risk of certain chronic illnesses such as heart disease, hypertension and diabetes.

More and more medical practitioners are using meditation as a supplementary treatment to help patients manage pain and stress. Recovering from alcoholism, drug abuse and other such self harming behavior can be aided by the practice of meditation. Researchers have been able to demonstrate how meditation can help reduce inflammation in the body, which goes directly to healing.

It also helps boost the body’s immune system – a strong immune system helps prevent disease and also helps speed up recovery from illness. While meditation may primarily be recommended for cancer patients as a means to cope with stress and pain, there is some anecdotal data to suggest that eventual outcomes could include prolongation of cancer survival.

Author's Bio: 

Sarika Periwal writes to promote natural health and wellness. She tries to provide value to visitors through her articles so readers can learn something that they can apply in everyday life to improve their mental and physical health.