5 Interesting Facts About Meditation

1. It makes your brain plastic.

Plastic meaning that our brain can change.  That means our brain’s potential is not set at birth — we can actually strengthen and improve our brains in ways once science said is impossible. When we train our mind to focus  we are happy. Keeping your attention focused on the present, accepting the moment without judgment, has been studied extensively for its infusion of positive psychological benefits. Many scientists are now saying, focusing our awareness is where we find our true happiness. Understanding that the mind and body are one entity and that the energetic quality of the mind is the essence of life, focusing our awareness through meditation is a practical strategy for health, happiness and transformation.

2. Increases your brains gray matter.

One way of measuring brain-change is looking at the distribution of Gray Matter Volume, which plays an important role in mental health, behavior and cognitive functions.  A 2005 study on American men and women who meditated a mere 40 minutes a day showed that their brains displayed thicker cortical walls than non-meditators. What this could possibly mean is that their brains were aging at a slower rate. Cortical thickness is also associated with decision making, attention and memory.

3. Protects your DNA.

Telomeres are the protective caps at the end of each strand of DNA that protects our chromosomes.  They are likened to the plastic tips at the end of our shoelaces. Telomere length represents our biological age as opposed to our chronological age”. Longer telomeres mean that you’re also likely to live longer. Research done by the University of California, Davis’ Shamatha Project has shown that meditators have significantly higher telomerase activity that non-meditators. Telomerase an enzyme that builds telomeres.

It appears that the more telomerase activity one has, means stronger and longer telomeres. So what you may say?  We know that telomeres shorten over time naturally, and shorter length is linked a number of chronic illnesses, so increasing telomere length is thought to indicate healthier aging.3. Protects your DNA.

4.Improves Immune Function.

Rudolph Tanzi, who holds positions both at Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital, stated that “Meditation is one of the ways to engage in restorative activities that may provide relief for our immune systems, easing the day-to-day stress of a body constantly trying to protect itself”. This suggested that meditation  isn’t strictly psychological; but contains a clear and quantifiable change in how our bodies function.

Meditation helps with HIV & AIDS

One type of T-cell, called CD4, gets destroyed by HIV, a virus that causes damage to the immune system leading to AIDS. With more than 40 million cases worldwide, AIDS needs no further introduction.

An 8 week UCLA study found that, for 50 HIV positive men, only 30-45 minutes of mindfulness meditation per day stopped the decline of CD4 T cells, dramatically slowing down the decline of CD4 destruction and in turn the  progression of the virus.

Moreover, the researchers found that the more one engaged in the practice the the higher the CD4 T cells at the study’s conclusion. So the more meditation you do, the more T cells you have, the the stronger you immune system will be to fight off invaders.

5. Helps with Pain Control

In 1991, doctors wrote 76 million prescriptions for opioids to treat pain. By 2012, 259 million prescriptions were written for opioids and about 300 million pain prescriptions in 2015.

Unfortunately, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) report, 40 to 70% of people with chronic pain aren’t actually receiving the proper medical treatment for their pain. In cases where opioids are necessary, there is concern by experts about both the over- and under- pharmacological treatment of chronic pain. Keep in mind that  80% of all opioid prescriptions worldwide are written in the United States. A study conducted in 2016 by Wake Forest Baptist University found that meditation could reduce pain intensity and pain unpleasantness. Meditation in conjunction with traditional allopathic therapies may be beneficial in helping patients reduce their dependency on opiate drugs.  It has been suggested that meditation works by reducing activity in the somatosensory cortex and increasing activity in other areas of the brain. More research is needed to draw definitive conclusions.

We suggest that everyone in our community set aside one or two 15-minute blocks every day for wellness. Remain Calm is our motto- consciously aware living in the moment… it’s about taking time to reboot our mind.