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Meditation & Medical Practice

June 18th, 2014

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Meditation & Medical Practice

Most of my colleagues are aware of my dedication to the practice of meditation as a part of treatment to many conditions. It is known that my hospital staffs, family, friends and patients are encouraged to pursue a meditation practice and it has been my experience that in practice it all makes sense.

It is not difficult to convince myself of the value of meditation…my greatest challenge is to constantly remind myself and to practice even when I have not had time to sleep, because it makes sense. It makes sense as a physician and as a healthy human being that being calm and balance mind…is a common sense of being happy.

In Integrative Medicine mind-body practices focus on the interactions among the brain (physical), mind, and behavior, with the intent to use the mind to affect physical functioning and promote health.

Meditation techniques include specific postures, focused attention, or an open attitude toward distractions. People take part in the meditation process using certain techniques—to suspend the stream of thoughts and relax the body and mind.

The goal is to increase calmness and relaxation, improve psychological balance, cope with illness, or enhance overall health and well-being…to be happy…it makes common sense.

Meditation is yoga for the mind. It is a way to stretch the solid boundries of our minds in order to get a different view of life. We are much happier when we allow the words of the Buddha to enter our minds, “reality as it is, he said…”not as we wish it to be…”

Allowing rather than wishing gives a gravitational center in the wheel of life around which we may spin without getting dizzy. Meditation takes the wobble out of life in that things may flow unobstructed.

One of the key components of traditional Chinese medicine is based on the concept that disease results from disruption in the flow of qi, an imbalance in the forces of yin and yang. Practices such as herbs, meditation, massage, and acupuncture seek to aid healing by restoring the yin-yang, the flow of qi, and are central components among the oldest healing practices on the planet.

Integrative Medicine is a practice of Integrative Meditation…it is an art form that leads the physician, in my case Cardiologist, back to the heart of the matter and it’s connection to the mind of the person that is suffering.

In the integrative approach deep-breathing exercises and guided imagery techniques (such as a series of verbal suggestions) are offered to guide another or oneself in imagining sensations—especially in visualizing an image in the mind—to bring about a desired physical response (such as stress reduction).

The intent is to improve blood flow, qi flow and life’s flow…all at the same time.

The concept that the mind is important in the treatment of illness is integral to healing. Hippocrates also noted the moral and spiritual aspects of healing and believed that treatment could occur only with consideration of attitude of mind and attention to nature.

The National Institutes of Health has granted more than $24 million over the past 20 years to study the effects of Meditation and other related programs on cardiovascular disease.

In a summary of the findings after 20 years from 10 major Universities it was proven without a doubt that meditation reduced the risk of diabetes, reduced the risk of stroke, reduced the risk of heart attack and increased life span by 25% among those with a regular practice some form of meditation of 1 hour 5 times a week.

In addition is was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association that meditation was as effective as antihypertensive drugs in reducing blood pressure, twice as effective as progressive muscle relaxation and significantly effective in reducing blood pressure for both men and women in all five major risk categories, including obesity, high alcohol use, low exercise levels, psychological stress and high salt intake.

We are physicians…we have a practice and we must have patients to be able to practice. We must be calm…we must allow things to flow and must be willing to follow the lead of nature in a world that seems out of flow. Meditation in practice, in my experience of practicing medicine… all makes common sense.

May you be well and receive loving Kindness…

Prof Nithi Mahanonda is consultant cardiologist and interventionist, Perfect Heart Institute.

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