I had always been skeptical of meditation. Whether this was because meditation was mostly spruiked by free loving hippies, or the fact that my science based brain couldn’t comprehend how sitting still could exert any sort of beneficial effect on the human body. Regardless, my mind has now been changed and there is emerging scientific evidence to support meditation in the management of various ailments and for general wellbeing.
A quality review of 18 different studies analysing Cancer, Diabetes and chronic pain patients found that meditation improved a variety of symptoms in each of the studies analysed (1). A different review reported meditation to reduce pain and depressive symptoms in chronic pain patients, however the studies analysed were of a poor quality (2). Other reviews also exist, most having found beneficial results, but the majority are of too lower quality to draw any stern conclusions. So overall, meditation appears promising for illness.
In a review of 17 studies analysing the effects of meditation on healthy individuals, 16 found a reduction in anxiety as measured by various psychological and physical outcomes (3). Another study found a slightly different method of meditation to moderately improve wellbeing and social interaction skills (4). So on the whole, it seems like it works.
Illness: if you’re suffering from a chronic illness, associated depression or depression itself, there’s a high likelihood that meditation will be of some benefit based current data. It’s cheap, why not give it a go?
Our verdict: moderately healthful.
Wellness: if you have any level of anxiety or stress in your life – most of us do – we can confidently say meditation will help.
Our verdict: highly healthful.
I hope this has been healthful.