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Does Meditation Work? 5 Reasons Why It’s Worth A Try

Many people are unaware of what meditation is, and how it could help them.

Meditation is giving yourself permission to hit the pause button on life. When you do this, you allow yourself room to breathe, to calm your mind and find compassion and solace.

While skeptics are often turned off of meditation by stereotypes there is plenty of evidence to suggest it can help people with a variety of chronic illnesses. In this post we’ll examine five reasons why you should try meditation.

Sleep Better

There may be no commodity more valued and yet, more abused than sleep. A good night’s sleep has become a precious thing as we increasingly bring our phones and tablets to bed. In fact, studies have shown that bringing our phones to bed makes you sleep deprived and exhausted.

The problem? All that app usage, game playing, Instagram scrolling, and reading makes it hard to calm the mind. That’s where meditation comes in.

Science suggests that meditation may help to treat insomnia, additionally, experts believe that by introducing mindful meditating into your life, you can keep your mind calmer throughout the day, which can reduce stress and promote better sleep.

Calm Your Active Mind

Everyone’s lives are busy these days and often our brains can feel like we have a hamster (or two) running on a wheel. Meditation can help.

A study has shown that mindfulness training improves working memory capacity and reduces mind wandering. This can have implications for a wide variety of areas in your life. Ultimately it is about improving our experience of life.

Improve Depression

In fact, not only could meditation improve depression symptoms from those suffering with the mental condition, it leads to fewer serious relapses.

In a 2013 study, scientists discovered that people who practiced meditation have more control over how their brains process negative triggers like pain.

The study, conducted by Brown University, found that mindfulness meditation training such as body and breath sensations, may help prevent depression and reduces distress in chronic pain.

Protect Your Heart

Heart disease is the second leading cause of death in Canada, which makes looking after your heart incredibly important. One way of boosting your heart health is meditation.

In one 2012 study, patients that had coronary heart disease practiced meditation and showed a reduced risk of heart attack, stroke and even death.

Reduce Your Stress Level

Meditation provides you the ability to override the part of the brain responsible for fear. This is important because when we’re afraid the brain releases cortisol. While cortisol is helpful in a truly fearful situation, in your normal-everyday-life it is damaging and can be linked to all sorts of health issues.

This study suggests that meditation can help you cut back on stress and anxiety by almost 40 percent. What’s even better is it doesn’t take a lot of time to reap the benefits. In this study, scientist found that brief mindfulness meditation training altered psychological responses to stress.

Final Thoughts

There is an increasing amount of evidence to suggest that meditation has many health benefits. Mindful meditation can help improve your quality of life and the best part is, it doesn’t take a lot of time or effort to start feeling the benefits.

If you need help getting started, Medical Meditations has twelve self-guided meditation modules developed by Dr. Nikhil Joshi to improve the lives of people suffering from chronic illnesses.

Medical Meditation is a free, unique app designed for Android or iPhone users to help people suffering from chronic illnesses, depression, anxiety or grief. To find out more about Medical Meditations and Dr. Nikhil Joshi, click here, or if you’re ready to get started, download the app now.

Photos are courtesy of Robert Conway

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A Story of Survival: How Meditation Eased the Pain of a Cancer Diagnosis

“Having cancer and receiving treatment was tough. I felt the stress of my illness was at times greater than the illness itself.”

Dr. Nikhil Joshi

That’s Dr. Nikhil Joshi, founder and physician behind Medical Meditations. In 2013, at the age of 24, Dr. Joshi was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Dr. Joshi saw first-hand, through his treatment, the difficulty that faces patients.

“The shock of getting cancer was profound,” Dr. Joshi said. “But it was also blessing, because being a cancer patient really helped me to become a better physician.”

While living with Cancer, Dr. Joshi used meditation on his journey with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He found that it led to an increase in his quality of life. It was this discovery that led him to creating Medical Mediation.

A Doctor As Well As A Patient

The 32-year-old physician was born and raised in St. John’s, NL. After earning his undergraduate degree at the University of Calgary, he earned his medical degree at St. John’s Memorial University. He followed that up with internal medicine residency and then further specialized in the study of allergy and immunology at the University of Manitoba.

As Dr. Joshi journeyed through the medical system during his cancer treatment, he found guided meditation helped his well-being immensely. This would lead him to publish The End of Suffering, a book of his personal experience, to give hope to other cancer patients.

Dr. Joshi was fortunate enough to make it through his cancer treatments and to be declared cancer-free. While his battle with cancer took him away from medicine, he did return and currently practices as an Immunologist in Calgary.

“It puts you in a field where people are making new contributions every day,” said Dr. Joshi of the relatively new medical field that is revolutionizing treatment for a number of ailments.

Medical Meditations App

It was through his journey with Hodgkins Lymphoma that Dr. Joshi saw how the healthcare system falls short to address patients suffering. This deeply emotional process led Dr. Joshi to realize that he wanted to continue to help people on a larger scale. He feels his purpose is to spread a message of positivity and to use his experience to help others.

“I developed a series of guided meditations to ease my suffering. Those meditations changed my life immensely and this is something I want to share with others experiencing chronic illness,” said Dr. Joshi.

Medical Meditations is a mobile app that provides guided meditations for people with chronic illnesses. Medical Meditation encourages patients to create mindfulness using relaxation techniques to reduce the stress of illness and initiate a positive change in mental wellbeing.

How a patient deals with trauma and suffering has a huge impact, not only socially and emotionally, but biologically as well. Mindfulness has been shown to positively affect the outcomes of their diagnosis.

Medical Meditation is a free app and available on Android and iOS. It is constantly being upgraded to include new content for additional conditions. The range of illnesses covered include, but are not limited to:

  • Cancer
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Chronic Pain,
  • IBS
  • Insomnia
  • Grieving
  • Palliative care
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Weight Loss
  • Caregiver
  • Smoking Cessation
  • Pre Surgery

Medical Meditations has been fortunate to have contributions from world class musicians, including Phil Maloney and Adam Hogan of acclaimed group Hey Rosetta!. Adam and Phil worked in conjunction to craft unique soundscapes specific for each guided meditation.

Available Now

Dr. Joshi knows first-hand the stress and pain of dealing with cancer. He’s taken his experience and channeled it into the Medical Meditations app which he hopes will serve to help people suffering.

If you’re going through any of these chronic conditions, meditation could be a useful part of your overall medical treatment program. Visit your Android or iOS app store to download the free Medical Meditations app today.

Photos are courtesy of Robert Conway

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Medical Meditations – Twelve Modules for Mindfulness and Chronic Illness

Mindfulness is a trendy term at the moment that gets thrown a lot. Unfortunately, that takes away from the fact that it really works.

Mindfulness is the ability to be fully present in a moment. To be aware of where we are and what we’re doing and gain perspective in life.

Mindfulness is an evolving field of medical science but has been shown to help people deal with the stress of illness. It can decrease pro-inflammatory cytokines and increase resilience. Mindfulness and meditation are a great compliment to approved medical therapies, directed by a licensed physician, and should be used as adjunctive therapy.

In no way should meditation substitute excellent modern medical care – but when working in concert, mindfulness meditation is an excellent add-on therapy that can help reduce stress and increase quality of life for many chronic conditions.

Medical Meditations Twelve Modules

Developed by Dr. Nikhil Joshi Medical Meditations was created to improve the lives of people suffering from chronic illnesses. And Dr. Joshi knows all about that. While in medical school, Dr. Joshi was diagnosed with cancer. It was through that journey that he discovered that mindfulness, introspection and reflection gave him strength.

Through guided mindfulness sessions, Medical Meditations has created twelve meditation practices to help cope with the symptoms and pain associated with chronic illness. Everyone needs quiet moments of calm in their life. Each practice is intended to help relieve emotional stress, physical discomfort and help facilitate tranquility.

The twelve modules include:

  • Abdominal Pain – Many people suffer with abdominal pain. Whether you have Crohn’s Disease, Diabetic Gastroparesis, Gastroesophageal Reflux or Irritable Bowel Syndrome, mindfulness can help. Our goal is to minimize tension and pain by creating moments of quiet focus.
  • Anxiety – In today’s society anxiety is on the rise. Stress, restlessness, worrying thoughts and feelings of uncertainty can be relieved through meditative practice.
  • Depression – Depression can feel like a weight slowly crushing you. When diagnosed with a chronic illness, depression and sadness can be a natural reaction. Depression can make you feel sad, cloudy-minded, heavy and unable to enjoy the things you once did. Mindful meditation helps people find their own resiliency and lightness.
  • Cancer Diagnosis – Being diagnosed with cancer is life-changing. Meditation provides the chance for people to find some alone time amid a barrage of information, doctor’s appointments and worry. These quiet moments can help you process your diagnosis and find your own sources of strength.
  • Chronic Pain – Chronic pain can be debilitating and severely impact your life. People who suffer from chronic pain – like Fibromyalgia – can often feel there are not a lot of treatment options. Mindfulness and meditation can help to reduce the background pain level which can make it easier for medications to have a positive effect. Meditation is a side-effect free way to help alleviate the effects of chronic pain.
  • Grief – Grief is a powerful and all-encompassing emotion. It is also a universal part of the human experience to experience the loss of a loved one. Meditation can help people cope with the dark times and find a way through intense suffering.
  • Insomnia – Make sleep a positive and happy experience. Reduce the thoughts and worries before you go to bed. Meditation can relieve the feelings of anxiety over trying to get to sleep. It can help to slow everything down, enabling you to feel good about the rest you get.
  • Palliative Care – This meditation for the dying person and loved ones is about celebrating that person’s life and allowing them to feel free and happy. This guided meditation will help reduce anxiety and will help to insert a sense of calm in your life.
  • Relaxation – With the stresses of daily life, sometimes the hardest thing to do is relax. If you’re unsure of where to start, this module is the perfect introduction for anytime meditation. This module is designed to get you ready for deeper meditation.
  • Weight Loss – Weight loss can positively affect many different conditions including type II Diabetes and heart disease. Weight loss should be about creating healthy habits that increase personal well-being. Weight loss should not be about punishment, suffering or negativity. Meditation and visualization can be a great help on your weight loss journey.
  • Caregiver – 29% of the adult population of America are caregivers. The unaccounted force in healthcare are the people who look after their ill and frail family members. This is one of the noblest thing a person can do. Yet, this group is notoriously undersupported. They experience burn out, sadness and depression at a higher rate than the general population. Caring for these people is a priority.
  • Smoking Cessation – Smoking is not an easy thing to quit. Nicotine is a powerfully addictive substance. Quitting smoking leads to a variety of well known health benefits. Quitting smoking is an important achievement in a person’s life. Guided Meditation can reduce the stress associated with quitting.
  • Pre Surgery – Surgery is one of the most stressful events in a person’s life. Entering the operating room with a positive mindset is an achievement. Helping people minimize their anxiety before surgery and encouraging recovery after are our goals in this meditation.

About Medical Meditations

Medical Meditation is a free, unique app designed for Android or iPhone users to help people suffering from chronic illnesses. To find out more click here, or if you’re ready to get started, download the app now.

Photos are courtesy of Robert Conway

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The Top 5 Reasons Guided Meditation Can Ease Your Suffering

It is difficult living with chronic pain, here are a few ways guided meditation can help.

Living with an illness or chronic pain can be a heavy burden. You would desperately like to do something to stop the pain, but everything hurts. Even your mind can start to suffer as you look for ways to cope.

It’s only natural to want to fight back against a body that has caused you so much pain. Our body’s natural instinct is to avoid pain at all costs – run away from pain. While this has served us well as an evolving species, it’s actually the opposite of what the latest medical research tells us we should do.

If you’re looking for ways to ease your suffering, here’s the Top 5 reasons guided meditation can help.

  1. Meditation can change your brain

    A team of neuroscience researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Germany examined 300 participants in a nine-month meditation program. This was one of the largest studies on meditation and the human brain to date. What they found is that focusing on a specific kind of meditation could change certain parts of your brain. For instance, participants in this mindfulness meditation study experienced a thickening of the prefrontal cortex of the brain – the area of the brain that is involved in complex thinking, decision-making and attention. Meanwhile, people that participated in a meditation designed to reduce stress and anxiety experienced a 51 percent drop in the stress hormone cortisol
  2. It helps with pain

    It may seem obvious that focusing mentally can help with mental pain, however, there has been an increasing amount of research to support this. Research from decades of Jon-Kabat Zinn’s Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program has given us a firm understanding of how mindfulness can help people cope with the pain, anxiety, depression and stress that accompanies illness and chronic pain. We know that psychological stress has been tied to everything from heart health and immune response to telomere length. Because of this, we shouldn’t downplay the effect guided meditation and mindfulness can have on emotional health.
  3. Focusing on the pain reduces the pain

    It may feel counterintuitive to focus on the pain. Our bodies are trained from millions of years of evolution to avoid pain both mentally and physically. In fact, previous therapy techniques included various kinds of distraction therapy to “take our mind off of it.”What we now know is brain studies have shown that when people trained in meditation focus on their painful sensations, the pain-sensing parts of the brain light up with activity where-as the parts of the brain associated with pain are less active. It’s more than just focusing on the pain. Some people can develop hypersensitivity to their pain and will notice every shift in their body. This doesn’t alleviate pain and can, in fact, make it worse. Meditation and mindfulness techniques foster a specific kind of focus that is centred around acceptance. Through focus and acceptance can come a reduction in pain.
  4. It decreases inflammation at the cellular level

    Recent research has shown that mindfulness meditation not only reduces psychological stress but can actually reduce inflammation at the cellular level. These studies concluded that mindfulness meditation should be used as a low-cost self-directed complementary strategy for decreasing inflammation in patients.
  5. Meditation can help with a number of medical conditions

    Mindfulness meditation has been clinically shown to help with a number of conditions including:

Medical Meditation

If you’re suffering from anxiety, depression, grief, chronic pain or even a recent cancer diagnosis there is increasing evidence to suggest meditation can help you as a complement to your current treatments. Getting started with mindful meditation can be as simple as taking a few minutes each day.

Our Medical Meditation app has been developed by physician and cancer survivor, Dr. Nikhil Joshi. With nine, self-guided meditation modules, Medical Meditation has been created to help improve the lives of people suffering with chronic pain or illnesses.

Download the free Medical Meditation app now on Android or iPhone, or click here to find out more about Dr. Nikhil Joshi’s journey.

Sources:

Photos are courtesy of Robert Conway