Saturday, July 26, 2008

More Benefits of Meditation

Over the last few years more and more research has been done on both the cognitive and biological effects of meditation. Here are the results of several of these studies showing specific benefits of the practice.

Meditation can alter your DNA. Seriously. Meditation elicits a series of physiological changes that researchers call the "relaxation response," and these changes affect various genes related to the body's stress response. In turn, shutting off certain of these genes can lead to improvements in all sorts of medical conditions that are mostly genetic in nature, from hypertension to rheumatoid arthritis.

Meditation can help treat depression. I know from personal experience that this is also true of magical practices in general in addition to meditation. A psychiatrist has published a new book in which he contends that meditative practice can help to manage depression without the use of antidepressant drugs, and he reports solid results from his own 35 years of medical practice.

Meditation slows the progression of AIDS. Researchers don't understand how this works yet, but there is a clear effect that shows up after only a few weeks of meditative practice and it is hypothesized to be linked to changes in the immune system.

As Aleister Crowley wrote in Liber O vel Manus et Sagittae, "by doing certain things certain results follow." There are plenty of subjective reasons for magical and meditative practices, but as the research continues it seems that we are finding plenty of objective ones as well.

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