Friday, February 11, 2011

Meditation is Medicine

Apart from living my passion as an acupuncturist, I have begun to offer weekly meditation sessions in the St-Jovite/ Mt Tremblant area.
The type of meditation we practice is based on the Mindfulness Meditation format, popularized by Jon Kabat-Zinn, the doctor who brought the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program into hospitals across North America.  This program has been studied and proven effective in reducing chronic pain and anxiety.
Why Meditate?
I believe there are as many reasons to meditate as there are people who practice.
Meditation, at its very basic level, provides us with a way of coping with stress. Because stress contributes to the presence of so many illnesses and because it exacerbates chronic pain and anxiety, the regular practice of meditation has proven to be a worthwhile activity. 
If you have hesitated at getting involved in a meditation group because you feel it might be “out there”, or “woo-woo”, I am here to tell you that the practice has gone main steam and, at least as far as the groups I presently conduct, the focus is on breath work and body awareness.
This means that we mindfully bring our attention to our breathing while training ourselves to concentrate on what is actually going on at the physical level.   Once we practice conscious breathing, many changes quickly begin to take place.  We see a slowing of the pulse, a reduction of muscle tension, and a general calming of the nervous system. Because the practice of mindfulness involves being present with what is, participants also note the cessation of the usual mind chatter allowing for moments of mental clarity.
After only a few sessions together, the participants in my class are reporting significant changes in their health.  Those who are taking the time to practice in between classes are now enjoying deeper sleep, less digestive complaints, and a reduction in acid reflux, menstrual cramps, and tension headaches.
Acupuncturists routinely treat people for all of the above health issues because acupuncture accesses the nervous system and provides wonderful results.  I recommend meditation as an adjunct to any health treatment, because it provides people who are ready to take control of their wellbeing with an ongoing way to handle stress and enjoy life!