Meditation is becoming a popular way to relax our overworked minds. It involves focusing continuously on one thought, word (mantra), object, or mental image for a period of time. It can also involve focusing on your breathing or on sensations in your body. The goal of meditation is to quiet your mind, which may reduce stress and the connection it has to long-term diseases like heart disease.

Meditation is thought to suppress the part of the nervous system that increases heart rate, breathing rate, or blood pressure while enhancing the relaxing side of the nervous system.

There are many types of meditation, but here is some basic information that to help you get started.

Meditation is believed to help you achieve calmness, relaxation and psychological balance. These changes accompany deep relaxation and may include:

  • Reducing heart rate and blood pressure by opening blood vessels
  • Reducing respiratory rate and oxygen consumption
  • Reducing blood flow to skeletal muscles
  • Reducing muscle tension
  • Increasing immunity (resistance to or recovery from illness)
  • Increasing energy, awareness, and mental focus

Researchers have studied relaxation therapies, including meditation, as a way to treat a number of conditions, such as: