Prayer and meditation are used in complementary medicine to improve health. Both practices come from religious and spiritual traditions. The NIH and WebMD state that people who practice prayer and meditation experience greater physical and mental health benefits. Prayer can be used for a variety of purposes such as finding inner strength or requesting help from some form of a higher being. Meditation has been shown to increase calmness, improve psychological relaxation, cope with illness, and enhance health and well-being. It must be noted that although there are benefits to prayer and meditation, they are not substitutes for conventional treatment.
The Benefits and Uses of Prayer and Meditation
Studies show benefits for both prayer and meditation when used during regular treatment. Prayer appears to have positive health effects, although most studies have been inconclusive. Similarly, researchers are unsure of the changes in the body caused by meditation, or which diseases it might be best for, but the effects appear to be positive. Some health benefits of prayer and meditation are:
- Lower blood pressure
- Sense of Inner Peace
- Increased longevity
- Reduced symptoms of depression
- Alleviation of anxiety, stress, and pain
- Help with insomnia and physical symptoms associated with chronic illnesses such as heart disease, HIV/AIDS, and cancer
Prayer and meditation are often seen as something specific for people who are religious. However, even non-religious people have said that prayer can bring on a strong sense of inner strength or power.
It must be emphasized that prayer can be useful when used alongside treatment, but a physician should always be when it is used. Meditation helps individuals focus their attention and become aware of their thoughts and feelings in a non-judgmental way. This usually results in a state of calmness, physical relaxation, and psychological balance. Although beneficial, prayer and meditation should not be used in place of medicine to treat illnesses; but used in conjunction with a with therapy and support groups as a complete approach to recovery.