Meditation could prove to be the ideal behavioural intervention to treat insomnia, according to a
study. ...CLICK & SEE
The new findings suggest that while practicing meditation, patients experienced improvements in subjective sleep quality and sleep diary parameters.
Meditation even improved sleep latency, total sleep time, total wake time, wake after sleep onset, sleep efficiency, sleep quality, and depression in patients.
Principal investigator Dr. Ramadevi Gourineni, director of the insomnia program at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Evanston, Ill., said that insomnia is believed to be a 24-hour problem of hyperarousal, and elevated measures of arousals are seen throughout the day.
“Results of the study show that teaching deep relaxation techniques during the daytime can help improve sleep at night,” said Gourineni.
For their study, the researchers collected data from 11 healthy subjects between the ages of 25 and 45 years with chronic primary insomnia.
They divided the participants into two intervention groups for two months-Kriya Yoga (a form of meditation that is used to focus internalised attention and has been shown to reduce measures of arousal) and health education.
The researchers also gathered subjective measures of sleep and depression at baseline and after the two-month period.
Both groups received sleep hygiene education. Members of the health education group also received information about health-related topics and how to improve health through exercise, nutrition, weight loss and stress management
The findings of the study will be presented at the 23rd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies.
In an experiment, 28 people currently suffering from depression, having also had previous episodes of depression and thoughts of suicide, were randomly assigned into two groups.
One group received MBCT in addition to treatment as usual, while the other just received treatment as usual. The result indicated that the number of patients with major depression reduced in the group which received treatment with MBCT while it remained the same in the other group.
The therapy included special classes of meditation learning and advice on how best participants can look after themselves when their feelings threaten to overwhelm them.
ProfessorMark Williams, who along with his colleagues in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Oxford, developed the treatment said, “We are on the brink of discovering really important things about how people can learn to stay well after depression.”
Now, mainstream medicine is beginning to take notice of meditation’s effects. For example, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), which is about 80 percent meditation, has been approved in Britain for use with people who have experienced three or more episodes of depression.
MRI scans of long-term meditators have shown greater activity in brain circuits involved in paying attention. Long-term meditation can also cause changes in the actual structure of your cortex, the outer layer of your brain. Brain regions associated with attention and sensory processing have been shown to be thicker in meditators.
Studies suggest that meditation can help you to train your attention and focus, even in the midst of distractions. For instance, when disturbing noises were played to a group of experienced meditators undergoing an MRI, they had little effect on the brain areas involved in emotion and decision-making.
About 10 million people meditate every day in the West, and many more in other parts of the world.
It is Ratu Bagus Bio-Energy Meditation.
(Shaking) is a truly life changing practice, made possible by the transmission that comes from the energy master Ratu Bagus. This energy transmission ignites the sacred fire that lies dormant within each of us and calls upon our own energy system, to remember and ‘wake up’ the natural capacity our bodies have for healing, on the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual levels.
This energy is complete as it works on many levels, not just the physical, with an emphasis on ‘practice’, rather than theory or technique. Ratu teaches us that greater understanding of ourselves happens not with the mind but when we allow the energy to connect with a much deeper part of ourselves – experientially. Then transformation is allowed to happen spontaneously, removing all blocks that prevent us from achieving our highest potential.
How to Practice?
The practice manifests as shaking, which is both simple and powerful. Many practitioners report life changing results in a very short space of time.
When we tune into Ratu’s energy, the body ‘remembers’ and the energy then begins to shake us. This feels amazing, some describe it as feeling like heat in the body Training in Balior a feeling of electricity or fire inside. Others say, it feels like connecting with their soul, the God inside, their original self.
When we practice, we allow the energy into our bodies and trust that this intelligent energy will give us everything we need. This sacred fire will return us to our natural state of harmony, unity, peace, joy and radiant health. This gift is there for everyone, there’s no age or ability that can’t practise Bio Energy Meditation.
Processing is fundamental to growth in the practice, as the energy becomes stronger in the body, it pushes out anything which is negative. This processing is the body’s natural way of cleaning itself. This physical and emotional release can manifest in many ways, such as, coughing, laughing, shouting, dancing etc.
The more we practice and build a relationship with the divine light within the more it can teach us. The answers to the deep questions we have about ourselves, our life and our purpose become clear. Over time, life regains its magical quality, we feel a greater ability to connect with life, we become healthier, more vibrant and feel a greater sense of freedom and love for ourselves and those around us.
Laughing Medicine – a big part of what Ratu teaches is to be positive no matter what is happening in our lives. During the training people often experience uncontrollable laughter, real laughter that comes from deep within, from the soul. Ratu says that when we experience this laughter it wakes up all of the chakras, enabling the energy to work very well in the body. Laughing is a good connection with the soul, then its easy to take care of the physical body, with this strong connection with the divine we can become free. We can laugh away all attachments, raise our consciousness and find paradise inside.
Ratu always says “Problem — No Problem” when we laugh we encourage this feeling of positive thinking,
“When we practise we learn to love ourselves and then we can go through life with a smile.” – Ratu Bagus
“The technique to get the energy flowing inside our body is to surrender to the energy and accept it with a smile.”- Ratu Bagus.
Scientists are beginning to uncover evidence that meditation has a tangible effect on the brain.
CLICK & SEE. There is evidence that meditation changes brain structures
Sceptics argue that it is not a practical way to try to deal with the stresses of modern life.
But the long years when adherents were unable to point to hard science to support their belief in the technique may finally be coming to an end.
When Carol Cattley’s husband died it triggered a relapse of the depression which had not plagued her since she was a teenager.
“I instantly felt as if I wanted to die,” she said. “I couldn’t think of what else to do.”
Carol sought medical help and managed to control her depression with a combination of medication and a psychological treatment called Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
However, she believes that a new, increasingly popular course called Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) – which primarily consists of meditation – brought about her full recovery.
It is currently available in every county across the UK, and can be prescribed on the NHS.
One of the pioneers of MBCT is Professor Mark Williams, from the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Oxford.
He helps to lead group courses which take place over a period of eight weeks. He describes the approach as 80% meditation, 20% cognitive therapy.
He said: “It teaches a way of looking at problems, observing them clearly but not necessarily trying to fix them or solve them.
“It suggests to people that they begin to see all their thoughts as just thoughts, whether they are positive, negative or neutral.”
MBCT is recommended for people who are not currently depressed, but who have had three or more bouts of depression in their lives.
Trials suggest that the course reduces the likelihood of another attack of depression by over 50%.
Professor Williams believes that more research is still needed.
He said: “It is becoming enormously popular quite quickly and in many ways we now need to collect the evidence to check that it really is being effective.”
However, in the meantime, meditation is being taken seriously as a means of tackling difficult and very modern challenges.
Scientists are beginning to investigate how else meditation could be used, particularly for those at risk of suicide and people struggling with the effects of substance abuse.
What is meditation?
Meditation is difficult to define because it has so many different forms.
Broadly, it can be described as a mental practice in which you focus your attention on a particular subject or object.
It has historically been associated with religion, but it can also be secular, and exactly what you focus your attention on is largely a matter of personal choice.
It may be a mantra (repeated word or phrase), breathing patterns, or simply an awareness of being alive.
Some of the more common forms of meditative practices include Buddhist Meditation, Mindfulness Meditation, Transcendental Meditation, and Zen Meditation.
The claims made for meditation range from increasing immunity, improving asthma and increasing fertility through to reducing the effects of aging.
Research into the health claims made for meditation has limitations and few conclusions can be reached, partly because meditation is rarely isolated – it is often practised alongside other lifestyle changes such as diet, or exercise, or as part of group therapy.
So should we dismiss it as quackery? Studies from the field of neuroscience suggest not.
It is a new area of research, but indications are intriguing and suggest that meditation may have a measurable impact on the brain.
In Boston, Massachusetts, Dr Sara Lazar has used a technique called MRI scanning to analyse the brains of people who have been meditating for several years.
She compared the brains of these experienced practitioners with people who had never meditated and found that there were differences in the thickness of certain areas of the brain’s cortex, including areas involved in the processing of emotion.
She is continuing research, but she believes that meditation had caused the brain to change physical shape.
His personal belief is that “by meditating, you can become happier, you can concentrate more effectively and you can change your brain in ways that support that.”
In one study he observed the brains of a group of office workers before and after they undertook a course of meditation combined with stress reduction techniques.
At the end of the course the participants’ brains seemed to have altered in the way they functioned.
They showed greater activity in the left-hand side – a characteristic which Davidson has previously linked to happiness and enthusiasm.
This idea that meditation could improve the wellbeing of everyone, even those not struggling with mental illness, is something that is exciting researchers.
Professor Williams believes it has huge potential.
“It involves dealing with expectations, with constantly judging ourselves – feeling we’re not good enough,” he said.
“And, that is something which is so widespread in our communities.
“All of these things are just thoughts. And, they will come up in meditation and learning to recognize what they are as thoughts, and let them go, can be enormously empowering for anybody.”
There is, of course, a distinct possibility that this research will come to nothing and that interest in meditation will turn out to be a passing fad, but for now this ancient discipline is being taken seriously by scientists as a tool with potential to make each one of us happier and more content.
“By meditating, you can become happier, you can concentrate more effectively and you can change your brain in ways that support that” says Dr Richard Davidson.