Updated: Jun 11
The ancient practice of meditation is often associated with achieving inner peace and clarity of mind. However, recent studies have uncovered a surprising connection between meditation and physical health.
A groundbreaking study by researchers at the Shanghai Mental Health Centre revealed that regular meditation practice can regulate the gut microbiome, potentially lowering the risk of illness. The study examined the stool and blood samples of Tibetan Buddhist monks who had been practicing meditation for at least two hours a day for up to 30 years, as well as secular residents in the area.
The results showed significant differences in the diversity and volume of microbes between the meditators and their secular neighbours. The meditators had enriched bacteria that positively affected physical and mental health, potentially reducing the risk of anxiety and depression, as well as boosting the immune system.
Further analysis revealed that certain bacteria enriched in the meditators have been associated with the alleviation of mental illness, suggesting that meditation could influence these bacteria and improve mental wellbeing.
The findings suggest that meditation may not only benefit mental and emotional health but also physical health by improving gut microbiota. While more research is needed, these results highlight the potential of meditation as a tool for preventing and treating illness. In conclusion, traditional Buddhist meditation offers a holistic approach to health, promoting mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing.
Buddhism is a holistic approach to health that considers all aspects of a person's well-being, including physical health. In addition to promoting mental and emotional health through meditation, Buddhism also encourages a healthy lifestyle through mindful eating, regular exercise, and reducing harmful habits.
Practicing mindfulness during exercise or physical activity, such as yoga, can help improve focus and concentration while reducing stress and anxiety. This, in turn, can improve physical performance and reduce the risk of injury.
Buddhist teachings also encourage individuals to be intimately aware of their bodies and take care of themselves with compassion and mindfulness. Through this, individuals can learn to listen to their bodies, understand their physical needs, and make choices that promote overall physical wellbeing.
Daniel Troyak is a Mindfulness-based Therapist.
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