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Mental Health Channel
Reported January 4, 2013

Meditation As Medication?

MADISON, Wisc. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Can you use meditation as medication? A federal panel recently released a report with results that might surprise you.

Patrick Slavens often found himself caught up, “With the rush of, you know, everyday life,” Slavens told Ivanhoe. 

His ADHD and smoking habit didn’t help. Then the former marine tried this.

“I never thought I’d end up to be the warm, fuzzy, meditating kinda guy,” Slavens said.

“It’s the kind of thing that has very, very few downsides,” Dr. Richard J. Davidson, Psychology and Psychiatry Professor at the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, told Ivanhoe.

Dr. Richard Davidson has been studying meditation for decades. A friend of the Dalai Lama, he’s scanned the brains of Buddhist monks as they meditated. He tells us the brain can actually make new connections; even grow new neurons in this state. It’s called neuroplasticity.

He believes with practice, meditation can improve symptoms of social anxiety, phobias, and inflammatory problems like asthma or psoriasis.

“My own view is that it’s best considered as an adjunct, it shouldn’t be thought of as a replacement for conventional treatment,” Dr. Davidson said.

A government panel just reviewed 34 meditation trials with three thousand participants and found it can reduce chronic and acute pain. The evidence is weaker on mediation’s effects on stress and anxiety, but the committee found there were benefits.

“Find a quiet place,” Slavens explained.

Patrick says thanks to meditation, he’s quit smoking and is off his ADHD meds.

“It really does work,” Slavens said.

Dr. Davidson, whose research has been published in several peer-reviewed journals, is currently conducting a study comparing the effects of meditation versus yogic breathing on war vets with PTSD.  The ongoing project will take several years.  Meditation’s power to change the brain doesn’t take that long.  In fact, Davidson says his studies show neuroplasticity can occur in as little as two weeks, if you meditate every day for 30 minutes.  MORE

More Information

Click here for additional research on Meditation As Medication

Click here for Ivanhoe's full-length interview with Dr. Richard J. Davidson

If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Andrew Mcintosh at amcintosh@ivanhoe.com

 

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