The many benefits of meditation are nothing new, and meditation as a health practice dates back thousands of years. Regular meditators can vouch for it as a fantastic natural antidote for stress, for creating mental and emotional peace, patience, creativity, improving focus and mood, and contributing to overall wellness.
Recent research seems to back these claims up. A review study by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Internal Medicine found that not only does regular meditation alleviate stress symptoms, but that it’s efficacy may actually rival the medications used to treat anxiety, depression and pain!
However, the benefits of meditation may not be limited to perception of symptoms. Research at the Tom Baker Cancer Center in Alberta, Canada discovered that meditation can alter the telomeres, or the proteins on the end of a chromosome, the length of which is closely linked to the rate of cell aging. Meditative practice among a highly distressed group of breast cancer survivors resulted in longer telomeres than those of the non-meditating breast cancer survivor group. While telomere length as related to cell aging and stress symptoms is new and more research is needed to understand what role meditation might one day play in the treatment of cancer, this study opens the doors wide on the physical changes in the body as a result of meditation.