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Meditation at University Hospitals Helps Achieve Well-Being of Body and Spirit

University Hospitals Connor Integrative Health Network offers guided meditation classes to introduce individuals to a variety of techniques that can aid in relaxation, as well as to reduce anxiety, stress and pain associated with various illnesses and conditions.

What is Meditation?

Meditation is a mind-body practice which originated in ancient spiritual traditions and has been used by many cultures throughout the world for thousands of years. More and more, people are using meditation outside of its traditional religious or cultural setting to enhance health and well-being and manage stress.

Though there are many types of meditation, the term refers to a group of techniques which create what is known by scientists as the relaxation response; they help the mind bring its attention to the present moment. Some forms of meditation instruct the practitioners to become mindful of thoughts, feelings and sensations, and to observe them in a non-judgmental way.

This practice promotes greater calmness, physical relaxation and psychological balance, and can change how a person relates to the flow of emotions and thoughts.

Quick Facts About Meditation

  • Meditation has been practiced for at least 5,000 years, but it did not reach the U.S. until the mid-20th century.
  • A 2007 national government survey found that 9.4 percent of respondents (representing more than 20 million adults) and 1 percent of children (representing 725,000 children) had used meditation in the past 12 months
  • Since the 1960s, meditation has been the subject of more than 1,000 published research studies

Elements of Meditation

Most forms of meditation have four elements in common:

  • A quiet location: Meditation is usually practiced in a quiet place with as few distractions as possible.
  • A specific, comfortable posture: Meditation can be done while, sitting, lying down, standing, walking or in other positions.
  • A focus of attention: Focusing one’s attention is usually part of meditation. The meditator may focus on a specially chosen word or phrase (mantra), an object, or the sensations of breathing.
  • An open attitude: Having an open attitude means letting distractions and thoughts come and go naturally without judging them.

Benefits of Meditation

In addition to being beneficial for overall well-being and relaxation, meditation can also be useful for various health problems including:

  • Anxiety
  • Pain
  • Depression
  • Stress
  • Insomnia
  • Physical or emotional symptoms that may be associated with chronic illnesses (such as heart disease, HIV/AIDS and cancer) and their treatment

For More Information

To learn more about meditation at UH Connor Integrative Health Network, call 216-285-4070.