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Meditation is a practice that is used to calm the mind and put the body in a relaxed state. Meditation is a safe and easy way to balance the physical, emotional, and mental states of a person. Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years and is part of many of the world's religions, including Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism. Although many religions use meditation techniques, meditation can be practiced without following any religion or philosophy.
Many patients have found meditation helpful during chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
Meditation may help control pain, decrease heart rate, decrease high blood pressure, or decrease headaches and anxiety.
The practice of meditation involves finding a quiet time and a quiet place free from distraction. You will need to sit comfortably. The most common forms of meditation are concentration meditation and mindfulness meditation.
Concentration meditation is one basic technique used to focus a person's attention on their breathing, an image, or a sound known as a mantra. The act of focusing quiets the mind and allows deep relaxation and clarity of the mind. A simple and easy form of this type of meditation is to sit quietly and focus on the breath. As a person focuses on breathing in and breathing out, they forget about other thoughts and problems. If the mind wanders away from its focus on the breath, the person simply returns to following the breathing pattern.
The other type of basic meditation is called mindfulness. During mindfulness meditation, a person broadens their awareness and attention to the continuous feelings, thoughts, sounds, smells, images, and sensations that they experience. The person merely watches whatever they are experiencing, but does not react or actively think about these things. This process helps clear the mind and relieves stress and worries.
Many books and tapes are available that explain meditation. Hospitals may offer classes in meditation. Meditation techniques are also taught in stress-reduction classes. There are several different types of meditation techniques. It is most important to find the techniques that work best for you and help you achieve meditation practice.