Meditation may improve mood and anxiety for patients with memory loss, according to a new study.
Various forms of meditation have been practiced for thousands of years throughout the world, with many techniques originating in spiritual traditions, particularly in Eastern philosophical and religious practices. In modern times, numerous meditation types are in use, often outside of their original religious and cultural contexts.
In a new study, researchers analyzed data on 15 patients with memory problems. The patients participated in an 8-week meditation program consisting of 12 minutes of meditation daily. Each participant was assessed for changes in mood, anxiety and a variety of other neurological and psychological factors.
The researchers found that meditation resulted in improvements in several outcome measures, including mood, anxiety and fatigue. The authors noted that some measurements were significantly improved, and that all major changes were linked to blood flow in the brain.
The authors concluded that meditation may improve mood and anxiety for patients with memory loss. However, larger-scale, well-designed clinical trials are necessary before any firm conclusions can be made.
Numerous theories have been advanced around the mechanisms of action and potential benefits of meditation. It has been suggested that meditation reduces activity of the sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the "fight or flight" response, leading to a slower heart rate, lower blood pressure, slowed breathing and muscle relaxation.
Various forms of meditation, including mindfulness, transcendental meditation®, and "meditation-based stress reduction programs" have been studied for their effects on anxiety. Better studies are needed before a conclusion can be made.
For more information about meditation, please visit Natural Standard's Health & Wellness Database.