by Caroline von Fluegge-Chen
Chronic disease affects so many people in America. These complex problems – cancer, diabetes, and heart disease – require complex solutions. Part of the solution involves people learning to help themselves by creating health-promoting states of consciousness – this is the inner game of health. Many tools are available, including meditation, guided imagery, yoga, and visualization. Visualization is a powerful method for improving your health and for achieving your goals in life.
Sit quietly and close your eyes. Create a mental image of the tissue, organ, or structure you want to help heal. If you have chronic muscular pain in your neck and shoulders, visualize those muscles as being loose, relaxed, and limber. Visualize plenty of blood flowing to those muscles. Visualize the tension in those muscles dissolving.
If you have painful arthritis in your hands, visualize your fingers and wrists moving through a complete and pain-free range of motion. Visualize the swelling in those joints dissolving. Visualize yourself as being healthy and pain-free.
Allow these visualizations to occur without any stress or strain. Your body is designed to respond to mental commands. Engage in the process and allow the results to happen over time.
Way back in the 1960s, when everything was brand-new, the Beatles introduced Maharishi Mahesh Yogi to national television audiences in America and the UK. The Maharishi came to the West with the Beatles to introduce a new thing – Transcendental Meditation.
At the time most Westerners were not familiar with meditation in any form. The Maharishi introduced a simple method that has become well-known and popular over the years. Meditation is even more important to our health and well-being in the 21st century than ever before.
It takes a lot to maintain good health these days. Of course, eating a healthy diet – with plenty of fruits and vegetables – and exercising regularly are the cornerstones of good health. Sufficient rest is another key ingredient – most of us require at least seven hours of sleep each night to restore energy and vitality.
There is another essential factor – one that is less well-recognized and easy to overlook. In the early years of the 21st century, we all need to find ways to manage our daily levels of stress. If we tell the truth, for most of us, our stress levels are off the charts.
Meditation can be a powerful tool for reducing the impact of stress on our bodies, and for helping us better manage the stress in our lives.1,2 Meditation is simple and straightforward – all that’s required is a commitment to making it happen.3
You don’t need any special equipment. You don’t need incense or candles. You don’t even need a mat or a cushion. You can do meditation sitting in a comfortable, straight-backed chair.
There are many methods and ways of practicing meditation. In Transcendental Meditation you silently repeat a simple phrase to yourself. You focus on the phrase, known as a mantra. In Zen meditation, you focus on your breath – not by breathing deeply, but rather as a means to focus your attention. Breathe in, breathe out. Your attention wanders. Notice that, and return your focus to the breath.
Or, you can simply sit quietly. Close the door and turn off your cell phone. Make sure everyone in your home knows this is your alone time. Just sit quietly for ten minutes, allowing yourself to relax. Find a place within yourself on which to focus, and let yourself go. Set aside ten minutes a day. You’ll find that you eagerly look forward to this quiet time and that you emerge refreshed and revitalized.
Your chiropractor is an expert in helping people achieve greater levels of health and well-being. She will be glad to help you learn about methods of stress reduction that will work for you.
1Barnhofer T, et al: Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy as a treatment for chronic depression. Behav Res Ther Feb 5, 2009
2Carson JW, et al: Yoga of Awareness program for menopausal symptoms in breast cancer survivors: results from a randomized trial. Support Care Cancer Feb 12, 2009
3Sharma R, et al: Effect of yoga based lifestyle intervention on subjective well-being. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol 52(2):123-131, 2008