Neuroscience

Effects of meditation on disease processes

Does the consistent practice of "thoughtless awareness" techniques have therapeutic effects on physical disease?

Asthma

We have conducted a randomized trial of thoughtless awareness techniques compared to stress management as part of the management programme for sufferers for moderate to severe asthma. After 12 weeks of instruction in either meditation or stress management subjects were assessed and compared to baseline. The asthma sufferers in the meditation group manifested significantly greater improvements in objective measures of disease severity (airway hyperresponsiveness, HR) and emotional state (POMS). This indicates that meditation, and especially the state of thoughtless awareness associated with it, can have a measurable and practically relevant impact on physical disease.

Menopausal Symptoms

At the Sydney Menopause Centre, Royal Hospital for Women, Australia meditation has been used instead of HRT for the management of menopausal hot flushes. After 8 weeks of meditation instruction average improvement was similar to that expected from HRT. Meditation is an attractive option for women because they prefer non-pharmacological treatments, thereby avoiding the risks associated with taking hormones.

ADHD

ADHD is an increasingly common problem in western countries. At the moment the most effective way of controlling ADHD behaviour in children is with stimulant medication. Unfortunately, despite the fact that medication is effective, many families are looking for alternative options because of the significant side effects that thse medications can have. A 6 week experimental clinic using meditation for children with ADHD led to a 30% improvement in ADHD symptoms. A number of children no longer needed medication and formal assessments indicated that their behaviuor and learning had drastically improved.

*) Silence Your Mind by Dr Ramesh Manocha, Hachette Australia Pty Limited, 2013

Manocha, R., Marks, G. B., Kenchington, P., Peters, D., & Salome, C. M. (2002). Sahaja yoga in the management of moderate to severe asthma: a randomised controlled trial. Thorax, 57(2), 110–115.

Harrison, L. J., Manocha, R., & Rubia, K. (2004). Sahaja Yoga Meditation as a Family Treatment Programme for Children with Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry. 2004; 9(4):479–497.

Manocha R, Semmar B, Black D. A pilot study of a mental silence form of meditation for perimenopausal women. Journal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings. 2007; 14(3):266–273.