This is a modified version of a research article I wrote in 2017. If you are suffering with migraines or autoimmune issues like RA and you’re interested in a future that is pain free, please review the full text which contains tons of studies, references and info. See the original here.
Has science lost its mystery? We’ve strayed so far from wonder and gratitude. We think we can measure, calculate and predict everything. It is simply absurd. We define and categorize every aspect of our world, yet we are clearly missing some major pieces of the puzzle. We’ve barely scratched the surface of neuroscience; and the deeper into quantum physics we go, the more we realize we cannot explain that world using the theories of our larger world.
Is it really crazy to believe that we may have untapped mental or physical capabilities? Is it completely out-of-this-world to suspect the brain has unlimited potential?
I started off 2016 with a 30 day meditation/yoga challenge and ended up keeping the challenge going all year long! I started looking more into the science and studies behind meditation and honestly, I was blown away. I saw an abundance of parallel ideas connecting the ancient knowledge of meditation with today’s theories in thermodynamics, metaphysics, neurology, physiology. Not to mention the commonalities between the religions.
My mind keeps circling through these same questions:
- Why are the proven health benefits of meditation not more widely advertised?
- What keeps doctors, teachers, and scientists from integrating this knowledge into common practices?
- Why is there still this irrational stigma against meditation
When you think of mediation do you envision some monk-like person in the woods or monastery? Do you associate it with disconnect and isolation? What kind of thoughts come up when you hear someone say the meditate? Are you convinced it’s some ‘new age’, ‘hippy’ belief completely unfounded, without any scientific evidence?
A majority of people have some kind of preconceived belief about mediation; who does it, how it’s done, what it’s all about. Most people with whom I’ve mentioned mediation seem to carelessly dismiss it.
I get that look of sympathy and a “that’s great” — like they want to tell me it’s a waste of time but are too polite. Or I get the eye roll/oh really combination, as if I’m just some yuppie hipster. And you know what, before I researched the benefits of mediation, most likely, I would have responded similarly.
For some reason western medicine chose to run with the pharmaceutical treatments versus all the other types out there.
Our medicine and medical practices have defined our lifestyles and in turn our social norms and beliefs. It is no surprise most people brush off other alternatives*.
– *Words are important. Notice how doctors and scientists, hell even the media will refer to anything other than lab created drugs as alternative methods – by definition an alternative is not first choice. –
They brush off alternative resolutions because they do not fit their belief that medicine, in the form of pills, is the best or only remedy out there.
That same kind of disregard is typically given to acupuncture, chiropractics and reiki. It has blown my mind a number of times, the quickness with which people dismiss meditation and the worth of introspection.
My Own Experiences
I was around twelve years old when I was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. I remember one specialist telling my father that acupuncture could offer relief but my dad laughed it off. He said it was just another way for insurance companies and doctor’s to make money – and my dad is a hippie, seriously. Yet, he still had this ingrained belief that pain could not be healed by anything other than pharmaceuticals. So, instead they put me on 800mg of ibuprofen twice a day. It’s no wonder why a few years later I developed stomach ulcers. Hey, you have to deal with those side effects right? It’s worth it, they say.
Doctors boggle my mind. I’ve seen a ton of them over the last 20 years. Along with the JRA, I suffer from chronic migraines with stroke-like symptoms where I experience tremors, seizures and visual disturbances. Looking back I question why more research wasn’t done into the causes of my ailments. They never wanted to discover the cause, it was simply medication decisions. Every appointment was centered around which class of drugs to try, possible side effects, insurance coverage. The doctors I’ve seen love to throw out the triggered by stress line.
They address stress as if it’s inevitable. Stress Management is another one of those terms society has coined. It implies stress is permanent and it’s acceptable to live under constant stress.
Much to my surprise, I easily discovered an abundance of studies linking meditation and yoga to migraine relief and chronic pain management. Why hadn’t the doctor known about these findings?
When I revisited her in 6 months to check in, I reported that my daily headaches had greatly reduced and I hadn’t needed a single emergency shot of Sumatriptan since I’d seen her last. She seemed eager to congratulate me and kick me out of her office. It was a strange meeting. She cynically reminded me that “as soon as the migraines come back don’t hesitate to call and of course, make a one year follow up appointment to reassess my condition.” I thought she’d be intrigued by my recovery. I imagined she would want to know exactly how I managed to cure myself, but I was wrong. What a disappointment.
Looking back over these last 2 years I can see stress really did cause 80% of my health issues.
( I’ve completely made up that figure, but as I’m judging my own pain levels, estimating a percentage seems fitting.) The reduction I’ve seen in body pain, migraines, stress and anxiety has got me preaching from the rooftops! I’ve had huge increases in feelings of motivation, energy, happiness, and creativity.
By no means am I claiming meditation will work for everyone and every disorder but I’ve seen enough proof to know there are better treatments than pharmaceuticals out there!
Be Your Own Experiment!
Fit meditation into your day (EVEN JUST 5-10MINS)
Stay consistent for 30+days
Stay open minded: don’t worry if you’re ‘doing it right’
Critique your results – what areas of your life do you see changes?
SHARE, TALK, and SPREAD YOUR FINDINGS
If you are interested in learning morning about the science behind meditations and migraine relief please read my original, full version because I have lots of studies and figures which i removed from this re-post.