What is Meditation Therapy?
Meditation Therapy is “a method of relaxation and consciousness expansion by focusing on a mantra or a keyword, sound, or image while eliminating outside stimuli from one’s awareness” (Mosby’s Medical Dictionary, 2009).
Types of meditation therapy include:
– Mindfulness – a type of meditation where the focus is awareness of what you’re feeling and sensing in the moment, without judgment.
– Body scan- a mindfulness exercise where the focus is awareness in the present moment, with the sensations of various body part awareness guiding attention.
– Loving-kindness-meditatiion focusing on compassion for others and oneself
– Walking- meditation whille walking
– Mantra-a motivating chant that is repeated
All types of meditation have similar things in common such as needing a quiet environment and dedicated time. There is no right or wrong way to do meditation and the span of time in which one meditates can be anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours, though most people meditate for up to 30 minutes at a time.
What are the Benefits of Meditation Therapy?
Meditation therapy can help improve symptoms of anxiety, depression, and pain. It has also been known to help those who suffer from insomnia, smoking and food and drug cravings. Lastly, meditation therapy has been known to help lower blood pressure, improve attention and improve age-related memory decline.
What are Techniques Used in Meditation Therapy?
Diaphragmatic (belly) Breathing. – For this technique, you can sit down or lie down in a way that your back gets good support. Then you close your mouth and breathe in through your nose.
Straw Breathing – A great way to help extend your breathing is to try straw breathing. For this you will breathe in through your nose and then with a plastic straw, blow out through it letting the air leave your lungs.
2-Minute Relaxation – Begin this technique by taking some deep breaths and while doing so, make sure that you exhale slowly. Pay close attention to the air leaving your lungs and relax your muscles. Let your head tilt slightly forward and then turn from left to right and then tilt your head back up and again turn from left to right and then look up and down before returning to a head straight position. If you feel any pain then roll your shoulders forward and backward until you feel at ease.
Reducing Tension – To reduce tension, it might be a good idea to exercise the muscles in your neck and shoulders. You can do so by standing or sitting down and then raising your shoulders to your ears and count to ten and then bring your shoulders down. You can also raise your hands above your head and swing your arms up and down and side to side.
Relaxation Response – For this technique, you’ll want to find a quiet place where you can sit comfortably. Pick a word, sound, or any one thing you want to focus on. The main goal of this exercise is to be able to focus on one particular thing without letting your mind wander and think of other things. However, if you feel like your mind is drifting, think of the focal point you chose when you first started this exercise.
Passive Muscle Relaxation – During this exercise, you can sit or lie down in a position that’s most comfortable for you. Then close your eyes and do some deep breathing and relax your muscles so any tension you’re experiencing fades away.
Body Scanning – Begin, by lying on your back in a comfortable position then shut your eyes closed and take a deep breath. Then, one by one, focus on each part of your body noticing any sensations.
Guided Imagery – This technique involves listening to a script that directs the listener to fully imagine a scene (e.g. the beach) using one’s imagination while focusing on the sense experiences (e.g. sight, smell, feel, etc..) relevant to the experience to achieve a relaxed state..