Meditation began as a component of Eastern spiritual traditions, but today the method has become one of the most popular health practices in the world. Despite being discovered in antiquity, meditation is now recognized by the international medical community for its ability to promote good health.
As science has continued to confirm its benefits, even more people across the world have taken an interest in meditation. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), more than 18 million adults in the U.S. practiced meditation techniques in 2012.
Through meditation, individuals seek to achieve a mode of consciousness that relaxes their minds and instills a sense of contentedness. But mediation can do more than just reduce stress and pain: The practice can also play an important role in helping an individual overcome a substance abuse problem.
TTC Care, located in the West Palm Beach area of Florida, leads patients in meditative sessions to help them make self-discoveries and manage their emotions as well as addiction-related symptoms and cravings. Mindful meditation is one of the leading therapies that make up our robust holistic treatment program, and the practice is available to each and every patient.
The idea that meditation can play a critical role in recovery may be new to some, but history and recent scientific research confirm meditation’s potential for healing. Learning more about meditation, its origins and how it can enhance recovery will make it easier to determine if the technique is right for your recovery.
The History of Meditation
Meditation got its start as far back as 1500 B.C. While scholars continue to debate the exact origins of meditation, most agree that the practice began as a form of Hindu spirituality in ancient India.
By the 4th century B.C., meditation had spread across the region and had been incorporated into Taoist and Buddhist religious practices. Starting in 2nd century B.C., the development of trade along the Silk Road carried Buddhism (and mediation) across the Asian continent.
By the Middle Ages, meditation had become a staple in religious and spiritual communities across the globe. Jewish, Islamic and Christian meditative practices began to develop during this period, following the expansion of Buddhism from China to Japan.
In the West, Buddhism began to gain stronger philosophical followings by the beginning of the 18th Century. Meditation did not truly arrive in the United States until 1979, when Professor Jon Kabat-Zinn, a Ph.D. in molecular biology from MIT, opened the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program at the University of Massachusetts.
The school incorporated scientific observations about the health benefits of meditation with the mindfulness principles that Kabat-Zinn had learned as a component of Buddhist spirituality. As a result of Kabat-Zinn’s influence, modern meditation in the United States and the rest of the West revolves around practicing mindfulness.
What Is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness describes the process of limiting the individual’s focus during meditation to stimuli, external and internal, that are occurring in the present moment. By combining these techniques with the mindfulness approach, meditation has demonstrated significant potential for treating all types of medical problems, including addiction.
The Science of Meditation
More scientific information about the health benefits of meditation is available than ever before. Studies have revealed that meditation has a unique potential to treat the body holistically. As a result, all types of medical conditions can be managed by meditation.
The following studies are just a sample of the research supporting the advantages of meditation and mindfulness:
- A 2016 study funded by the NCCIH discovered that meditation can help manage pain without activating the brain’s opioid’s receptors.
- Meditation was found to help manage high blood pressure in a 2009 trial funded by the NCCIH.
- Multiple studies have demonstrated that meditation can considerably improve one’s ability to quit smoking and remain tobacco-free.
- In 2014, a review of 47 trials found that mindful meditation was responsible for improving anxiety and depression symptoms in patients.
Mindfulness Meditation as Addiction Treatment
Scientific research has also emphasized the advantages of meditation for addiction treatment. A 2009 research review published in the journal Substance Abuse suggested that meditation and mindfulness can play a helpful role in limiting the chances of relapse.
Elsewhere, a clinical trial performed in 2014 and published in JAMA Psychiatry found even stronger evidence that meditation can greatly improve an individual’s success in aftercare and in preventing relapse.
At TTC Care, we understand that every individual will walk down a different path to recovery. That’s why we emphasize personalized recovery plans for each of our patients, many of which call for participation in meditation sessions.
You can learn more about addiction recovery, and how meditation can improve the process, by getting in touch with our admissions counselors anytime. We are available 24/7 to talk with you about your concerns and answer your questions about the treatment and recovery process.