How Meditation Benefits your Health and Changes the Brain

How Meditation Benefits your Health and Changes the Brain

February 02, 20244 min read

How Meditation Benefits your Health and Changes the Brain

In this article, we're going to cover how meditation benefits both your mental and physical health, and how meditation changes the brain!

Meditation is only increasing in popularity as more and more people become educated on its benefits for both mental and physical health.

Simply put, meditation is a state of awareness when your mind becomes free from distractions. 

In this blog post, we’ll delve into the world of brain waves and molecules such as nitric oxide, Serpin A5, and melatonin, that positively impact your health. Get ready to understand how meditation can help reduce your stress, get better sleep and boost your immunity! 

How Meditation Changes the Brain

When we engage in meditation, the brain undergoes notable changes that are often associated with increased mental clarity and emotional well-being.

To truly understand meditation and the impact it has, you first have to understand brain activity. Brain activity has different levels of intensity, or frequency, and is measured in the form of brain waves.

There are 5 different types of brain waves:

  • Beta brain waves - These have a frequency of 15-30Hz, this is your brain when it’s active, like right now as you read this!

  • Alpha (9-14Hz) - When you’re in a relaxed state. 

  • Theta (4-8Hz) - When you’re in deep relaxation and meditation, between wakefulness and sleep. 

  • Delta (1-3Hz) - When you’re in deep dreamless sleep.

Now you may think “but there are only 4 listed?”. Bear with me!

When we start to relax and gently slip into a meditative state, we typically slow our brains down. We would move down from Beta into Alpha, and maybe even Theta. But sometimes, our brain actually accelerates into the 5th type: Gamma brain waves.

These are the fastest (35 Hz-100 Hz). Your brain tends to produce gamma waves when you’re intensely focused or engaged in problem solving, explaining why you can get “insight” and clarity from meditating! 

Studies have shown that during meditation, there is an increase of activity in the left prefrontal cortex which is stable over time, and a decreased activity in the right prefrontal cortex. These 2 areas are involved in analytical thinking, decision-making and planning, and dictates our behaviours. 

What’s interesting here, is that the left side is associated with more positive thinking and a positive outlook, whereas the right is associated with negative thinking. Therefore, the more we meditate, the brighter our outlook on life is!

How Meditation Benefits your Health

Beyond the realm of neural activity, meditation exerts profound effects on the body's physiological state. 

Less Stress, Better Mental and Physical Health

Meditation is proven to release nitric oxide- a molecule that not only increases your body’s intake of oxygen, but also helps flush out the stress hormones in the body and helps the fascia, the connective tissue, to relax.

One notable impact of this is the reduction in cortisol levels, a hormone associated with stress. Not only does this have a direct impact of levels of experienced stress and anxiety, but this leads to other improvements in health, such as better control of inflammation, lowering blood pressure, and the management of diabetes.

Keeping the fascia relaxed and open is critical to our overall health- fascia helps remove waste from your cells, and plays a crucial role in hydration and healing, providing areas that have no blood supply, such as the joints, with all the nutrients they need.

Immune System Support

It was observed in a recent study conducted at one of Dr Joe Dispenza’s retreats, that a regular meditation practice raises a protein called Serpin A5 in the blood of meditators.

This particular protein is known to not only inhibit bacteria and virus infections, but is also the subject of research linked to its role in inhibiting cancer, and for its regenerative properties in the context of diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Improved Sleep Quality

In order to fall asleep, your body produces a molecule called melatonin. We know that low levels of melatonin lead to insomnia. It was discovered by a research team in the US that people who meditated frequently have higher levels of melatonin.

And remember those brain waves? You have to slow them down to get to the sleep stage- and meditation helps doing just that!

It should also be noted that a heart coherence practice is also an incredible tool that has very similar effects! Heart coherence practices have been shown to bring the brain into alpha brain waves, the same as meditation. This practice also has the added benefit of releasing serotonin, which is the precursor hormone required to make melatonin.

Key Takeaways

In a world where stress and anxiety abound, the practice of meditation not only offers a sanctuary for mental clarity but also serves as a tangible means to foster good physical health. 

As we navigate the realms of brain waves and physiological responses, the resounding message is clear—meditation is not just a trend, it's a tool that you can use to optimise your mental and physical health!


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