Despite the tremendous advances in modern medicine we are still to develop truly effective strategies to deal with the common public health problems that cause most of the mortality and morbidity in the wider community. The use of stress reduction has been shown to be beneficial in many diseases, as it improves psychological and physical health and lifestyle awareness.
Regardless of the underlying theories, the majority of clinicians recognise that stress is a major contributor to disease and that a simple stress management technique, such as meditation - once scientifically proven and clinically evaluated - could be widely applied in the clinical setting.

Stress is anything that brings mental and emotional pressure that leads to fear, anxiety, worry, apprehensions, anger and even excitement and the body responds in a prompt, speedy and inefficient way. According to medical professionals, 90-95% of illnesses in modern era can be blamed on psychological forces; 98% headaches originate due to stress and stress also manifests itself into many other physical ailments like indigestion, acidity and life-killers like heart attacks.

The symptoms of stress include:
  1. Change of facial expression and bodily postures 
  2. Withdrawal from social relationships 
  3. Low task performance (sometimes its opposite also manifests i.e. high productivity but which is highly detrimental for our physical and mental health) 
  4. Impediment of speech 
  5. Sighs & continuous fidgeting  
  6. Nervous laughter 

Benefits of meditation
in Stress

About fifteen years ago in India, Professor U.C. Rai accomplished some pioneering work with a technique of meditation called sahaja yoga. He was head of the Department of Physiology at Maulana Azad Medical College in Delhi. He himself had suffered serious angina attacks and was surprised to find that this technique of meditation seemed to alleviate his medical condition.

Professor Rai, impressed by this personal experience, sought to scientifically document the effects of this technique. He set up a multifaceted research project. Part of this was a study on the effects of sahaja yoga meditation on chronic illnesses such as epilepsy and asthma. Rai’s research team found that regular practice of this technique reduced the frequency, severity and duration of his patients’ epileptic seizures.11 Moreover, when Rai taught another group a mimicking exercise, which resembled but was actually not the real technique, the same improvement did not occur!

Meditation Research Programme, The Natural Therapies
Unit, Royal Hospital for Women, Ph (02) 9382 6626, Fax (02) 9382 6660.