James Metz, MD
Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania
Last Modified: November 1, 2001
Meditation is a good technique to help with stress reduction. It is an easy technique to learn and can be done without the help of therapist. It can be practiced in a variety of places including work, home, and in the hospital. Meditation originated in the Eastern religions and was used for calming and focusing the mind. It has been popularized in the United States through the introduction of transcendental meditation by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in the 1960?s. Deepak Chopra, who has been a strong supporter of meditation, has also helped spread its popularity.
There are many ways to practice meditation and each individual develops their own style and preferences. Most recommend performing meditation once or twice a day for 10-20 minutes to reap the full benefits. Find a quiet spot where you will not be disturbed. Sit in comfortable position with your back straight. Close your eyes so you are not affected by visual stimulation. Breathe naturally. Some will use a mantra (phrase or word that you repeat to yourself to help distract your thoughts) such as "om". Gradually relax all the muscles in your body from your feet up to your head. Your mind may wander, but use your mantra to help continue to focus on your breathing and relaxation.
There are many wonderful books available to those interested in learning meditation. Browse through your local bookstore at the selection. One suggestion is Minding the Body, Mending the Mind. Meditation is a wonderful complementary medical technique that is safe, relaxingand best of all, free!