Meditation: Increasing Longevity and Unlocking the Fountain of Youth
by Jennifer R. Berman, MD and Angela Nwachuku
Meditation, to some, may seem like a chore, or some unattainable state of being that only the spiritually enlightened can achieve. The reality is, there is a growing body of evidence showing that there is a real health benefit to medication and anyone can actually do it. Meditation is the most effective way to allow the body to reach state of consciousness and relaxation and allow for healing emotionally AND physically. Yet some wonder about its effect on health and aging; especially women’s health.
Meditation, according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), is defined as “a mind-body practice.” It is a great tool for treatment and healing of the human body and mind, and compliments traditional medications that we may take as well as the more clinic-based medical treatments. Meditation allows the mind and body to work in synchronization to adjust and manage the different functions of the body. It guides the individual in learning what area of the body or mind needs attention and how to focus that attention to target an area to enhance healing as well as wellbeing.
There are several studies that have been conducted to observe the effects of meditation on women’s health and age. One study done by Kristina Grish (2011) examined the effects of meditation and preservation of the life span of cells. She found that meditation had a positive influence on a cellular enzyme called telomerase. Telomerase is responsible for sustaining chromosomal life by repairing one of its components called telomeres (prevents chromosomal deterioration). This in turn delays a person’s aging rate by reducing deterioration of cells caused by negative factors such as high blood pressure and stress (Godfrey, 2006). This is a pivotal study showing that mediation can actually slow down the aging process!!! At the same time, meditation also works to slow heart rate and regulate steady breathing, reducing blood pressure and stress levels as well. Studies show that individuals who meditate on a daily basis have about 30 percent more levels of telomerase than those who do not (Grish, 2011).
In addition to enhancing wellbeing, relaxation and longevity, women can benefit greatly from meditation in a variety of ways when it comes to their sexual health and age. There are no restrictions to age or background when implementing meditation as a form of practice for maintaining good physical and mental health. The beauty of meditation is that it is individual to each person and can target and focus on a variety of health issues and concerns including: Physical or emotional symptoms related to chronic illnesses, pain, stress, and anxiety (NCCAM, 2006) as well as sexual health symptoms including loss of libido, painful intercourse, as well as orgasmic disorder. Such symptoms and conditions are prevalent in women of all ages, especially as they age. Talking to your health care practitioner about meditation and your personal health status can help you identify ways in which meditation can improve youthfulness, longevity, and improved health.
2012 Texas Conference for Women speaker Dr. Jennifer Berman is a urologist and an internationally renowned expert in the field of female sexual and menopausal health. She is the founder of The Berman Women’s Wellness Center in Beverly Hills, and is one of only a few female urologists in the United States. Considered America’s leading expert on women’s sexual health issues, she pioneered the clinical research studies on female sexual function as well as the medical therapies that are in development and being used by women today.
Godfrey, J. Toward Optimal Health: Eva Selhub, M.D., Discusses Mind-Body Medicine for Women. Journal of Women’s Health (15409996) [serial online]. December 2006;15(10):1111-1115. Available from: Academic Search Premier, Ipswich, MA. Accessed September 17, 2012.
Grish, K. Coming of age. Natural Health [serial online]. June 2011;41(5):56-95. Available from: Health Source – Consumer Edition, Ipswich, MA. Accessed September 17, 2012.
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Meditation: An Introduction. http://nccam.nih.gov/health/meditation/overview.htm. Updated June, 2010. Accessed September 17, 2012.