Let’s be honest- We all know what meditation and mindfulness is… but do we actually practice it?!
Most likely, the answer to this question is no. For most of us, we are too busy with work, family, and life in general. The last thing we want is to stop what we are doing to focus on meditation and mindfulness. I get it. Personally, I am guilty of this too. However, when I consider the science behind these practices and the people we treat at AbsoluteTx on a regular basis, I am reminded of the benefits and increased need for daily meditation and mindful practice.
First, let’s talk a little bit about the mechanism behind mindfulness.
There are many physiological effects that take place when we practice mindfulness. Some of the physiological effects of mindfulness include:
· Normalization of cortisol levels
· Decreased in sympathetic activity
· Enhanced parasympathetic activity
· Altered input into the pain neuromatrix (aka changes in our body’s interpretation of pain)
· Improved amounts of pain acceptance, function, and well-being
· Increased attentional capabilities and emotional regulation
So, why do so many of our Absolute Treatment patients need to practice mindfulness?
At Absolute Treatment, we are fortunate to treat hard working professionals and/or highly active individuals.
· With the working population, higher stress levels are usually seen. These people tend to experience poor mobility and stiffness related to stress and to sustained positions, such as sitting or standing, for prolonged positions periods of time. Mediation and mindfulness can help alleviate stress, reduce muscle tightness, and decrease the potential for pain and stiffness associated with many of these working conditions.
· When it comes to our active population, meditation can have HUGE benefits as well. The athletes we treat tend to always be on-the-go. As a result, they never allow their muscles time to adequately rest and recovery. Taking the time to practice meditation and mindfulness allows for better recovery between WODs, lifting sessions, and long-distance runs. Additionally, meditation and mindfulness help to reduce risk of injury and promotes better movement ability, function, and skill in sports.
While on the surface meditation and mindfulness may seem like silly and unnecessary practices, when we take a deeper dive into its purpose, it is clear that these practices are applicable and necessary for most lifestyles. Whether you suffer from depression or chronic pain, or if you are a fulltime businessman or high performing athlete, you are likely to find benefits from meditation. And speaking of benefits… let’s not forget that meditation and mindfulness are free with virtually no negative side effects. Basically, it’s a win all around. So, to answer the initial questions… YES!