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Meditation and exercise as respiratory remedies.

Jul 27th, 2012
Staff Writer

Yogi in meditation.Aerobics are an obvious means to train the lungs, but is it possible to achieve equal benefits from mere mindfulness towards the breath? New findings from the University of Wisconsin suggest that this is indeed the case.

In the United States, acute respiratory illness is the most costly illness in the United staes, accounting for accounts for 20 million doctor visits every year according to the University of Michigan’s research department.

Currently, the only medicines available to combat respiratory infection are preventative (hand-washing, smoke-avoidance). However, a team of doctors from around the United States recently investigated the effect of meditation and exercise on these illnesses. They published their results in the July/August edition of the Annals of Family Medicine Journal.

The study divided 150 aged participants aged 50 and older into either mediation, exercise, or control groups. The mediation and exercise groups participated in weekly group sessions of two-and-a-half hours of either “nonjudgmental awareness, a heightened sensitivity to bodily sensation, and attention to one’s own thought and emotions,” or biking, running and other physical activity (name). Each person was then asked individually that 45-minutes daily be dedicated to their respective practice. The control saw no intervention.

Participants saw a decrease in the incidence, duration and severity of acute respiratory illness following the eight-week program. Meditation was the most effective treatment, producing a 60% reduction in illness severity and an astounding 76% fewer sick days.

The benefits seen with the exercise regime are indicative of the well-known health effects of physical activity, but meditation-induced gains speak volumes to the effect of mind over matter. A combination of ponderance and action focusing the body and breath, yoga is a practice with unique health implications, and if this study is a judge, the profits of practice could prove convalescent.