“Morning meditation complete,” Holly Willoughby posted alongside a picture of herself on Instagram, “and breathing in the possibility of a new day”. Engaging in such a ritual could have more health benefits than one realises. The 40-year-old’s daily commitment to deep breathing can do marvellous things for her health. To begin with, the Mayo Clinic confirmed the mind-body practise can be viewed as “medicine”.
The National Centre for Complementary and Integrative Health (NIH) pointed out meditation “may reduce blood pressure”.
Supporting this notion was an investigation done by researchers at the School of Basic Medicine Sciences of Lanzhou University, China.
A meta-analysis of 12 studies included the data from 996 participants who reduced their blood pressure by meditating.
Specifically, meditation was found to lower systolic blood pressure, on average, by 4.26mmHg and diastolic blood pressure by 2.33mmHg.
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Known to be one stress-busting pastime, researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA, found that meditation can also decrease inflammation in the body – a big predictor of disease.
For the eight-week research study, some participants engaged in a mindfulness intervention.
All participants were then exposed to stressors and had capsaicin cream topically applied to their forearms.
Those who had engaged in the eight-week meditation programme reported less psychological distress and a “significantly” smaller inflammatory response to the topical cream.
“Through meditation, we can build up areas of our brain and actually rewire it to enhance positive traits like focus and decision making,” said Headspace.
The daily practise is also said to “diminish fear and stress”, as well reduce irritability and improve self-compassion.
If you would like to start practising meditation but don’t know where to begin, you can start by downloading or visiting Headspace.
Meanwhile, BBC One’s Take Off with Bradley and Holly will air on Saturday, July 24 at 6pm.