Meditation holds health benefits for body as well as mind

Being stressed may seem like a problem as fleeting as the bad day that may have caused it, but it is believed to add up.

“Stress, by definition, is an overload to the machinery of perception, and then it’s stored chemically or structurally in the nervous system,” said Janice Williams, director and certified instructor at Transcendental Meditation Southern Nevada, which operates the Las Vegas TM Center at 8360 W. Sahara Ave., Suite 250. “By this definition, we know that we can incur stress on the level of any of our senses. Year after year, we’re collecting it and collecting it until we get to the point where — anything can be broken down, even a piece of steel.”

She and her colleague, Michael Williams, who also is a TM instructor, said meditation is an effective way to combat the problem, not to mention preventing and curing disease, boosting the immune system, enhancing mood and promoting clarity of thought.

“The idea of TM is to unfold your potential by transcending and experiencing that subtle level of your existence that lies inside of all of us,” Janice Williams said. “The ability to transcend directly affects the nervous system, and your nervous system is responsible for our state of consciousness. So that element of our consciousness becomes more expanded.”

Michael Williams added that meditation boosts energy levels. He pointed to himself as proof, saying that, at age 67, he is the oldest and most energetic person in his Zumba class.

Lee Papa, mindfulness trainer, public speaker and author of “The Temple of All Knowing,” cited research that showed stress as the main cause of physical, mental, emotional and behavioral issues. She said she believes meditation is a good antidote.

“The Mayo Clinic just did a report on how stress adds to so many different ailments,” said Papa, founder of the now-closed Ganesha Center. “Adding a short meditation to your life is going to impact you and on your physical body and emotionally and behaviorally.”

Alona Angosta, a nurse practitioner and assistant professor for UNLV’s School of Nursing, recited a host of benefits that result from the activity.

“Studies have shown that meditation can decrease anxiety, depression, pain and chronic illness and complications from chronic illness,” she said. “It also helps lower blood glucose for diabetics, blood pressure for hypertension patients, and it decreases the perception of pain.”

She said it also has been shown to improve sleep problems, decrease asthma attacks, improve focus, and alleviate depression and anxiety.

She said she teaches her students to be open to such alternative means of health care and treating patients holistically.

“Part of my treatment plan for my patients is I always include alternative therapy like meditation,” she added.

— To reach Henderson View reporter Cassandra Keenan, email ckeenan@viewnews.com or call 702-383-0278. Find her on Twitter: @CassandraKNews.

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