- In-patients at St Luke’s
Relaxation and meditation are used to promote positive coping mechanisms in illnesses such as cancer. They aim to minimise the fear and anxiety which have a detrimental effect on the mental and emotional state. Stress actually impairs the body’s ability to heal itself , but when meditating or relaxing, you are in a place that is more conducive to healing, be it mental, emotional or physical.
How meditation therapy works
Imagine yourself sitting on a park bench in the quietness of an early summer’s morning, the birds singing, a gentle breeze blowing on your face, the light dancing on the leaves of the trees, the grass soft beneath your feet. Now imagine yourself in a busy shopping centre, people scurrying around, constant chatter, loud music coming from the shops and the glare of artificial lighting.
You have just experienced the two different sides of the brain. There is the gentle right side, our creative and ‘just being’ side of the brain and then there is the busy left side of our brain, our practical ‘doing’ side. It stands to reason that moving out of the ‘shopping centre’ side of our brain and moving into our ‘peaceful garden’ side of the brain is the more healing place to be.
People who meditate move their thoughts from the left to the right side of their brain. Regular meditators have shown enlarged frontal lobes – the part of the brain that controls focus, attention and concentration. Meditation gives you a heightened awareness, a deeper sense of self. You are conscious and present in the moment, but also in a deeply relaxed state, where the body and mind can rebalance and restore themselves.