Medicine is the art and science of healing. It encompasses a range of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness.

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meditation.jpg  For years, meditation has been touted as the "new" medication. By calming your spirit, bringing yourself into focus and into a state of quiet then all will be right with your self. But is that true? And if it were true across the board, would people who have different types of problems be inclined to seek help through meditation rather than medication? After all, a pill is a lot easier to swallow than sitting in silence for 20 minutes.
Buddhism seems to be one of the more popular proponents of meditation, which offers a more labor-intensive re-training of the mind. Some of the questions that were raised in recent research centered around a person’s ability to re-train their mind, and the ability to "self monitor" emotions and behaviors. Using a Tibetan monk as the subject, the researchers found that it is possible to use meditation to overcome certain barriers and behaviors that traditional medicine has been able to alleviate.

 According to many mental health researchers, in cases of terminal or chronic illness, meditation is often used to reduce complications from stress. Physicians and the medical community in general are seeking to fund and research the area of meditation, as there are a growing number of doctors who believe that stress contributes significantly to poor physical health. 
In 2004, the National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine released a survey that focused on the use of complimentary and alternative medicines. According to the survey, the majority of individuals 18 years old and older used a combination of alternative medicine with conventional medicine. Deep breathing and various forms of breathing meditation was the 2nd most used form of alternative medicine therapy. Meditation that excluded the use of prayer was the 3rd most used form.

The difficulties seem to arise, though, out of knowing which modality will work best for each individual situation. It is important to seek advice from a physician before embarking upon a change in medication or using a different form of therapy. While there is still a lot of research needed in this area, the studies and statistics from what we already know are compelling enough to realize that there is a mind-body connection to improving and maintaining good health both mentally and physically.

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