You've probably always heard that an apple a day can keep the doctor away, but what if there was something else out there that way the same way? According to research, daily meditation may be able to significantly reduce your visits to the doctor, build resiliency and reduce stress. In this study, research showed that deep relaxation techniques (meditation and yoga) were able to reduce doctor visits by 42 percent, laboratory tests by 44 percent and various procedures by 21 percent. This was particularly true for patients who had cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, neurologic and musculoskeletal issues.
Should You Go With Yoga or Meditation?
Meditation and yoga are very different, yet extremely similar at the same time. They both work to relax the mind and body. In many cases, a lot of yoga exercises make time for a bit of meditation. Regardless of their similarities, they both have had independent research conducted that have demonstrated positive health benefits.
What Science Says About Yoga
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) reports that yoga has numerous health-related benefits, including:
- It can help reduce pain in the lower back and improve overall function.
- It may be able to reduce stress, depression, and insomnia.
- It can lower your blood pressure and heart rate.
- It may be able to improve your overall physical strength, fitness and flexibility.
What Science Says About Meditation
- It can lower your blood pressure.
- It may be able to reduce your irritable bowel syndrome symptoms, lower the risk and severity of certain respiratory illnesses (like the flu) and help treat insomnia.
- It can reduce your medical expenses by 11 percent after one year and 28 percent after five years.
Remember…Not All Yoga Is Created Equally
There are certain types of yoga that you may need to steer clear of, according to the NCCIH. For example, hot yoga is not recommended for those with a history of heatstroke, lung disease or heart disease. Make sure to do your research before jumping into a form of yoga to ensure that it is safe for you to partake in.
Will You Do Yoga, Meditation or a Combination of Both?
In the end, the decision of whether you do yoga, meditation or both is up to you. Everyone has different abilities, needs and wants, so it is important to consider the type of exercise that you will be doing and take care in selecting an instructor to help you along the way. Before you engage in any form of yoga, meditation or other exercise, it is important to speak to your primary care doctor to ensure that you are in appropriate health.