The Benefits of Meditation

Monday June 24, 2013

Studies on meditation have shown to improve health by relieving symptoms of chronic back pain, improving attention-related abilities (alertness, focusing, and prioritizing), and relief of asthma symptoms. It is believed that practicing meditation affects the autonomic nervous system. The autonomic nervous system is made of two major parts. The first, is the sympathetic nervous system, which helps us to react with the “fight-or-flight response” during stressful situations and causes restricting blood flow, whereas the second, the parasympathetic nervous system helps to improve blood flow. It is thought that some types of meditation cause a reduction in activity to the sympathetic nervous system and alternately an increase of activity to the parasympathetic system.

From the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM): The term meditation refers to a group of techniques, such as mantra meditation, relaxation response, mindfulness meditation, and Zen Buddhist meditation. Most meditative techniques started in Eastern religious or spiritual traditions. These techniques have been used by many different cultures throughout the world for thousands of years. Today, many people use meditation outside of its traditional religious or cultural settings, for health and well-being.

To start the practice of meditation at the UNC Wellness Center, consider taking one of our group fitness classes, including Therapeutic Yoga at 8am on Tuesdays or T’ai Chi on Mondays at 7pm or Wednesdays at 1pm. For more group exercise class information, please visit and select the Group Exercise Calendar, or call (919) 966-5500.