In fact, many different chronic pain conditions are often relieved with mind-body therapies. Chiropractors most frequently treat patients with back and neck pain, and several studies have focused on the benefits of mind-body therapies to manage spinal pain symptoms.
Let’s take the use of antidepressant medications, for example. Americans use an astounding amount of medication to treat depression: one in 10 Americans, and 1 in 4 American women in their 40s and 50s take prescribed medicine to treat depression.
This alarmingly high rate of use isn’t just due to people feeling depressed. When you mix a bunch of advertisements for this type of medication, or ‘happy pills’, add a little scare tactics and a potential over diagnosis, it equals one big over-medicated mess.
In a recent study where 5,000 patients were given a diagnosis of depression in the previous 12 months, nearly two-thirds of a sample of them did not meet the criteria for major depressive episode, as outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (D.S.M.).
There seems to be a real lack of focus on alternatives. When you see a conventional doctor in the U.S. you are very rarely told to look into uplifting exercises, such as meditation and yoga, which has proven anti-depressant impacts on people, or if they’ve thought about taking alternative treatments like chiropractic or neorfeedback treatment. Typically, a visit to a doctor’s office ends with a prescription for pills and potions, not alternative medicines or therapy.
For those people suffering on a budget, meditation requires no teacher, no tools, no pills, no money, and there are zero side effects. All one need is a calm and quiet environment. Mindfulness meditation may not cure all, but when it comes to the treatment of depression, anxiety, and pain, the practice may be just as effective, or more effective than medication.
Many lot people have this idea that meditation means sitting alone quietly pondering, which simply isn’t true. It’s so much more than relaxation. Meditation is an active training of the mind to increase awareness, and be totally calm and at peace, while being completely alert. This method can be approached in a variety of ways, depending on the program you wish to choose. Rather than “tuning out,” true meditation is a means of “tuning in.” This level of equanimity and centeredness is often referred to as being the “watchful witness of your thoughts.”
One of the most prevalent things that link meditation and chiropractic is posture. Having good posture for meditation helps you focus on the actual meditating and ensures that your mind and body are connected. Whether you prefer to sit on a chair or on the floor, your spine should be erect and your body relaxed. Your hands should rest on your lap, palms down. You should be comfortable in the posture you choose for meditation. Sitting erect with the back, neck, and shoulders relaxed is a good posture, and it can help with easing back and neck pain. The most commonly recommended meditation posture is the lotus position. Sitting firmly on the floor, your body is erect and head well balanced in this posture. Many chiropractors recommend similar meditation techniques, as opposed to medication, to their patients, to further help with the progress of fixing whatever problem it is that the patient has.
Chiropractors find the “above-down-inside-out” viewpoint of the benefits of meditation, easy to comprehend. As science continues to prove the effectiveness of chiropractic adjustment for a variety of ailments, we should also be aware that there is more and more evidence for the practice of meditation. The interplay of perception and focus in the area of pain management suggests that meditative practice can be beneficial for a variety of physical ailments. For example, researchers at Stanford University’s Neuroscience and Pain Lab found that as patients watched their own brains react to pain in real-time, they could learn to control their responses. There was strikingly more activity in the brain when patients focused on something distracting instead of focusing on the actual pain.