Why is meditation important?

People with multiple sclerosis often ask: why is meditation important? There are many reasons for this, but one of the most important is its clinically proven effectiveness at reducing stress.

Meditation is one of the central elements of the Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis Recovery Program and an important means of managing the effects of stress on the body.

Meditation is the fourth step in the OMS Recovery Program. Given the pace and pressures of modern life, everyone could benefit from practicing meditation, but especially people living with chronic illness and those with higher levels of stress.

Stress triggers relapses which is why using adopting practices such as meditation to manage stress is so important for people with MS.

Meditation is currently receiving huge levels of press and media attention, partly because the clinical evidence for meditation's health benefits is enormous and growing rapidly.

Many different ways to meditate exist. This website focuses mainly on mindfulness meditation, as a large and increasing body of evidence supports this approach. However, practicing any kind of meditation will be beneficial and is encouraged. Here are a few options to get you started:

  • OMS offers a range of guided meditations on this site, so have a look. All you need are some speakers or headphones, and you’ll be on your way.
  • For an introduction to mindfulness and meditation, see the MS Encyclopedia.
  • For links to other useful sites on meditation and mindfulness, please see our Resources.

Benefits of meditation for people with MS

There are many reasons for people with MS to meditate, but one of the most important is meditation’s clinically proven effectiveness at reducing stress  – and the clinically recognized link between stress and MS progression, both in terms of relapses and degeneration.

A surge in scientific research over the last decade has shown that meditation and mindfulness can help with depression, pain, compassion and happiness, and can 'rewire' the brain.

 

 

Dr. Craig Hassed talks about the long-term physiological effects of mindfulness and meditation, and answers the question: why is meditation important?

Image by  fizkes / Shutterstock


References

1. Burns MN, Nawacki E, Kwasny MJ, Pelletier D, Mohr DC. Do positive or negative stressful events predict the development of new brain lesions in people with multiple sclerosis?; Psychol. Med. 2014 Jan; 44 (2): 349-59. Epub 2013 May 17. PMID: 23680407