Meditation and depression
7 Healthcast: Meditation and depression
Mike McKane uses meditation to lighten his depression.
"The meditation sort of put things in perspective for me," McKane said. "I realized right away it was doing something good for me."
And now, modern science is testing the 2500 year old tradition, exploring its healing properties.
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin in Madison study meditation classes, and technology now allows for brain scans that show surprising differences after just weeks of meditation.
"They measured brain waves with a big old electrical cap sitting right there," said meditation researcher Donal Macoon. "And what they discovered is that the brain waves did change."
Changed in a good way.
Researchers say previous studies used meditation on patients who'd suffered recurrent bouts of clinical depression.
"They in particular, their relapse rate for depression was cut in half," Macoon said.
So how does this work? Meditation leader Sevan Ross says it is work.
"You're trying to wrestle the mind out of its normal patterns," Ross said.
But in the end, scientific explanations pale in comparison to meditation's effect on those who believe it's changed their brains, and their lives.
"Feeling the change I guess is the biggest thing," McKane said. "That instantly changes it from depression to something way more positive."
Although meditation has worked for many people suffering from depression, the complex workings of the brain are still a mystery, and if you're depressed, it's important to talk to your doctor about all of your treatment options.
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