Science Confronts Meditation Claims
“Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word.”
Many people promote meditation as harmless and healthful. Of course, growing interest in meditation cannot be separated from the increased popularity of Eastern and New Age religion.
However, many don’t place the claims that Eastern meditation reduces stress in the same category as the magical New Age claims made for crystals. Unfortunately, even children in public schools go through Eastern meditation exercises.
Eastern meditation has often been recommended as one treatment for hypertension. However, no one had ever studied these medical claims to see if they were true. Then the results of such a study were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Government researchers had studied effects of Eastern meditation on more than 2,100 men and women with high blood pressure. They concluded that it is ineffective in lowering blood pressure. Yes, it is true that there are changes in the brain waves of someone who is meditating. However, brain waves normally change when one type of mental activity replaces another. Nor is Eastern meditation a particularly good choice to produce brain waves associated with mental peace.
Eastern meditation is not harmless. It can open the mind to negative influences. And claims that it can reduce the effects of stress have been scientifically shown to be untrue. Let’s return to our Bible and say with the Psalmist, “Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word.”
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