There are two basic forms of meditation—concentrative and mindfulness—which both have been used for centuries to focus attention and to calm the mind. Although mindfulness meditation is relatively new to health science, meditative practices are increasingly being used as a therapeutic intervention to reduce stress and improve well-being (Chang, V., 2004). TheEastern philosophy of wellness has brought meditation in various forms from India, Tibet and China to the western world. Such forms are Buddhist meditation, Mindfulness mediation, Transcendental meditation and Zen meditation.
Meditation does have health benefits for the individual and these are primarily dependant on the compliance, technique and frequency of use by the meditator. Various forms are visualisation, mantra, chanting, body control, attention to a single item, attention to breathing patterns, dance or moving meditations.
Application to Wellness
Meditation and chanting are beneficial to overall wellness through the ability to still the mind, gain clarity, peace and increased physical vitality and spiritual wellbeing.
Common conditions treated
Lowering blood pressure, decreasing heart rate, pain management, strengthening the immune system, improve circulation, gradual slowing and deepening of breathing, stress management, decrease sleeplessness, insomnia and depression.
Potential risks/ controversies
There are no serious, adverse risks with meditation. However, it is best to see meditation as an addition to your health regime rather than a single panacea. It should be used in conjunction with other lifestyle measures, allopathic and/or complimentary medicine modalities. The idea of meditation or positive thinking used in isolation to restore health and cure illness has created controversy, perpetuated by mass media, due to an inability to produce a balanced report.
Certificate or Diploma in Meditation - Australia
No meditation teacher training course is recognized by the Australian Government at this point in time. Practitioner registration is not compulsory. Entry into a course is offered to everyone whose passion, or calling, it is to work in the holistic wellbeing industry. You do not need to have any prior qualifications. Therefore it is important that prior to beginning a course or session of mediation with a practitioner that you research the practitioners educational background or which spiritual/religious denomination they are associated with and ensure you are comfortable and deem them credible.
It is worth contacting the following associations and utilise the links below to find a practitioner near you. Associations: ATMA – Australian Teachers of Meditation Association, IMTA (International Meditation Teachers Association) and
IICT (International Institute of Complementary Therapists).
www.gawler.org - Gawler Foundation
www.chungtai.org.au - Bao Lin Chan Monastery, Zen Centre of Melbourne
www.meditateinmelbourne.org - Kadampa meditation centre Australia
Kabat-Zinn, J. 1990. Full Catastrophe Living: Using the wisdom of your body and mind to face stress, pain, and illness. New York, NY: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group.
Ludwig, D. S., & Kabat-Zinn, J. 2008. Mindfulness in Medicine. JAMA: Journal of the American Medical Association, 300(11), 1350-1352. doi: 10.1001/jama.300.11.1350
Center for Mindfulness. (n.d.). Stress reduction Program. Retrieved from http://www.umassmed.edu/Content.aspx?id=41254&linkidentifier=id&itemid=41254
Chang, V, et al 2004. The effects of a mindfulness-based stress reduction program on stress, mindfulness self-efficacy, and positive states of mind. Stress and Health, 20, 141-147.
Germer, C. 2004. What is mindfulness?Insight journal, 22, 24-29.