HIV 101














Feeling Stressed?
Give Meditation A Try!

In 2014, The David Lynch Foundation, a group founded in 2005 that is now actively teaching Transcendental Meditation to adults and children worldwide, hosted a conference/webinar in conjunction with The San Francisco AIDS Foundation highlighting new findings of the benefits of Transcendental Meditation, which is one of several forms of meditation. The October 30th, 2014 event marked the launch of a national initiative to teach Transcendental Meditation to 10,000 HIV patients. The panel discussion presented published research and new findings on the benefits of Transcendental Meditation for people living with HIV and AIDS. Studies show that HIV and AIDS patients who practice Transcendental Meditation (TM) experience improved quality of life, increased vitality, strengthening of the immune system and reductions in HIV-specific physical problems. At the conference, the David Lynch Foundation announced a new initiative to teach TM to 10,000 people living with HIV in San Francisco and across the country.

Transcendental Meditation is a simple, effortless technique, practiced for 20 minutes twice a day. More than 340 studies on the benefits of TM have been conducted in over 100 universities and research institutes including the Harvard School of Medicine, the National Institutes of Health, the American Heart Association and the American Medical Association. TM has been proven to reduce acute and chronic stress and stress-related disorders, decrease anxiety and depression, help individuals overcome addictions and simultaneously develop the brain and creative potential of the individual for a healthy, productive and self-sufficient life.

The David Lynch Foundation points to research studies that TM can produce the following results:

- 51% decrease in HIV-related physical problems
- 43% increase in vitality
- 42% improvement in general health
- 27% decrease in perceived stress
- 22% improvement in emotional well being
- 38% reduction in anxiety
- 36% reduction in anger and hostility
- 39% decrease in depressive symptoms

You can watch the video and also get more information at The David Lynch Foundation website at www.davidlynchfoundation.org/hiv.html.

There are many forms of meditation based on and in different spirituality and beliefs, so if TM isn't for you, another form could be just what you need.

In a basic form, meditation is the act of clearing your mind and focusing on one word or thought as a way to find tranquility and peace in your life. Unfortunately, many overworked, overtired and overwhelmed adults don't try meditation because they don't know how to start. After all, if it's something that you've only heard about in passing, the idea of meditation can sound confusing or even for some, bogus. Fortunately, there are many ways that you can learn how to meditate. Whether you work full-time and need something you can do quickly on your lunch break or you're at home and feel like your HIV is controlling you rather than the other way around from time to time, meditation can bring you the calmness you've been searching for.

Meditation classes are one of the easiest, simplest ways to learn how to meditate. Classes work wonderfully if you're the type of person who thrives in a group setting. If you want to learn how to meditate with your friends or even with your partner, you could benefit from taking a meditation class. Classes are available at yoga centers, community centers, and even at some dance studios. Many larger AIDS Service Organizations (ASOs) also offer classes. Aim to find a small class where you'll get plenty of one-on-one time with the teacher. This will give you the guidance and direction that you need to get started.

Another way you can learn how to meditate is to explore books on the subject. Once again, there are many different forms of meditation, so reading and research will give you the chance to find out which type of meditation will work best for you. Additionally, reading opens up the opportunity for you to hear stories of other people who learned how to meditate and how the practice benefited them. If you're still feeling skeptical about meditating, reading success stories could give you the push that you need to get started.

Try meditating while you're sitting, while you're resting in bed, or even while you're soaking in the bathtub. Close your eyes and focus on one thought, word, or item in order to clear your mind. While you might try to meditate for just a few minutes at first, practice will quickly give way to more developed, centered meditation. Eventually, you'll be able to meditate for 20 minutes or more during one session.

If you're part of the "Graying" population, this might interest you: An article published in Natural News pointed to a meditation study performed by UCLA researchers. In the study, The UCLA Brain Mapping Center was looking for decreasing gray matter loss due to aging. They recruited 50 people who don't meditate as a control group and 50 who do, to compare their brain scans from high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging.

Each group of 50 was comprised of 28 men and 22 women ranging in age from 24 to 77. Those who meditated had been doing so for at least four years and up to 46 years, with an average of 20 years.

Although all the older subjects, both meditators and non-meditators, showed signs of diminishing gray matter, the researchers discovered that meditators did fare better. Large parts of the gray matter in the brains of those who meditated seemed to be better preserved.

According to Dr. Florian Kurth, a co-author of the study, the researchers were surprised by the magnitude of the difference.

He said, "We expected rather small and distinct effects located in some of the regions that had previously been associated with meditating, instead, what we actually observed was a widespread effect of meditation that encompassed regions throughout the entire brain."

Just remember that in order to get the health benefits of meditation, including lower blood pressure and reduced stress, you'll need to get started. There's no better time than today, so don't be afraid to take that first step.










Copyright 2018, Positive Health Publications, Inc.

This magazine is intended to enhance your relationship with your doctor - not replace it! Medical treatments and products should always be discussed with a licensed physician who has experience treating HIV and AIDS!