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Meditate During Stressful Medical Procedures

Meditate During Stressful Medical Procedures

“I have so much to accomplish today,” Mahatma Gandhi once said, “that I must meditate for two hours instead of one.” That about sums up the far-reaching powers of meditation: It dispels stress and increases your ability to meet the challenges ahead with grace and acceptance.

Fortunately, you don’t need to head to a mountaintop to meditate. Mindful meditation is something you can do anywhere, any time—for a wide variety of reasons. We particularly like the research that shows it’s helpful to women undergoing a breast biopsy.

Researchers at Duke University Cancer Institute offered women getting a breast biopsy a recorded meditation focusing on positive emotions; the choice of soothing music or sounds; or standard care with a technologist offering casual conversation and support. The women listening to guided meditation reported significantly less pain during the procedure and less anxiety and fatigue.

Reducing pain is important in and of itself. Plus, if you feel pain or anxiety during such a procedure you may move, interfering with its effectiveness. You might also avoid important follow-up visits. 

So, we suggest you (male or female) create a daily meditation routine. A study out of Carnegie Mellon reveals it reduces an inflammatory biomarker—IL-6—associated with stress. It can help control high blood pressure and ease the symptoms of depression, anxiety and insomnia. You can also use meditation to bolster your immune system if you’re fighting the flu! Get started with free Stress-Free Now mediation apps from Dr. Mike’s Cleveland Clinic on iTunes.

Medically reviewed in November 2018.

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