Meditation Vs Medication

Although I knew stress was bad for me, I didn't fully understand how stress was literally changing the chemicals in my body (which directly affects the heart, endocrine system, immune system, nervous system...all major bodily systems). And although I'd practiced yoga many times over the years, it was through energy medicine that I came to know that yoga is actually the practice of engaging the body's subtle energy. And although I'd considered myself a meditator for many years, it was my study of energy in the body that taught me that meditation is an energetic "getting to know thyself" practice. Bottom line is that I believe learning about energy medicine, and the practice of yoga and meditation, saved my life...and then changed my life.

After living with the idea that I likely had Lupus for about three months, I was finally given a diagnosis of having a "pre-disposition" to this incurable and sometimes fatal disease. My scare with lupus was one of many scares over the past several years that eventually caused me to stop and take a hard look at my life. I was tested for stroke several times; the worst being a late night in the ER at one of Seattle's (training) hospitals where an intern practiced her lumbar juncture (spinal tap) skills on me. The "real" doctor eventually took over, but I gave the intern some good practice! I think I've paid my dues and will decline the role of guinea pig next time. I've been tested for pulmonary embolism; have scar on my neck from a biopsy to check for lymphoma; have a predisposition for hypothyroidism; irregular heartbeats in the upper and lower chambers of my heart as well at the occasional Supraventricular tachycardia, i.e., various forms of arrhythmia. Woe is me, right? Not really. All these things brought me to where I am today---more balanced, happier, healthier, and stronger than I've been in years!

I don't take medications for my arrhythmia or any other "pre-disposition". I control it all by eliminating as much stress from my life as possible, which includes avoiding foods that upset the way my body functions ---another form of stress---and a regular meditation and yoga practice. Meditation and yoga are what keep me grounded and alive---figuratively and literally! Medication, although good for some people and some situations, have not bode well for me, in general.

For example, after being offered a beta blocker for years I finally tried it after a bad car accident. Lying in the ER and seeing the look on my husband's face as he watched the sporadic rhythm on the monitor made me reconsider. Being used to the irregularity of my heart beats, I was just waiting for them to settle down as I silently talked my heart into beating with the rhythm of my soul---a little practice that had been working, but not this time (having to compete with so much adrenaline rushing through my body). But, seeing the look on his face and hearing yet another lecture from yet another doctor, I gave the beta blocker a try. Let me just say, the meds were not for me! The irregularity of my heart became so constant I really did think I might have a heart attack. After a week of taking the meds, I phoned my integrative doctor who helped me wean off within three weeks.

I really do attribute all my health issues to stress. It's not to say that I no longer have stress, but I now have skills on how to better manage it when I do. For example, I have learned that my practice of yoga and meditation is best for controlling the arrhythmia. And my cardiologist agrees with me! Talk about the proof being in the pudding! If I get off track with my practice my heart acts up---just like that! There are lots of reasons people suffer from arrhythmia, but, for many, stress is often one of the biggest factors. According to WebMD, more than 850,000 people are hospitalized for an arrhythmia each year. Given the fast-paced culture and pressure (stress) to keep up or get out, it's no wonder!

When I stop and think about how drastic my life has changed in just a few short years, I am amazed. I don't think it would have happened had it not been for my illnesses and a couple of close-call accidents.

If you're having health issues or seem to be having a lot of accidents, stop, slow down for a minute, and pay attention. These things are usually a sign that you need to make some sort of change. It doesn't mean you have to be drastic and quit your job or get a divorce, but it might mean you just need a new way of thinking or learn about new ways to manage stress or heal your body.

For me, at least at this time in my life, meditation beats out medication, hands down! But, it does take a lot of work and self-discipline. No one can do it for you. There's no pill. You have to show up. Every day. But, I am willing and so it works for me. If you're on meds, but looking for more options, give meditation a try. You can do it while on the meds so there's no harm in trying!

Certified Meditation Teacher, Ruth Stender, helps people create peace and wellness through easy-to-use meditation techniques. Integrating her various roles--entrepreneur, mother, wife, writer, volunteer, teacher, yogini--Ruth's ability to connect with others reaches far and wide. Drawing on twenty-three years in the business world--and understanding that a company's success is achieved through happy and healthy employees--Ruth also offers meditation classes for the workplace; helping to reduce stress and improve morale, concentration, creativity, teamwork, and ultimately, the bottom line!

http://www.seattleenergymedicine.com

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