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Meditation and Me

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Chiropractic Care and Meditation

When you begin a meditation practice, it's very possible that your focus and concentration will be affected by various bodily aches and pains. After all, when is the last time you attempted to sit quietly for five minutes at a time? Many of us unconsciously hold tension in large muscle groups such as those surrounding the neck and shoulders. We may feel pain in these areas once we've eliminated our usual distractions and are attempting to sit quietly.

Chiropractic care can help address these aches and pains, regardless of location. By addressing the likely source of these problems, that is, mechanical stresses and strains in the spinal column, regular chiropractic care enables large muscle groups to relax and do the job they were designed to do. Regular chiropractic care helps muscle tightness and muscle tension to resolve, removing an uncomfortable source of distraction from your valuable meditation time and helping make your meditation practice fruitful and enjoyable.

For many of us, the practice of meditation seems like a totally foreign notion. In an era of full-time, morning-to-night distractions and distractibility, the concept of quietly sitting with nothing else to do seems impossibly ridiculous. Why would anyone do that, we ask, as we text message with one hand and channel surf with the other. 

Of course, this lack of ability to pay attention and focus for more than 15 seconds at a time is at the core of many of our health issues. Learning how to meditate directly addresses this problem, providing training in developing concentration skills. But meditation offers an abundance of additional benefits, many of great significance to our overall health and well-being.

Years of research have documented the profound benefits of meditation, including reductions in elevated blood pressure levels, stress reduction, pain management,1 and even rewiring of neurologic connections in the brain.2,3 Thus, there are many reasons to begin meditation practice. The key question is how to get started.

Learning how to meditate is actually straightforward. There are many types of meditation practice. Some utilize a mantra, a silently repeated short, meaningless phrase. Others involve specific breathing methods. Others focus on the breath itself without utilizing specific instructions on how to breathe.

This latter method is that employed in Zen meditation. You sit comfortably in a quiet space, ideally facing a blank wall, situated approximately two feet from the wall. (Your specific situation may vary. The important point is to be in a quiet space without distractions of people or technology.) You focus on your breath, seeing your breath go up your spine in the back and then down your spine in the front. After observing one cycle of breathing, you silently count "one." Continue to observe your breathing cycle, adding to your count with each completed cycle. "Two." "Three." When you've completed ten cycles, go back to the numerical beginning and count "one" on the next cycle.

But if your mind wanders (as it inevitably will) and begins to think about whatever, when you eventually notice that you've lost your focus, go back to the beginning and count "one" again.

The "practice" part of meditation relates to practicing paying attention, paying attention to the breath. Your mind wanders, eventually you notice this, and you return to the breath. That's all there is. There is no requirement that you need to stay focused. A person is not a "bad meditator" when they find they are continually thinking of other things. The power is in the practice itself. By actually sitting down to meditate, by actually setting aside that time to be "still", you will derive unexpected benefits. And the more you practice, the more your practice becomes a habit, the more you will gain.

What is a recommended length for meditation sessions? There are no rules. The key is to begin, and then to continue. Starting with a five-minute session, twice a day, is a very good beginning. If you wish, you could build up to two 30-minute sessions per day. Again, your meditation practice is not a contest. What works for you will work for you.

1Marchand WR: Mindfulness-based stress reduction, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, and zen meditation for depression, anxiety, pain, and psychological distress. J Psychiatr Pract 18(4):233-252, 2012

2Hasenkamp W, Barsalou LW: Effects of meditation experience on functional connectivity of distributed brain networks. Front Hum Neurosci 6:38, 2012 [Epub 2012 Mar 1]

3Brewer JA, et al: Meditation experience is associated with differences in default mode network activity and connectivity. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 108(50):20254-20259, 2011

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Testimonial

I slipped on ice in December, landing hard on my behind. I was in excruciating pain and could barely move. It was a Saturday night but I called the office and left a message (new patient, too, found them on Google.) I received a call back first thing Monday morning, they got me right in that day, and I just completed my 3- month treatment plan. I feel so much better and am happy to have found Dr. Ide and his staff.

  ~Amy Hawker

Dr. Ide and his staff are awesome. I had all but given up and I saw his ad. I am s happy to be out of partial pain and I have only gone twice, I cannot wait for the end results. Just to be pain free. Dr. Ide, I thank you so much.

   ~ Patsy Dimond-Spencer

Dr. Ide and his staff have given me my life back. The day I called to make my first appointment I had been suffering from a migraine and severe neck pain for 6 days. This was also after receiving multiple pain injections from my primary physician with no relief. His staff not only verified my insurance was accepted at this location before even offering me an appointment time (which multiple offices will not do this) over the phone but I was able to make an appointment for the same day. Dr. Ide took the time to obtain pertinent patient history and not only explain but he also showed me on my x-rays why I was experiencing pain. He addressed the root of the problem instead of pushing prescriptions to subside your symptoms. HE discussed my POA in detail and reiterated why finishing therapy and continuing home therapy was important. I was hesitant and nervous about my first adjustment but again, he took the time to walk me through each step. Paired with my weekly adjustments I also receive massage therapy. Monica, the massage therapist is incredible. She takes the time to ask specific questions before the massage to ensure she provides the best care possible. Kasey, Dr. Ide's assistant is extremely personable and continues to make sure you feel comfortable throughout your visit. The front staff also provides a warm and welcoming environment. Within my first month of treatment, I'm able to go das without a headache now and I have reduced the frequency of my pain medication. I highly recommend Dr. Ide and his staff!

    ~Leah Craig

Very friendly staff and knowledgeable doctor! After doing a 3 month program, I no longer have daily headaches, back pain or neck pain. Most doctor's adjust your back and send you on your way - Dr. Ide makes sure to turn it into a lifestyle change by improving your posture and fixing any issues you may have. I would definitely recommend him over any chiropractor.

    ~Lauren Dunigan

I always have good service and leave feeling good! The people are nice and all know my name. I really like how they do business for senior citizens... that's a big plus!
~Nancy Matson

Very extensive in the examination. Not like other chiropractors I'd seen who just do a quick adjustment. They diagnosed the problem and are working to correct it with me. They have even went so far as to work out payment arguments for the things my insurance wouldn't cover.

    ~Brandon Ogle

I had neck and shoulder pain since 2010. Ever since I started going to him I have felt better and better!

    ~Andrel Jacobs 

I had ankle problems all my life in my left foot. Dr. Ide adjusted my ankle for me and within one adjustment my ankle felt the best ever. Thanks Dr. Ide!

              A.H.
              Fenton, MI

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