Meditate On This For A While

flutishpaintingIf you gave me a word association test a few years ago and said meditation, I would respond with the words transcendental, love child, and new age.  Times have changed, however, and meditation is no longer the sole province of Buddhists or yoga devotees.

Facing a major abdominal surgery, and being a type A, overly analytical person and perpetual worrier, I went online to extensively research the surgery and recovery process in the weeks before the procedure.  While researching I stumbled across a website ( that described the efficacy of using meditation to relax during and after surgery in order to reduce pain and promote healing.  Totally stressed out by then and having  nothing to lose, I decided to try the technique.  I discussed using a meditation tape during surgery with eyesclosedmy doctor and found out that although it was still unusual, there was another area hospital that was experimenting with the technique and she had no objection to my using meditation during surgery.  I bought a meditation tape and practiced using it for two weeks prior to the surgery.  The one I used had soothing music in the background and a person talking you through relaxation and healing imagery.  I started to listen to the tape while I was waiting to go into the operating room and kept the headphones on with the tape repeating continuously during the surgical procedure (with general anesthesia).  My doctor ladymeditatestold me that the procedure took less time than anticipated in part because my muscles were relaxed which made it easier for the surgeon.  While in the hospital I continued using the tape and required less pain medication than usual and was released in just a day and a half instead of the anticipated three days.  My recovery after I returned home also progressed faster than my doctor expected.  By then I was convinced that the mind can influence how the body functions, a concept that has since been generally accepted by the medical community and discussed in numerous major publications. 

But the story does not end there.  I still meditate, although I have traded in my first tape for a different version on CD that I like better.  If I can’t fall asleep, I use it to relax, and it works for me every time.  I am usually asleep before I am half way through the CD.  I have also used it to relieve the pain of tendonitis and other minor ailments. 

Hundreds of meditation tapes are readily available online at sites such as Amazon.  If you don’t like one try another.  You don’t have to be an aging hippy to meditate.  What was once “out there” is now mainstream.

Susan Harrison is an attorney by training, home remodeler by accident, and a writer by choice.

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