It has been proven that meditation helps you lose weight, but how? By regulating our cortisol levels and and promoting a healthy state of mind, meditation is a powerful tool to help you shed those unwanted pounds.

Meditation helps to Regulate Cortisol

Cortisol is an important hormone released by the adrenal glands. It helps to regulate the body’s metabolism, especially when we are under stressful situations. Levels of cortisol rise during tension-filled times which is a natural part of our body’s “fight-or-flight” response to stress. It prepares the body by flooding it with glucose (blood sugar) and inhibiting insulin secretion, thereby preventing the glucose from being stored and making it available for immediate use by the body. After the stressful situation subsides, hormone levels return to normal.

However, when we are experiencing chronic stress, this can lead to excess levels of cortisol which can cause weight gain. High levels of cortisol are known to promote storage of fat within visceral fat cells, those located under the muscle and deep in the abdomen. Chronically high levels of cortisol result in consistently high levels of blood sugar (along with insulin suppression) which leads to cells that are starved of glucose and crying out for energy. This scenario sends hunger signals to the brain which can cause overeating and any unused glucose is eventually stored as fat.

In a 2013 study conducted by the University of California, Davis (Saron et al), researchers found that mindfulness meditation had cut cortisol levels by more than half. Another study conducted in Thailand (Turakitwanakan et al) concurred that mindfulness meditation lowers the cortisol levels in the blood suggesting that it can lower stress and may decrease the risk of diseases that arise from stress such as psychiatric disorder, peptic ulcer and migraine.

Meditation helps to decrease Binge Eating

For many people going through emotional challenges such as depression, loneliness, or boredom, they often turn to food to help appease the emotional emptiness they are feeling inside. Comfort foods such as sweets, cakes, and pastries might make us feel ‘good’ for a couple of hours, but when the sugar crash hits, the desire to eat more sugary foods increases. Thus the vicious craving cycle begins, and the junk food has done nothing to truly mitigate the emotional distress that triggered the binge eating in the first place.

This is where meditation comes into play as it helps to soothe the stress and anxiety that is associated with our emotional roller coaster rides. Regular meditation increases our Emotional Intelligence (EQ) which means that we can remain more grounded during stressful situations. We can cope better with the demands of our daily life and not get frazzled so easily. When we feel centered and more balanced with our emotions, we make better decisions and are less likely to react with the same binge eating impulse that we did before.

Meditation helps to Combat Food Addiction

The common traits of people with addictive behavior patterns (food, alcohol, drugs, tobacco) include: (1) lack of GABA, (2) beta brainwaves dominate, and (3) dopamine levels rise and crash. The common traits of people who meditate on a regular basis, especially when combined with brainwave entrainment, include: (1) optimal levels of GABA, (2) alpha & theta brainwaves dominate, and (3) dopamine levels increase but remain steady.

When there are optimal levels of GABA and our dopamine levels remain steady, the cravings for sugary food and the tendency to overeat will naturally diminish. Luckily, the science of brainwave entrainment can be used as tool to help steady our levels of GABA and dopamine.

  • Common Traits of People with Addictions
  • Lack of GABA
  • Beta Waves dominate
  • Dopamine levels rise and crash
  • Common Traits of People who Meditate
  • Optimal levels of GABA
  • Alpha & Theta Waves dominate
  • Dopamine levels increase but remain steady

GABA: The calm brain chemical.

Beta Waves: Normal waking consciousness.

Dopamine: The euphoria-producing brain chemical.

 

Susan Kapatoes
C: 508-282-7877
E: susan@inspireyourjourney.com

 

The author, Susan Kapatoes, MHA is the founder and owner of Inspire Your Journey, a holistic wellness company. She is a Wellness Partner with Amare Global, and an Independent Distributor with BEMER Therapy and Healy World.  She lives in Massachusetts.  

References:

Aronson, Dina. “Cortisol – Its Role in Stress, Inflammation, and Indications for Diet Therapy.” Today’s Dietitian, Vol. 11 No. 11 P. 38, Nov. 2009, www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/111609p38.shtml

EOC Institute – Why Mindfulness Meditation Is Such A Powerful Weight Loss Tool (2018). Retrieved from https://eocinstitute.org/meditation/4-ways-meditation-is-the-weight-loss-key-healthy-mind-healthy-body/

Kjaer TW, e. (2002). Increased dopamine tone during meditation-induced change of consciousness. PubMed.  NCBI. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11958969

Turakitwanakan W, e. (2013). Effects of mindfulness meditation on serum cortisol of medical students. J Med Assoc Thai. 2013 Jan;96 Suppl 1: S90-5. PubMed. NCBI. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2372446

Saron, e. (2013). Mindfulness from meditation associated with lower stress hormone. Retrieved from https://www.ucdavis.edu/news/mindfulness-meditation-associated-lower-stress-hormone/

 

 

Reiki (ray-key) is an ancient Japanese healing art that describes a system of tapping into universal life energy through a laying-on-of-hands. The Reiki practitioner acts as a conduit to facilitate this flow of energy and transmitting it through light touch. Reiki treatments are gently balancing and support the well-being of the recipient in a holistic and individualistic way.

The Benefits of Reiki

Relaxation, pain relief, physical healing, and reduced emotional distress are among the benefits attributed to Reiki. This safe and gentle hands-on healing practice was established by Dr. Mikao Usui of Japan and was introduced to the western world in 1980. Since then, Reiki has blossomed all over the world. It has become adaptable in a variety of settings, including the hospital environment where it is utilized to help patients recover from pre- and post-operative stress anxiety.

A Yale University Study

A Yale University research study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology demonstrated that Reiki can benefit heart attack patients. The results showed that Reiki improved the emotional state of patients, thereby improving the quality of recovery and reducing the risk of a second heart attack. The Reiki treatments improved heart rate variability (HRV). Beta blockers are typically used to increase HRV, but they are not tolerated well by some patients. The benefit of the Reiki treatments was comparable to using beta blockers.

Reiki in Mainstream Healthcare

Nurses in Massachusetts are allowed to give Reiki per the Board of Registration in the Nursing’s Advisory Ruling on Complementary Therapies. Reiki is now being offered in the following healthcare facilities in Boston, Massachusetts:


Closing Thoughts

Reiki can benefit people of any age, background, or state of health. Reiki facilitates a deep state of relaxation. It can be used to manage stress and promote well-being. It has become adaptable in a variety of settings, including the clinical environment. Reiki’s current use in mainstream healthcare facilities complements the traditional allopathic healthcare treatments.

 

Susan Kapatoes
C: 508-282-7877
E: susan@inspireyourjourney.com

 

The author, Susan Kapatoes, MHA is the founder of Inspire Your Journey, a holistic wellness company. She is a Wellness Partner with Amare Global, and an Independent Distributor with BEMER Therapy and Healy World.  She lives in Massachusetts.  

 


Research References

Friedman, R. S., Burg, M. M., Miles, P., Lee, F., & Lampert, R. (2010). Effects of Reiki on Autonomic Activity Early After Acute Coronary Syndrome. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 56(12), 995-996. doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2010.03.082

Yale Research Shows Breakthrough Treatment for Heart Patients. (October 2010). Retrieved February 21, 2018, from https://www.newswire.com/yale-research-shows-breakthrough/66374