1. Unit 5 Project
Introduction to CAM Therapies
Lesson Summary: This lesson discusses what meditation is and what it is used
for. It explains the benefits of meditation in stress relief and pain management.
Included are 2 Meditations I wrote for another class as examples.
Dispelling the Myth of Meditation
How does Meditation Benefit the Average Person? – One of the most
interesting but inaccurate descriptions I have heard is that meditation leads to
hypnosis. As a result, the subject is then “programed” to do whatever the facilitator
wants them to. If used incorrectly, this may be the case. However, Meditation and
hypnosis are similar but still two different practices. Meditation, when taught and
used properly, helps the person to calm down an over stimulated brain, which leads
to stress and stress based illness, such as heart attack, or stroke. There are even
some suggestions that it can also lead to obesity for people who have the habit of
eating whenever confronted with emotion.
Meditation is a very cheap way to learn self-control and relieve stress,
releasing natural chemicals in the brain called endorphins, which help the over-all
feeling of wellness and happiness. The effects may be described as resembling the
first time you take a bite of your first dessert, that feeling of absolute pleasure. By
learning a few simple techniques, one can learn to regulate their heartbeat or
breathing and can also cope better with everyday stressors, such as work or
financial issues. In this world we live in, where technology is a large part of our
lives, and where people are overwhelming themselves working more than 40 hours
a week because they just have to finish a project, or just have to impress the boss,
humanity has dramatically increased the chances of having heart disease, or other
related illnesses from over work. Heart Disease is currently the number one killer
in America, followed only by Smoking and Obesity. This is the area that needs to
2. be focused on. We have to ask ourselves, how do we deal with the feeling of stress
without becoming murdering psychopaths? That is where meditation can come in.
Meditation does not have a strict time table, such as working out for a
hundred and fifty minutes a week. It can be as long or as short as the individual
needs it to be. It can be used 10 minutes a day or, if needed, up to an hour. It really
depends on the individuals time constraints. By allowing our thoughts to flow
freely without attaching emotion to them, we are able to clear our thoughts and
look at a problem from a different prospective, or solve a problem with a clearer
head, or just make it possible for us to sleep instead of being up all night pacing
Because of the effectiveness of Meditation, it also has practical use in pain
management. By training yourself to relax, you are relaxing muscles and tendons
that are reacting to increased nerve stimulus. Once meditation is put into place, the
pain is decreased because the nerve stimulus is decreased, and the muscle or
tendon that is injured is relaxed. This is akin to the doctor putting you to sleep for
surgery or the dentist numbing your teeth before doing any work on them. An
example of this type of meditation is the Lamaze breathing that is taught to
expectant mothers to use during labor and delivery. It has been shown that panic
during an injury stimulates the fight or flight reflex, which causes over-stimulation
in the affected region. By learning to relax, the pain is not as intense and healing
can be facilitated.
Types of Meditation- There are two types of meditation commonly used in
order to de-stress. Both are effective when used and it is personal preference on
which is best for you. They are Guided Imagery and Visualization
Guided Imagery- In guided imagery, a facilitator walks the individual
through a series of breathing and images in order to help them to relax. In this
way, the person does not have to think too hard about what they are trying to
imagine and get annoyed when they are not able to do so because their mind is
going a thousand miles a minute. This can be used in a therapist office, or
recordings played at home.
Visualization- This technique can either be done with a facilitator or by
yourself at home. The idea is to visualize a safe place in order to overcome stress
3. or pain. It can be done if you are in a stress filled environment in order to help you
to breath and think about a situation calmly.
Either of these techniques can be triggered either consciously or
unconsciously, depending on how often a person practices these methods. They
can be the first go to when there is so much stress (or other strong emotions) that a
person cannot breath or effectively deal with an issue.
Examples of Meditation(demonstration)-
Guided Meditation- when employing this type pf meditation, you should
play a recording that represents the area you feel the safest.
Place the CD/MP3 player somewhere near you.
Start the sounds playing.
Counting down slowly from ten, Breathe deep and release, allowing each of
your body parts to relax with each breath.
Begin to visualize a woodland path. Feel the sun on your face, feel the
breeze as it wafts past you. Hear the birds in the trees and the stream burbling next
to the path. Hear the crunch of the stones and leaves under your feet.
As you begin walking down the path, notice the loamy smell from the trees
that are aging, and the dirt and soil under foot.
Begin to allow yourself to become immersed with all the sounds and smells
around you. Continue to breathe deeply, taking the smells into your body with each
Continue down the path until you reach the spot where the brook meets the
pond. You notice a bench sitting at this point, so you decide to sit and listen for a
Watch as the fish jump out of the pond to catch the small midges that are
flying around this spot; Listen to the toads croak in deep bass; Feel the breezes as
they cross the pond. Allow yourself to become immersed in these sensations.
4. After a while, you get up and proceed back up the path that you took to get
here. With each step, begin to allow yourself to become one with the environment
you are actually in. When you reach the head of the path, open your eyes slowly
and feel the natural energy that is still running through your body. (C. Grothe,
2014, Guided Meditation)”
Visualization- This one is most beneficial when you use a focusing object,
such as a crystal or, in this demonstration, the flame on a candle. You can play soft
music in the background or not, depending on your preference.
“Deep Breathing Technique:
Find a comfortable position to sit in, in a quiet room, without distractions. Shut off
all electronic devices.
Light a candle and place it in front of you.
While focusing on the candle flame, slowly breathe in, hold for 2 beats, and then
breathe out. Repeat while allowing yourself to loosen your hard grip on everything
around you except the candle flame.
Allow your thoughts to come and go as they please, without giving them more than
a cursory look. Continue to breathe in, and then out, sending errant thoughts out
with the outbreath.
Watch the candle flame as it grows and dances. While you are breathing in and out,
watch how the candle reacts to you.
Continue to watch the flame. When you breathe in, notice the changes to the flame
as it seems to grow. While breathing out, watch how the flame dances from the out
Now, take a deep in-breathe. Hold while you are holding the candle flame in your
vision. Watch how it seems to stand still. Try to follow the flame down to the final
color of the flame, in this case it should be blue. Now release the breath.
Breathe in again, and hold the flame again. Imagine that flame is entering into you
and is burning away worries, fears, stressors from the day, and anything that you
feel is holding you back.
5. Release the breath. As you do so, allow the ashes of these thoughts to exit with the
Continue to breathe in and out, feeling the rise and fall of your chest and abdomen.
Focus only on the flame until you feel that you are calm and in control.
Now begin to allow yourself to breathe natural, slowly pulling your awareness
away from the candle flame.
When you have fully come back to your surrounds, observe how you are feeling
(C. Grothe, 2014, Deep Breathing Technique).”
Grothe, Cynthia K. (2014) Guided Imagery. Kaplan University- Creating Health
and Wellness class assignment.
Grothe, Cynthia K. (2014) Deep Breathing Technique. Kaplan University-
Creating Health and Wellness class assignment.