The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below. Addiction, allergies, angina (chest pain), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), blood vessel disorders, breast milk abnormalities, bulimia nervosa, cardiac syndrome X, caregiver training (for stress), chronic diseases, cognitive function, concentration enhancement, coping skills, coronary artery disease prevention, diabetes, diarrhea, drug abuse, emotional disorders, emphysema, end-of-life care, fatigue in cancer patients, fear of open spaces, gag reflex abnormalities, gastrointestinal disorders, grief, habitual responding, heart attack prevention, heart rhythm abnormalities, high cholesterol, improved mental clarity, infertility, irritable bowel syndrome, longevity, low blood cortisol levels, memory enhancement, menopausal symptoms, migraine, mood changes, multiple sclerosis, muscle tension, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), pain, panic attacks, panic disorder, Parkinson's disease, peripheral neuropathy (in HIV), peripheral vascular disease, premenstrual syndrome, psychosis, Raynaud's disease, reducing oxygen consumption, relaxation, slowing the heart rate, stroke prevention, suicide prevention, tension headache, trauma, upset stomach.
Many complementary techniques are practiced by healthcare professionals with formal training, in accordance with the standards of national organizations. However, this is not universally the case, and adverse effects are possible. Due to limited research, in some cases only limited safety information is available.
Most forms of meditation are regarded as being safe in healthy individuals. There are rare reports of adverse effects in people with underlying mental illnesses, including episodes of mania or depersonalization. Some publications warn that intensive meditation or retreats may lead to disorientation, anxiety, or depression. People with psychiatric disorders should consult with their primary mental healthcare professional(s) before starting a program of meditation, and should explore how meditation may or may not fit in with their current treatment plan.
An increased risk of seizure has been reported in a poorly described study, and therefore people at risk of seizures should speak with their primary healthcare professional before starting a meditation program.
The practice of meditation should not delay the time to diagnosis or treatment with more proven techniques or therapies and should not be used as the sole approach to illnesses.
This patient information is based on a professional level monograph edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com): Wendy Chao, PhD (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); William Collinge, PhD, MPH (Collinge & Associates); Dawn Costa, BA, BS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Shaina Tanguay-Colucci, BS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Catherine Ulbricht, PharmD (Massachusetts General Hospital); Wendy Weissner, BA (Natural Standard Research Collaboration).