Many people suffer from dementia. And if you’re one of them or you care for someone with dementia, you know what it’s like. An inability to think straight or remember things can seriously reduce our quality of life.
Fortunately, it is possible to use meditation for dementia and alzheimers. Research shows that mindfulness practices can improve quality of life for people with these conditions.
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Meditation For Dementia
- Sit comfortably with good posture. Make sure you are relaxed.
- Take one deep breath in to a count of four. Pause momentarily. Now breathe out to a count of four. Pause. And again inhale.
- Watch your breath move around your body as you breathe in the way described above.
- Count ten breaths. Then take a moment and reflect on how you are feeling. Then start from the beginning, counting another ten breaths.
- Aim to simply observe the breath, without judging anything.
- Continue for ten minutes
A healthy lifestyle helps with dementia and Alzheimer’s according to Help Guide. For instance, a healthy diet, regular exercise, and social contact can all help. Part of a healthy lifestlye is tending to the mind. Meditation is a great way of doing so.
In particular, research shows that Integrated Body Mind Therapy can help alleviate the signs and symptoms of dementia.
Dr. Kim Innes, a professor at West Virginia University School of Public Health in Morgantown, led the study. She and her colleagues assessed a group of older adults with impaired memory. She instructed the adults to meditate to music or to do a simple yoga meditation called Kirtan Kriya for twelve minutes per day for 12 weeks.
Dr. Innes took blood samples before the study and after the 3 months of therapy. The results showed changes in certain markers related to cell aging and Alzheimer’s disease. The markers included telomere length, telomerase activity, and levels of certain beta-amyloid peptides.
Interestingly, the group that had practised Kirtan Kriya had better results than the group that had listened to music.
Research by Gaëlle Desbordes at Boston University shows that meditation helps with people with dementia to improve their memory.
In a study, Desbordes taught participants meditation. When compared to a control group, the meditators experienced heightened activity in the right amygdala. This is a part of the brain involved with memory processing.
A study by Boston University shows that meditation also strengthens the cerebral cortex. The cerebral cortex is involved with concentration, learning, and memory.
Plus, it increases blood flow to the brain, and this helps to alleviate the symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Decision Making & Clarity of Mind
Meditation improves clarity of mind and enhances our ability to make decisions.
Meditation relaxes the mind and reduces the effects of information overload, which is one of the most common causes of poor decision making and brain fog.
It also strengthens the cingulate cortex, orbitofrontal cortex, and ventromedial prefrontal cortex. These are the main parts of the brain used in decision making. [READ: Meditation For Decision Making]
As you can see, there are significant cognitive benefits of meditation. And many of them relate to dementia and Alzheimer’s.
The cognitive benefits of meditation have been proven through significant scientific research. And many of these benefits relate to dementia.
Overall, meditation helps with dementia and Alzheimer’s by strengthening the brain. In turn, this improves clarity of mind, thinking, decision making, memory and ultimately, quality of life.
Paul Harrison BSc is a qualified meditation teacher who believes in genuine, authentic meditation. He has more than 15 years experience in teaching meditation and mindfulness both to individuals and to corporations and is the author of four books on meditation. He has been featured in Psychology Today, Breathe Magazine, Healthline, Psych Central and Lion’s Roar.
Paul studied meditation in beautiful Oxford, UK, and Hamilton Ontario Canada, and earned his degree at Staffordshire University.
Paul’s biggest inspirations include Thich Nhat Hanh, Jon Kabat Zinn, and Jack Kornfield.
“My goal is to provide the most authentic meditation sessions so you can harness the power of your own mind for personal transformation” – Paul Harrison