Meditation is a self-directed or guided practice for relaxing the body and calming the mind. Most meditative techniques have come to the West from Eastern religious practices, particularly India, China, and Japan, but can be found in all cultures of the world. Until recently, the primary purpose of meditation has been religious, although its health benefits have long been recognized. It is now being further explored as a way of reducing stress on both mind and body.
Studies have found that regular meditation can reduce healthcare use; increase longevity and quality of life; reduce chronic pain; reduce anxiety; reduce high blood pressure; reduce serum cholesterol level; reduce substance abuse; increase intelligence-related measures; reduce post-traumatic stress syndrome in Vietnam veterans; and lower blood cortisol levels initially brought on by stress.