Can Meditation Ward Off Flu?

David Masters

Meditation, exercise could help ward off colds, flu

If you resolve to meditate or exercise this year — and follow-through — you might reduce your chance of getting a cold or the flu, according to a UW-Madison study.

The study divided 390 adults into three groups. One group took an eight-week meditation class, another group took an eight-week exercise class, and the third group did neither. All received flu shots.

From fall to spring, the meditation group had 112 respiratory infection episodes, for which they missed 73 days of work. The exercise group had 120 episodes and missed 82 days of employment. The control group had 134 episodes and missed 105 days of work.

Based on those measures, along with the length of the illnesses and the number of health care visits, the meditation group fared about 17 percent better, and the exercise group did about 15 percent better than the control group.

What does a study like this mean to you? You know that exercise is good for you, but is it in a crowded gym on metal machines; or in a room in your house; or out in the clean air on open walkways and parks?

And relaxing your mind certainly has value in this complex age, but are you to sit in a dark room policing the thoughts in your head; or practice some rigid breathing method to wash away thoughts; or, maybe, to sit quietly and watch what you cannot control pass across the screen of your mind?

“Meditation gives you so little to do that your ego may find it difficult, even unacceptable.”

The key to a healthy life is finding a wisdom that leads you through the trials and certain tribulation with no fear—which makes anger useless.

Meditation is a very simple process; too simple for words. Meditation should be simple, and it gradually becomes even more simple. It should never become more complex, or where do you end?

Meditation gives you so little to do that your ego may find it difficult, even unacceptable. Its simplicity is unbearable to an ego that thrives on challenge. The results, on the other hand, are so profound that we tend to interrupt the process and spoil everything by trying to explain it, take credit for the results, or analyze it and make it work.

What we should do as the result of meditation is to observe, wonder, and just simply begin to believe the marvelous world of effects taking shape before our very eyes.

How Your Mind Can Keep You Well, 1978, Roy Masters