Ananda Meditation Teacher Training graduate Dr. Michelle Dossett describes her experience teaching meditation: I know that the patients who go through our program at the Institute often have significant improvements in their symptoms (e.g., significant reductions in anxiety, depression, blood pressure, chronic pain, tinnitus, menopause symptoms, improvements in sleep and fatigue), but it’s rare for me to hear the follow-up details on an individual patient basis.
Two stories about responses to learning to practice meditation do stand out. The first – a woman I saw some years ago, who had a condition called hyper-IgE syndrome that caused her body to over-produce antibodies causing allergic reaction-type symptoms. She had terribly itchy skin that was red and leathery from chronic scratching, and the itching was keeping her up at night. Her IgE level was over 30,000. After two months in the mind-body program, her IgE levels had dropped to 20,000 and her sleep and itching had improved, and continued to improve over time.
More recently, I saw a man who had significant job-related stress that was causing panic attacks and insomnia. He saw me for a consultation and started practicing meditation right away. When he came back a week later to see the nurse practitioner I had referred him to, he was no longer having panic attacks and was sleeping better.
I am currently in the midst of running a meditation group for doctors and nurse practitioners at the hospital, and they have been profoundly affected by the program. The comments I’ve heard include noticing that they are more present and curious with their patients, more present with their children; they are noticing things around them more, and have more appreciation of life in general.