According to ABC News, recent research shows meditation’s soothing effects can be detected in arterial walls and in the brain. Meditation was once considered outside the mainstream. Today more insurers, like Blue Cross/Blue Shield in Massachusetts and a number of other insurers in Oregon and California are paying for meditation training—both as a form of medication and as preventive medicine. Dr. Robert Thurman of Columbia University says “Meditation is the act of disidentifying from inner thought flow and concentrating on calming and healing.  Through meditation, doctors help patients detach from their pain and anxieties and cultivate a real connection between the mind and the body.” Practices vary, but usually include sitting comfortably, with eyes closed, spine straight and attention focused on the breath or a mantra to maintain a detached, calm awareness of thoughts and sensations. Physicians are increasingly referring patients to meditation programs to treat many diseases, including heart disease, anxiety and panic, job or family stress, chronic pain, fatigue, AIDS, cancer, HIV infection, migraine and other types of headaches, high blood pressure, sleep disturbances, skin disorders and type A behaviors.