Congressman: Add meditation to healthcare bill

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) says he's found a cost effective way to address chronic pain, stress, and other illnesses: meditation.

Ryan is urging policymakers to consider adding "mindfulness education"--learning to reduce one's own stress level--to healthcare reform legislation.

"Every day, I meditate for at least 45 minutes before leaving home in the morning," Ryan wrote on his website. "I find it makes me a better listener, and my concentration is sharper. I get less distracted when I'm reading. It's like you see through the clutter of life and can penetrate to what's really going on."

At a hearing last week, Ryan asked HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to keep in mind the positive effects of mindfulness when re-working the nation's healthcare system.

"When we have these discussions about healthcare, there's always an issue we never really talk about, and it's the issue of stress," Ryan said. "A lot of us are seeing it in our Congressional districts because of the economic situation we're dealing with. And the issue of stress leads to, I think, we know, increased illness."

Sebelius agreed that the technique was useful as a form of preventive medicine that could reduce the need for more costly treatments.

"I think it's a prevention strategy that I know has the potential of paying huge dividends," Sebelius said.