The Sajdah is a very unique stance that occurs thirty-four times throughout the day in obligatory prayers (excluding sunnah and vitr).
The Holy Prophet has said “the nearest a servant comes to his Lord is when he is prostrating himself, so make supplication.” 24
If attention is given, we can see that the Sajdah is also filled with biological changes that occur in the human body that provide medical benefits.
Firstly, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that the human body goes through various electro-static charges in the course of the day when it comes in contact with different objects. This occurs due to different electrical gradients within objects that come in contact with our skin. These objects pass on electrons to the body. These electrons are then gradually super-saturated in the central nervous system and need discharging because ‘excessive static electricity often results in anxiety, headache , chest tightness , shortness of breath and cough’ .25
Now, one common way to discharge objects or prevent the build-up of electrostatic charges is ‘Grounding’. Take for example a three pin plug; it has three pins, one which is live the second which is neutral and a third for grounding (in other words to prevent the accumulation of extra electrons). In the same manner, when the forehead and hands and feet are placed onto the floor during Sajdah, all the excessive electrons which had negatively charged the body are released to the earth (which has a lower electrical gradient). Thus, Sajdah continuously prevents the onset of ailments throughout the day.
Sajdah is the only position where the brain becomes lower than the heart and at this point blood gushes towards the head without having to work against the force of gravity. Even if one is lying down, this full force gush of blood to the brain cannot be achieved. Hence, at the Sajdah position the brain’s blood circulation is improved which provides an increased amount of nutrients and oxygenated blood that removes mental stress and tiredness.
To sum up how an increased blood flow to the brain helps, I would like to quote science daily ;
“A steady, healthy flow of blood to the brain achieves two things. First, the blood brings oxygen, glucose and other nutrients to the brain, which is vital for the brain’s health. Second, the blood washes away brain metabolic wastes such as amyloid-beta protein released into the brain’s blood vessels. Amyloid-beta protein has been implicated in the development of Alzheimer’s disease.”26
The Balasana (child’s pose) in yoga is almost the same as a Sajdah. The Balasana has many medical benefits, for example; 27
- Releases tension in the back
- Recommended for fatigue and dizziness
- Flexes the body’s internal organs keeping them supple
- lengthens and strengthens the spine
- Relieves neck and lower back pain when performed with the head and torso supported (a lot like Sajdah)
- Stretches muscles tendons and ligaments in the knee joints
- Encourages strong and steady breathing
The weight of the upper torso is mainly supported by the hands during Sajdah with the forearms being raised off the ground. The Holy Prophet also has stated that one should raise his forearms off the floor. He said,
“Do the prostration properly, and do not put your forearms flat with elbows touching the ground like a dog.” 28
This position therefore puts pressure on the triceps, forearm muscles and the pectoral major/minor allowing muscle to tone, especially when one pushes up to the ‘Jalsa’ position.The shoulder joints are also nourished with blood during this movement.
24 Sahih Muslim- The book of Prayer, No. 979
26 Science daily 12.April.2011
28 Bukhari Chapter 10, The Book of Times of the Prayers, No.509