July 12, 2009 at 7:08 pm #31895
MEDITATION SWITCHES ON DISEASE FIGHTING GENES
Family health Guide
Researchers attribute these changes to a phenomenon they call the
Relaxation Effect. The researchers compared the genetic profile of
individuals who were long-term practitioners of relaxation methods such as
yoga and meditation to a control group of individuals who were not
In the words of Dr Herbert Benson, who led the research group at the Harvard
Medical School, We found a range of disease fighting genes that were active
in the relaxation practitioners but not active in the control group.
Interestingly, in as little as two months after the control group began
meditating, their genetic profile changed to resemble those of the
In a separate study conducted by Dr Dean Ornish and co-workers, men
diagnosed with low-risk prostate cancer were asked to incorporate positive
lifestyle changes as a potential treatment for their disease, as they had
opted not to undergo conventional treatment. The researchers conducted two
prostate biopsies on each individual, one before and one three months after
incorporation of changes such as following a plant-based diet, exercise,
stress management techniques such as meditation, and participating in a
support group. They reported that the biopsy samples collected
post-lifestyle change had a different gene expression pattern with various
disease-promoting genes switched off, and various protective genes turned
It seemed that Drs Benson and Ornish had hit upon a treatment that came with
huge benefits minus the usual side effects.
Meditation, Whats that?
Meditation is a term coined to encompass a variety of practices that help
you focus your attention and control your thoughts. The origins of
meditation can be traced to the Eastern world, where people have been
practising this art for thousands of years. Broadly, there are two types of
meditation. Mindfulness meditation where the meditator focuses all attention
on the flow of breath in and out of the body, and transcendental meditation
which makes use of a repetitive word or sound to prevent thoughts from
entering the mind, both ultimately leading to a state of relaxed alertness.
Best of all, you can spend as little as 10 minutes meditating and still reap
Several studies designed specifically to understand the beneficial effects
of meditation have shown variously that meditation helps to reverse heart
disease, reduce pain, lessen chronological ageing, reduce blood pressure,
fight inflammation, decrease anxiety, and control asthma.
Researchers studying the effect of meditation on atherosclerosis (a
condition that increases the risk of cardiovascular disease) in the
African-American population reported that those who had practiced meditation
for 69 months potentially had an 11% decrease in the risk of heart attacks
and up to a 15% decrease in the risk of stroke. A separate study showed that
cancer patients who practised meditation for as little as 7 weeks were
significantly less depressed and anxious than their counterparts who did not
meditate. Meditators also reported increased energy levels and lesser
cardiac and gastrointestinal problems than nonmeditators.
Its tough to believe isnt it, that such a diverse range of diseases can be
helped by a single technique? How can one explain it? Meditation has been
shown to increase alpha waves (relaxed brain waves) and decrease production
of the stress hormone cortisol. It appears that a lot of the positive
physical changes associated with meditation have their roots in stress
Stress, the Culprit?
The effects of stress on heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen consumption,
immunity and brain activity are well documented. While short-term stress
seems to boost immunity, prolonged increases in levels of cortisol can
suppress your immune system and decrease the number of brain cells,
impairing your memory. Stress can also increase your susceptibility to
cardiac disease and stroke.
Evolutionarily, the fight or flight stress response was designed to
protect us from any dangers that we were faced with. When activated, the
fight or flight response causes a surge of adrenaline and other stress
hormones to pump through our body, and helps us either flee from the danger
we face, or fight it. However, a cumulative buildup of stress hormones is
harmful. This buildup of hormones is responsible for various hormonal
disorders like depression and anxiety, and immune disorders like infection
and allergies. Meditation has been shown to benefit by helping to bring down
levels of the stress hormones in a nutshell, thats how it works!
Conditions Affected by Meditation
– Pain: There is a huge body of research work indicating that meditation can
reduce chronic pain. One notable study conducted at the Texas Tech
University found that meditation in conjunction with traditional medicine
enhances the effectiveness of western medical treatment. In another study
published in the Journal of Behavioural Medicine, patients sufferring from
backache, chronich migraine and tension headaches, were able to lessen or
even stop their pain medication.
– Anxiety and Depression: Since the early sixties, scientists have
speculated that meditation improves mental functioning. Dr Benson reports
that meditation decreases oxygen consumption, heart rate, respiratory rate,
and blood pressure, and increases the intensity of alpha, theta, and delta
brain waves the opposite of the physiological changes that occur during
the stress response.
– Infertility: An Italian team of researchers found that increased levels of
stress are associated with infertility. Meditation, by stimulating the
pituitary gland that is responsible for regulating female reproductive
hormones, was able to help with infertility issues.
– Inflammation: Meditation has also been shown to slow the heart rate by
sending signals through the vagus nerve. Those very signals, researchers
speculate, can also dampen the immune response, helping individuals ease
symptoms of inflammatory diseases like arthritis, asthma and eczema.
– Diabetes: Meditation also aids in controlling blood sugar levels.
Researchers at the University of Virginia have shown that following
meditation, the reduced stress levels correlate with a decrease in blood
– Hypertension: Besides its role as a stress buster, meditation also reduces
blood pressure and contributes to the overall reduction in risk of
Meditation is not just a way for us to get in touch with ourselves and calm
a busy mind. It appears that meditation, by improving our spiritual and
mental health, is also responsible for our physical and genetic health.
4. Mind and Body by Priya D. Lal. Published by Gyan Books, 2002
For information on health insurance visit:July 12, 2009 at 7:58 pm #31896July 13, 2009 at 2:19 pm #31898
They should be careful or they may just end up sounding like DNA activation new age channeled info. 🙂 A change in consciousness is a change in body they are one in the same. Sages have reported the changes in chemistry as there consciousness changes such as taste and smells. This is to say they have become less resistant to there true being.
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