By January 30, 2014 5 Comments Read More →

New Study: Meditation Alters Genes Rapidly, Triggers Molecular Changes

Flickr - Meditation - Icrontic.comElizabeth Renter, Natural Society
Waking Times

If you are a practitioner of meditation, the results of a new study published in Psychoneuroendocrinology will likely come as no surprise. But for some scientists, the revelation that meditating can actually trigger molecular changes is groundbreaking.

The researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Institute of Biomedical Research in Barcelona, Spain found subjects who partook of 8-hour intensive mindfulness meditation showed significant molecular changes.

A group of experienced meditation practitioners spent an 8-hour day in mindfulness while a control group spent the day in quiet but non-meditative activities. The meditation group experienced genetic changes including reduced levels of inflammatory genes like RIPK2 and COX2, indicating faster recovery from stressful situations.

As Medical News Today reports:

“The extent to which some of the genes were down-regulated was associated with faster cortisol recovery to a social stress test, where participants were challenged to make an impromptu speech or complete mental calculations in front of an audience.”

In other words, the meditation helped participants keep cool under pressure.

“The regulation of HDACs and inflammatory pathways may represent some of the mechanisms underlying the therapeutic potential of mindfulness-based interventions. Our findings set the foundation for future studies to further assess meditation strategies for the treatment of chronic inflammatory conditions,” explained Perla Kaliman, co-author of the study.

Far from the first study on meditation, this is the first to demonstrate molecular changes caused by the age-old practice.

“Our genes are quite dynamic in their expression and these results suggest that the calmness of our mind can actually have a potential influence on their expression,” said Dr. Richard J. Davidson of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds.

Meditation has been used for centuries and longer to assist humankind with their spiritual and health endeavors. In other words, this study is catching up with what many people have known for a long time—that the mind can influence the body.

Other studies have linked meditation practice with stress reduction, IBS and digestive relief, the easing of cold symptoms, and helping to regulate blood pressure. Meditation was even shown to beat morphine in reducing pain in one small study. These studies didn’t explain how the meditation was working, but this most recent one seems to tap a new expanse of potential.

When it comes to the world of science, evidence is king. Anecdotes and surveys that reveal meditation to have physical benefits are not as convincing as genetic proof. Practitioners of meditation may not need that sort of laboratory evidence, but for scientists it provides a foundation of legitimacy for a practice they may have previously doubted.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of WakingTimes or its staff.

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5 Comments on "New Study: Meditation Alters Genes Rapidly, Triggers Molecular Changes"

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  1. Kent Welton says:

    Well, West meets East… finally. Indian civilization has given us the interior science and now we’re proving it in our own way. Three cheers for Patanjali… and these researchers.

    Kent

    • Ria says:

      I wouldn’t say finally. These studies have been done years ago…people were not listening. They are still not listening. We are slow to do what is best for us. Now finally…more people are listening. Good news.

  2. Marlene says:

    It is amazing how science progressed in so many different fields from even the ‘Fifties onwards, yet neglected and blatantly ignored the means humans have within to heal themselves through the correct application of the energy fields derived from the soul. While the East embraced and continued to live by meditation, the West regarded it as paganism and many scientists did not even believe human beings had a soul! However, rather late than never — but that said, want to state that our world and our planet would not be in the tragic mess it currently is, if meditation had been generally accepted as daily practice by all. This would have resulted in presenting humankind with caring, wise and committed leaders with compassion and empathy for every human being on our planet and the ability to cherish with deep respect its rich and diverse natural bounty of God given wealth.

  3. anonymous says:

    It wasn’t the West that rejected it – it was
    straightforward european colonization, at least since 1492 and on, attempting to undo thousands
    and thousands of years of real spirituality right
    here on Turtle Island (“america”).

    Mediation and communing with one’s own true nature, Self, and Spirit has been around before India’s time –
    thousands of years in Indigneous Time and Way Of Life.

    Hoka Hey.

    • gabrieL says:

      Yup. very true. put “ego($$$driven sci i/med)”, aside & lets save baby&grandparents.
      The very people & places were are trained to hate have ALL the answer.

      YOU ARE THE PRIZED POSSESSION

      THINK W/COURAGE

      ALL LOVE

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