Yoga and meditation may do more than just help you feel relaxed in the moment.
A new scientific review suggests that meditation can actually reverse stress-related changes in genes linked to poor health and depression.
Frontiers in Immunology said that British researchers analyzed the findings from 18 previously published studies —
involving a total of 846 people — on the biological effects of meditation, yoga, breathing exercises.
The studies show that these mind-body exercises appear to suppress the expression of genes and genetic pathways
that promote inflammation.
Inflammation can temporarily boost the immune system, and can be protective against infection and injury.
Psychological stress can make the body’s inflammatory response become chronic and can impair both physical and mental health.
Researchers found that people who practiced these activities regularly had fewer signs of inflammation, including a decrease in their production of inflammatory proteins.
This signals “the reversal of the molecular signature of the effects of chronic stress,” which may translate to a reduced risk of inflammation-related diseases and conditions.
Researchers were surprised to see that different types of mind-body techniques had such similar effects at the genetic level.
Meditation —when practiced regularly— seem to decrease the activity of genes involved in inflammation.
Mind-body interventions cause the brain to steer our DNA processes along a path which improves our well-being.
Inherited genes are not static and that DNA activity can depend on things people can control.
By choosing healthy habits every day, we can create a gene activity pattern that is more beneficial for our health.
Even just 15 minutes of practicing meditation seems to do the trick.
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Krish Murali Eswar.