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Meditation: “It’s Not New Age nonsense”


meditationcrpdIn meditation research the news keeps getting better and better:

“Previous studies have reported changes to the brain while people practise [meditation, yoga and prayer] activities, but a new study shows for the first time that gene activity changes too. […] “It’s not New Age nonsense,” says Herbert Benson of the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. He and his colleagues analysed the gene profiles of 26 volunteers – none of whom regularly meditate – before teaching them a relaxation routine lasting 10 to 20 minutes. It included reciting words, breathing exercises and attempts to exclude everyday thought.”

An 8-week course of meditation of this kind resulted in a change of gene profile:

“The boosted genes had three main beneficial effects: improving the efficiency of mitochondria, the powerhouse of cells; boosting insulin production, which improves control of blood sugar; and preventing the depletion of telomeres, caps on chromosomes that help to keep DNA stable and so prevent cells wearing out and ageing.”

Plus there was a decrease in the activity of “a master gene called NF-kappaB, which triggers chronic inflammation leading to diseases including high blood pressure, heart disease, inflammatory bowel disease and some cancers.”

Furthermore: “by taking blood immediately after before and after performing the technique on a single day, researchers also showed that the gene changes happened within minutes.”

So, I ask you, why not sit down for a few minutes to settle down your  mind?   The news doesn’t get any better than this!  With news like this, this whole business of meditation is now really a matter of mental hygiene.  Indeed, what if we – as a culture, as a civilization, – framed the matter of meditation as a matter of hygiene?  Chances are you brush your teeth every day.  Why not scrub your mind of “everyday thoughts” every day too?!

Ref: Meditation Boosts Genes That Promote Good Health, Andy Coghlan, New Scientist, May 2, 2013

Related: Non-Inflammatory Mind

Man meditating photo available from Shutterstock

Meditation: “It’s Not New Age nonsense”


Pavel G. Somov, Ph.D.

Pavel Somov, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in private practice and the author of 7 mindfulness-based self-help books. Several of his books have been translated into Chinese, Dutch & Portuguese. Somov is on the Advisory Board for the Mindfulness Project (London, UK). Somov has conducted numerous workshops on mindfulness-related topics and appeared on a number of radio programs. Somov's book website is www.pavelsomov.com and his practice website is www.drsomov.com

Marla Somova, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in private practice in Pittsburgh, PA. She is the co-author of "Smoke Free Smoke Break" (2011).

 

 

APA Reference
Somov, P. (2013). Meditation: “It’s Not New Age nonsense”. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 1, 2020, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/mindful-living/2013/05/meditation-its-not-new-age-nonsense/

 

Last updated: 3 May 2013
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