I wouldn’t exactly call myself a meditation guru.
I was first introduced to the concept of meditation after a class on Buddhism in college. I attempted to mediate for several weeks after, but could never find the motivation to get through more than five minutes of sitting with my eyes closed and thoughts of dinner and errands chasing each other around in my head.
For me, meditation has always been hard and something I can easily find an excuse to avoid.
However, new studies show that those who have inflammation might have a little extra motivation to practice meditating. Check this out:
These studies are claiming that meditation and tai chi can affect a person’s DNA.
That is, mind/body practices like meditation and tai chi can lower the genes associated with inflammation and essentially reverse molecular damages that occur because of stress.
What is Inflammation?
Inflammation acts as a defense to infection and injury. However, you CAN have too much of a good thing; if inflammation is “switched on” for long periods of time, it leaves the host more susceptible to developing a disease.
Chronic inflammation, for example, goes hand in hand with autoimmune disorders like asthma, arthritis, cardiovascular disease, psychiatric diseases, and even some forms of cancer.
While mind/body practices have been widely acclaimed to protect against stress-related diseases for many years, these claims have not been scientifically proven.
However, advances in science and gene activity means we can now test these claims.
One scientist, Ivana Buric, decided to see just how meditation and other mind/body practices can affect a person’s immune system and risk for disease.
Buric and her team completed 18 trials with over 800 people from 2005 until 2014. They studied whether tai chi influenced gene activity for people who had insomnia.
The results, while varied and complicated, did show a recurring pattern—that mind/body practices all work in similar ways to reduce the risk for inflammation-related disorders.
Genes related to inflammation became less active in people who practiced tai chi.
Any mind/body exercise was found to improve inflammation, which means you can choose from several mind/body practices like yoga, tai chi, mediation, or another one that suits your fancy. These results showed that these practices not only improved psychological disorders caused by inflammation, but also the physical disorders like asthma or arthritis.
If you want to reduce inflammation and improve your stress level, it looks like it’s time to roll out that meditation mat!