Meditation counters stress and changes gene expression


A study carried out at Harvard Medical School in the US provides the first compelling evidence to support what millennia of meditation practice tells us – that mind-body practices that encourage the relaxation response (RR) reduce physiological distress.

The researchers assessed whole blood profiles in 19 healthy long-term practitioners of daily RR practice, 19 healthy controls and 20 who completed 8 weeks of RR practice. Analysis revealed specific gene expression changes in both short and long-term practitioners: significant changes in cellular metabolism, oxidative phosphorylation, generation of reactive oxygen species and response to oxidative stress – all of which, to try and put it simply, counteracts cellular damage related to chronic psychological stress.

This research can be carried forward to measure RR and stress related responses in multiple disease settings.

Source: PLoS ONE


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First Published in March 2008

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