A recent study undertaken and completed by Dr. Herbert Benson, president emeritus of the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School has demonstrated that relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga and prayer appear to switch genes, changing their patterns of gene activity especially those that are affected by stress .
Prolonged stress has now been clearly linked with physical illness ranging from skin rashes to cancer . Stress also impacts on our gene activity, and it is this that meditation appears to combat. Dr Benson and his colleagues compared gene-expression patterns in three groups, group A, 19 long-term practitioners, group B, 19 healthy controls and group C, 20 newcomers who all underwent an eight week relaxation-response training.
Results found than 2,200 genes were activated differently in the long-time practitioners relative to the controls and 1,561 genes in the short-timers compared to the long-time practitioners. Short-term and long-term practitioners shared some 433 of the differently activated genes.
Dr Benson believes that this study is the first comprehensive look at how mind states can affect gene expression.
In conclusion this study provides the first compelling evidence that the activities such as meditation elicit specific gene expression changes in short-term and long-term practitioners. Results suggest that consistent and constitutive changes in gene expression resulting from relaxation response techniques such as meditation, tai chi, prayer may relate to long term physiological effects.
Mindfulness (by Dav Panesar)
Symran (by Dav Panesar)
Body Mindfulness (by Dav Panesar)