Meditation Relieves Pain
A study published in the Journal of Neuroscience in 2011 concluded that mindfulness-based meditation can relieve pain. Fadel Zeidan of Wake Forest University along with his team scanned participants brains as they received uncomfortably hot touches to their legs. Those who practised meditation reported experiencing less pain when they simply focused on their breathing. The study found that there was increased activity in the lower region of the brain that controls signals coming from the body as well as the executive centers that evaluate experience and regulate emotions.
Researchers from Group Health Cooperative and the University of Washington studied the changes in lower-back symptoms after a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction therapy. Their study monitored the subjects of the study for over 6 months. They found that 61% of patients that practiced meditation reported meaningful improvement in symptoms.
To summarize, the latest research suggests that through mindfulness-based meditation, people can mitigate their perception of pain and alleviate symptoms of chronic pain. Daily meditation can make you stronger and more resilient to pain. Expert meditators can command such control over their bodies that they feel no pain at all. The following is a famous picture that got featured on the cover of Time magazine in 2012. The picture shows Mohamed Bouazizi who set himself ablaze in the middle of the street in protest. It truly is bewildering how calmly and at peace the man sits while his body burns away to death.
Source: Time Magazine
Meditation Changes Your Genes (DNA)
Our genes have an extremely large impact on who we are, our appearance, our predisposition to certain diseases etc. A systematic review of 18 trials that included 846 participants found that mindfulness-based meditation or Tai Chi meditation can influence gene activity and has countless benefits.
Ivan Buric, a psychologist from Coventry University’s Brain, Belief and Behaviour lab along with her team have found that a gene called NF -kappaB responsible (acts as an “on switch”) for many inflammatory diseases is affected by such meditative practices. They have published their research in the Journal Frontiers in Immunology where they have reported their findings.
Inflammation acts as the body’s first line of defence against infections and injuries. However, if switched on for a long time, it can result in increased risk of developing chronic inflammation associated diseases like arthritis, asthma, neurodegenerative diseases, cardiovascular diseases and even some types of cancer.
Meditation showed that the gene responsible for triggering chronic inflammation and related diseases becomes less active. This suggests that meditation can bring changes in your DNA that can at least prevent if not fully cure chronic inflammatory illnesses.
Another study published in the journal Cancer led by a Canadian group found that mindfulness-based meditation helped prevent chromosomal deterioration in some cancer patients. This too reduces the risk of inflammation-related diseases in your body.
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