Are you seeking calmness, peace of mind, joy, vibrant health, greater energy, positive relationships and fulfillment in life? Do you wish to be stress-free and worry-free?
You can enjoy all these benefits and much more, with meditation. Meditation offers innumerable benefits for your body, mind and spirit. The rest you gain in meditation is deeper than the deepest sleep. The deeper your rest, the more dynamic your activity is.
Now the hard science has caught up why we should start meditating: a comprehensive scientific study showing that deep relaxation changes our bodies on a genetic level has just been published. What researchers at Harvard Medical School discovered is that, in long-term practitioners of relaxation methods such as yoga and meditation, far more ”disease-fighting genes” were active, compared to those who practiced no form of relaxation.
In particular, they found genes that protect from disorders such as pain, infertility, high blood pressure and even rheumatoid arthritis were switched on. The changes, say the researchers, were induced by what they call ”the relaxation effect”, a phenomenon that could be just as powerful as any medical drug but without the side effects. ”We found a range of disease-fighting genes were active in the relaxation practitioners that were not active in the control group,” Dr Herbert Benson, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, who led the research, says. The good news for the control group with the less-healthy genes is that the research didn’t stop there.
The experiment, which showed just how responsive genes are to behavior, mood and environment, revealed that genes can switch on, just as easily as they switch off. ”Harvard researchers asked the control group to start practicing relaxation methods every day,” says Jake Toby, hypnotherapist at London’s Body Mind Medicine Center, who teaches clients how to induce the relaxation effect. ”After two months, their bodies began to change: the genes that help fight inflammation kill diseased cells and protect the body from cancer all began to switch on.”
More encouraging still, the benefits of the relaxation effect were found to increase with regular practice: the more people practiced relaxation methods such as meditation or deep breathing, the greater their chances of remaining free of arthritis and joint pain with stronger immunity, healthier hormone levels and lower blood pressure. Benson believes the research is pivotal because it shows how a person’s state of mind affects the body on a physical and genetic level. It might also explain why relaxation induced by meditation or repetitive mantras is considered to be a powerful remedy in traditions such as Ayurveda in India or Tibetan medicine.
The next time you tune out and switch off and let yourself melt, remind yourself of all the good work the meditation is doing on your body.This infographic summarizes some of the key scientific findings about the benefits of meditation and why we should start meditating today.