Practitioners have been attesting to it for years, and now medical science is waking up to the idea that meditation really does have health benefits. A new study, published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology, has discovered specific molecular changes in the body after a period of mindful meditation.
Meditation is not new - with its roots in prehistory, it almost certainly predates the science that now endorses it. History shows that its practice was adopted by Eastern cultures thousands of years ago, with ancient Indian scriptures dating from 5,000 years ago detailing techniques. But it is a relative newcomer to the West.
For the study, researchers compared the effects of a day of intensive mindful-meditation in a group of experienced meditators with a group of untrained subjects who enjoyed a day of quiet, non-meditative activities.
After 8 hours, the meditators showed a range of genetic and molecular differences, including reduced levels of pro-inflammatory genes. This correlates with faster physical recovery from a stressful situation.
The researchers, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Institute of Biomedical Research of Barcelona, Spain, believe this is the first study to find a relationship between meditation and gene expression.
Dr. Richard J. Davidson, founder of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds, explains:
"To the best of our knowledge, this is the first paper that shows rapid alterations in gene expression within subjects associated with mindfulness meditation practice." (MORE)
Source: Medical News Today