Take a deep breath and relax: this is one great advice yogis have given people for centuries. You can feel the results almost instantly. Your fluttering nerves begin to calm, and you can literally feel the tension start to leave your body as your worries varnish simultaneously. We all know it is beneficial to our health when we relax. But you do not need a yogi to always tell you to. Meditation has long been lauded, from the days when only monks and religion practitioners do it. Now science has caught up with the secrets of its seemingly mystic healing powers. Research has revealed that frequent mediation changes us on a genetic level, and for the better too.
Meditation Changes US on a Genetic Level
Researchers from the Harvard Medical School have discovered that people who consistently engage in relaxation exercises like yoga and meditation have developed far stronger immunity to diseases compared to those who do not practice. Aside from the stronger disease-fighting genes that they have, they are less prone to developing health conditions like infertility, menstrual problems, arthritis, general debility and high blood pressure. These genetic changes the researchers have coined as “the relaxation effect”. And they claimed it can just be as potent as any orthodox medication. What’s better? It has absolutely no side effects!
The researches who conducted experiments on a group of relaxation method practitioners also had a control group of individuals who do not practice any form of relaxation exercises. The results were very interesting and revealing. The control group has less healthy genes. One of the scientists, Dr. Herbert Benson stated: ”We found a range of disease-fighting genes were active in the relaxation practitioners that were not active in the control group.”Benson believes that the course of the research can take many directions because it indicates how remarkably, a person’s mental state impacts on their physical health. It may also lead to an exposé on how ancient Indian and Chinese traditions have considered constant meditative exercises as a very potent therapy to illness and diseases. The question, however, is how such a simple physical activity can be so incredibly potent and wide-ranging in its positive health effects? The answer is not far-fetched.
The release of adrenalin and cortisol hormones into the body is directly connected to stress. These hormones increase blood pressure, aggravate one’s tendency to be sterile and worst of all, weaken the immune system. Dr Jane Fleming, a London scientist, however gives a logical explanation to these claims, saying that ”In survival mode, heart rate rises and blood pressure shoots up. Meanwhile muscles, preparing for danger, contract and tighten. And non-essential functions such as immunity and digestion go by the wayside.”
Relaxation and the Feel-Good Chemical
On the other hand, relaxation is associated with the release of serotonin (which is a feel good chemical). Your tension is eased and your muscles are at rest. Serotonin has also been found to stabilize heart rate, boost virility, and repair damaged cells in the body. This is a total contrast you would say. However, scientists warn that to achieve this state is not by indulging in the routine type of relaxation, e.g. watching a movie or having a cup of coffee in leisure. It is only attainable by engaging in a deep relaxation practice where one is absolutely relaxed physically, and the kind is literally freed from any thoughts. That indeed, can be defined as meditation.
Other Benefits of Meditation
So if you know you should practice meditation and for some reason or the other you are not doing so, here are some other benefits you should think about getting absolutely free of charge:
· Stronger Immunity
Studies have shown that cancer patients who started practising deep relaxation methods had their natural killer cells, increasing the rate of their recovery and boosted their resistance to a recurrence.
· Increased Fertility
Studies have also shown that deep relaxation significantly boosts fertility in both sexes. People practicing relaxation methods have high fertility levels.
· Regulated Blood Pressure
Deep relaxation makes the body less sensitive to stress hormones. Therefore it normalizes blood pressure and lowers it in people suffering from hypertension.
· Reduced Inflammation
Inflammation is a condition caused by stress. People with this condition are at risk of arthritis, heart problems and severe skin conditions.
The good news however is that the genes responsible for better health conditions are rapid in response to relaxation therapy. They switch themselves on and in a matter of months; you will start enjoying the benefits of meditation!