Suzanne Norman

Enlightened Living Articles

Meditation Shown to Change Your DNA

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

We know that meditation is good for us.  There are hundreds of studies showing how it can decrease stress, calm the mind and emotions, and increase mental clarity and focus.  The medical studies showing how, in as little as ten minutes per day, meditation can help reduce blood pressure, quell anxiety and aid in the prevention of heart disease, should be enough to get everyone on the meditation bandwagon!  But now we have more support in favor of this ancient practice. 

A recent study published in the Canadian scientific journal Cancer, the use of mindfulness meditation was shown to have an impact on certain types of DNA in breast cancer patients. Specifically it was the length of telomeres, which are tiny protective caps on the end of chromosomes. In this study, they found that the telomeres where physically altered as the result of mindful meditation.

Leading the investigation was Dr. Linda Carlson.  She and her colleagues took distressed breast cancer survivors and divided them in to three groups.  The first group was randomly assigned to an eight week cancer recovery program consisting of mindfulness meditation and yoga; the second to a twelve week group therapy in which they shared emotions and fostered social support, and the third was a control group, receiving  just a six hour stress management course.
A total of 88 women completed the study and had their blood analyzed for telomere length before and after the interventions.  Telomeres were maintained in both treatment groups but shortened in control group.

Wondering what telomeres have to do with anything?  Here's the lowdown.  
Basically, shorter telomeres correlate with ailments like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes (just to mention a few).  So if we can manage to keep these structures from shrinking, our overall health is better off.  This new correlations of telomere length with the age old practice of mindfulness gives people the power to control their own health!  

So if the zen-ness of a meditation practice isn't enough to draw people in, maybe the proven promise of physiological health benefits will get them on the bandwagon!
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