The following is an abbreviated version of an article written by Skye Ranier and published on NaturalNews.com.
It includes the research of DNA expert Bruce Lipton and experiments reported in Plos-One, all of which reinforce other research presented on S & R from vaious sources including New Scientist: it seems meditation is now mainstream science.
Pioneering research in the field of epigenetics has revealed a connection between beliefs, emotions and thoughts, and changes in our DNA. Previously it was believed that our genetic code was unalterable; although we do inherit our genetic code from our parents, the idea that it is permanent and unalterable has been proven false.
A number of groundbreaking studies demonstrate that everything from our environment to our food can alter genes in a number of ways. Take for example this study conducted by researchers at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind/Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital: 26 adult participants without prior experience were taught various mind-body relaxation techniques such as meditation, mindfulness and mantra. All participants were given comprehensive blood tests preceding and following 20 minutes of self-directed practice. By looking at nearly 22,000 different gene sequences, the study’s authors were able to identify and measure changes during and after practicing the various techniques. Source: journals.plos.org
Across the board, all of the participants showed measurable changes in the specific genes that researchers had previously identified as being related to or responsible for aging, relaxation, metabolism and even insulin response. The measured changes were found to be indicative of a significantly reduced stress response and initiated activity in telomere maintenance genes, meaning the practices caused changes in the body that led to the repair and alteration of DNA.
“The physical expression is the consequence of the mind’s program—the program comes first, the physical expression second,” renowned stem cell biologist and epigenetics researcher Bruce Lipton is quoted as saying.
“The cells of your body are merely following instructions given by the nervous system, by the brain. The nervous system does the interpretation. As your perception changes, you change the message that your nervous system communicates to the cells of your body.”
“In the science of epigenetics it’s been found that it’s the perception of your environment that controls your genes. You’re not a victim of your genes because you’re the one who can change your environment—or, more importantly, change your perception.”
Bruce’s student Dina Proctor had been practicing mindfulness and meditation for some time, all the while developing a keen interest in epigenetics. Eventually, she decided to perform an informal experiment on herself using a specific visualization meditation she developed based on her research into the field epigenetics and self-healing. Her goal was to address serious imbalances in her blood cholesterol levels that had been plaguing her for some time. For approximately two weeks she regularly practiced the following visualization meditation:
“I started out visualizing a gentle but laser-like beam of healing energy entering my body straight into my heart. I imagined a warm sensation as the beam infiltrated and surrounded my heart. As the warmth grew stronger, I pictured the healing energy in the form of a thick liquid or serum, like warm honey, slowly seeping from my heart muscle into my bloodstream.”
“I kept my focus on the warm feeling of the serum moving into my bloodstream in all directions. I followed it in my mind’s eye, moving through my chest into my legs and arms, fingers and toes, and circling back again into my heart.”
After a few of days she could intuitively sense her blood levels evening out: “I visualized the imaginary serum healing each blood cell it touched as it traveled throughout my body,” she later commented.
And sure enough, the results of her bloodwork post-visualization meditation practice showed a significant positive change: her serum cholesterol count had been reduced from 227 to 177, quite in line with similar findings from the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind/Body Medicine study showing that relatively simple alterations in our habits, perception and thought process do have physical effects in the body.
Skye Ranier, http://www.naturalnews.com
Related reading on biology and the mind:
- The Buddha brain
- Vagal tone and prayer
- The amygdala
- Materialism and mirror neurons
- The Science of Religion