How meditation works

By Dr Daniel Lewis.
MBBS FRACP FASLM

Stillness-meditation practices and movement-meditation practices (such as yoga and Tai Chi) are mind-body techniques that have been practised for thousands of years.

Research has shown that those who engage in these practices live healthier and more balanced lives.

It is only in the last few years that there has been an understanding as to how these practices produce health benefits. Not only do these practices change the way our muscles and nerves function but they also alter at a subtle level the function of our genes.

How meditation influences gene expression

The genetic code lies within the DNA and contains all the information for growth and function of the body. The genetic code is largely unchanged throughout life but genes can be turned “on” and “off” by factors outside of the gene. Whether the codes are “on” or “off” produces vastly different responses

What science is now teaching us is that we do can influence whether these genes are “on” or “off”.

Practising mind-body techniques activates different genes when compared with those activated in a neutral or stressed state.

Specifically, meditation reduces the impact of stress genes and as a result, less cortisol ( the driver of the the flight and fight response) is produced. Too much cortisol is a factor contributing to many chronic illnesses such as autoimmune disease, Fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, heart disease and cancer.

Mind-body techniques also have a positive effect on the genes influencing mitochondria, which are the components in cells that produce energy

We now know that the more individual practice mind-body techniques the more pronounced are these positive genetic changes.

There is no longer any doubt that incorporating mind-body techniques into daily living is good medicine.

Meditation and health

In this short video ,Dr Michael Mosely explains the benefits for health of mindfulnes.   >>>>8 minutes