RSS

How Yoga and Meditation Can Positively Affect DNA

01 Sep

Yoga and MeditationWritten by Elaine Gavalas – Author and Natural Health Expert

Yoga and meditation are well-documented to have psychological, emotional and physical benefits for people at all stages of health, including cancer patients. Now breakthrough research reveals yoga and meditation can positively affect DNA.

Telomeres, located at the tips of DNA chromosomes, shorten with aging and age-related diseases including cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. As telomeres shorten, cells age and die more quickly. Conversely, telomere lengthening can increase a cell’s longevity.

The following studies have found yoga and meditation can protect and even lengthen DNA telomeres.

Yoga and Meditation Maintain Telomere Length in Cancer Survivors

A 2015 randomized controlled study, published in the journal Cancer, found yoga and meditation maintained telomere length in breast cancer patients.

Researchers at the University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada administered either a yoga and meditation program, supportive group therapy, or 1-day stress management seminar to 88 breast cancer survivors. All of the cancer patients suffered from significant emotional stress following cancer treatment. Blood samples and telomere length were assessed before and after the study.

The yoga group participated in weekly 90-minute yoga sessions for 8 weeks. The yoga group also practiced the yoga and meditation program at home. The supportive group participated in weekly 90-minute group therapy for 3 months.

The researchers found the yoga and group therapy participants had maintained their telomere length. However, the seminar group had shortened telomeres.

“Together, these changes suggest an effect of the interventions on potentially important biomarkers of psychosocial stress,” the study authors write. “Given the increasingly well-documented association between telomere length and cancer initiation and survival, this finding adds to the literature supporting the potential for stress-reducing interventions to impact important disease-regulating processes and ultimately disease outcome.”

Meditation Lengthens Telomeres

A small but significant study published in Brain, Behavior, and Immunity reports loving-kindness meditators have longer telomeres than non-meditators.

Loving-Kindness Meditation is a Buddhist meditation practice focusing on health, happiness and well-being towards all people.

Researchers at Harvard Medical School obtained blood samples from 15 meditators and 22 non-meditators. Chromosomal DNA was extracted from blood cells.

The researchers found the meditators had longer telomeres than non-meditators. Furthermore, female meditators had significantly longer telomere length than than non-meditators

“Although limited by small sample size, these results offer the intriguing possibility that Loving Kindness Meditation practice, especially in women, might alter relative telomere length, a biomarker associated with longevity,” the study authors conclude.

 

Elaine Gavalas is founder of Galen Botanicals, co-founder of Simply Centered and an exercise physiologist, nutritionist, yoga therapist, weight management specialist, and healthy recipe developer. Visit ElaineGavalas.com for more of Elaine’s articles, recipes, videos, and natural remedies.

Related Courses for Mental Health

This CE test is based on the book “Yoga as Medicine: the Yogic Prescription for Health and Healing” (2007, 592 pages). This course is intended to correct common misconceptions about yoga and to provide a framework for understanding the conditions under which yoga may be beneficial for a variety of health and mental health issues. The general health benefits of yoga are discussed, followed by a discussion of yoga’s role in treating anxiety and panic attacks, arthritis, asthma, back pain, cancer, carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, diabetes, fibromyalgia, headaches, heart disease, high blood pressure, HIV/AIDS, infertility, insomnia, irritable bowel syndrome, menopause, multiple sclerosis, and obesity. This course is intended for health and mental health professionals who have an interest in integrative and alternative medicine.

 

Rebecca E. Williams, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist, clinical supervisor, and award-winning author.  She specializes in recovery from mental illness, addictions, and life’s challenges.  Dr. Williams received her master’s degree in Counseling and Consulting Psychology from Harvard University and her Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara.  She is currently a clinic director at the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System.  Dr. Williams is Associate Clinical Professor of Psyc…

 

This course will give you the mindfulness skills necessary to work directly, effectively and courageously, with your own and your client’s life struggles. Compassion towards others starts with compassion towards self. Practicing mindfulness cultivates our ability to pay intentional attention to our experience from moment to moment. Mindfulness teaches us to become patiently and spaciously aware of what is going on in our mind and body without judgment, reaction, and distraction, thus inviting into the clinical process, the inner strengths and resources that help achieve healing results not otherwise possible. Bringing the power of mindful presence to your clinical practice produces considerable clinical impact in the treatment of anxiety, depression, PTSD, chronic pain, high blood pressure, fibromyalgia, colitis/IBS, and migraines/tension headaches. The emphasis of this course is largely experiential and will offer you the benefit of having a direct experience of the mindfulness experience in a safe and supportive fashion. You will utilize the power of “taking the client there” as an effective technique of introducing the mindful experience in your practice setting. As you will learn, the mindfulness practice has to be experienced rather than talked about. This course will provide you with an excellent understanding of exactly what mindfulness is, why it works, and how to use it. You will also develop the tools that help you introduce mindful experiences in your practice, and how to deal with possible client resistance.

 

This CE test is based on the book “A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook” (2010, 224 pages). Stress and pain are nearly unavoidable in our daily lives; they are part of the human condition. This stress can often leave us feeling irritable, tense, overwhelmed, and burned-out. The key to maintaining balance is responding to stress not with frustration and self-criticism, but with mindful, nonjudgmental awareness of our bodies and minds. Impossible? Actually, it’s easier than it seems. In just weeks, you can learn mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), a clinically proven program for alleviating stress, anxiety, panic, depression, chronic pain, and a wide range of medical conditions. Taught in classes and clinics worldwide, this powerful approach shows you how to focus on the present moment in order to permanently change the way you handle stress. As you work through A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, you’ll learn how to replace stress-promoting habits with mindful ones-a skill that will last a lifetime.

Professional Development Resources is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists; by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC) to offer home study continuing education for NCCs (#5590); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB #1046, ACE Program); the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (#PCE1625); the Florida Boards of Clinical Social Work, Marriage & Family Therapy, and Mental Health Counseling (#BAP346) and Psychology & School Psychology (#50-1635); the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board (#RCST100501); the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs (#193); and the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists (#114) and State Board of Social Worker Examiners (#5678).

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 1, 2015 in General

 

Tags: ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: