Researchers Find Genetic Changes After Relaxation Practice


Health and well-being is about more than drugs and surgeries; it’s also about yoga, meditation, and other practices that involve conscious relaxation reduce stress.

I came across a this 2013 research showing that the relaxation response — a state of deep rest attained through breathing, meditation, yoga and other practices — triggers changes in gene expression that can affect the body’s immune function, energy metabolism and insulin secretion.

Subjects of these tests were guided through an practiced relaxation sequence, including diaphragmatic breathing, progressive relaxation technique called “body scanning”, mantra repetition, and mindfulness meditation, while passively ignoring intrusive thoughts. A 20-minute audio CD that guided listeners through this same sequence was given to the subjects to listen at home once a day.

Here are some of the results highlights:

  • Practiced relaxation leads to changes in genes linked to overall health and immune response
  • Practiced relaxation leads to changes in short-term and long-term patterns linked to regulation of cell differentiation, cell adhesion, cell communication and transport, hormone stimulus, blood pressure, cAMP, metabolic processes, biological oxidation, and oxidoreductase activity
  • Practiced relaxation progressively affected energy metabolism and inflammation
  • Practiced relaxation (long term) leads to changes associated with immune response such as antigen processing, receptor signaling, and more
  • Practiced relaxation (long term) leads to changes associated with immune response such as antigen processing, receptor signaling, and more
  • Practiced relaxation leads to changes linked to energy production in mitochondria response, including glucose regulation
  • Practiced relaxation leads to improvements in DNA stability, recombination and repair

RESOURCES: Relaxation Response Induces Temporal Transcriptome Changes in Energy Metabolism, Insulin Secretion and Inflammatory Pathways, Published: May 1, 2013 by Manoj K. Bhasin, Jeffery A. Dusek, Bei-Hung Chang, Marie G. Joseph, John W. Denninger, Gregory L. Fricchione, Herbert Benson, Towia A. Libermann

Photo by AJ Schroetlin via Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic

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