There’s a lot of talk about “DNA activation”, which is usually dismissed as new age mumbo-jumbo with no real scientific basis. But a new study by researchers in Wisconsin, Spain, and France reports the first evidence of specific molecular changes in the body following a period of mindfulness meditation. It shows that you can actually switch on certain genes while meditating, an idea that had previously only been thought of pseudoscience.
The study investigated the effects of a day of intensive mindfulness practice in a group of experienced meditators, compared to a group of untrained control subjects who engaged in quiet non-meditative activities. After eight hours of mindfulness practice, the meditators showed a range of genetic and molecular differences, including altered levels of gene-regulating machinery and reduced levels of pro-inflammatory genes, which in turn correlated with faster physical recovery from a stressful situation.
“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first paper that shows rapid alterations in gene expression within subjects associated with mindfulness meditation practice,” says study author Richard J. Davidson, founder of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds and the William James and Vilas Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
“Most interestingly, the changes were observed in genes that are the current targets of anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs,” says Perla Kaliman, first author of the article and a researcher at the Institute of Biomedical Research of Barcelona, Spain (IIBB-CSIC-IDIBAPS), where the molecular analyses were conducted.
The study was published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology. Mindfulness-based trainings have shown beneficial effects on inflammatory disorders in prior clinical studies and are endorsed by the American Heart Association as a preventative intervention. The new results provide a possible biological mechanism for therapeutic effects. So it is not as though you are changing your genetic material when you reach deep states of meditation, but you are indeed changing which genes are being expressed and to what degree they are affecting the body.
An awesome video on DNA activation by my friend at Spirit Science:
About the author: My name is Darius Copac, and I am the creator of Quantum World: Awaken Your Mind. Thanks for reading this article!
Jill Sakai, http://www.news.wisc.edu/22370