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Yoga, meditation and other mind-body intervention activites reverse stress-causing DNA reactions

Millions of people around the world already enjoy the health benefits of mind-body interventions like yoga or meditation

India TV Lifestyle Desk, New Delhi [Published on:16 Jun 2017, 5:20 PM IST]
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Yoga and meditation reverse stress-causing DNA reactions

Practising yoga and meditation not only benefits your physical health, but these mind-body interventions like yoga, Tai chi and meditation can reverse the molecular reactions in the DNA that causes stress. It also boosts overall well-being of a human being, according to a study. The research was conducted by UK’s Conventry University, which showed that people who practice mind-body interventions showed a decrease in the production of a molecule called nuclear factor Kappa B which is known to control gene expression. 

When you’re subjected to stressful situation, your sympathetic nervous system, the system which triggers fight or flight mechanism, is activated. This leads to production of NF-kB which thereby created molecules called cytokines that triggers cellular inflammation. This reaction is however useful for tackling stressful situations. But its persistent production can up the risk of cancer, speed up ageing and cause psychiatric disorders like depression. 

Also Read: Yoga for menstrual cramps: One-legged Pigeon pose to ease period pain

Meditation, yoga and Tai Chi may decrease the production of NF-kB and cytokines, leading to a reversal of the pro-inflammatory gene expression pattern and a reduction in the risk of inflammation-related diseases and conditions, the researchers said.

"Millions of people around the world already enjoy the health benefits of mind-body interventions like yoga or meditation, but what they perhaps don't realise is that these benefits begin at a molecular level and can change the way our genetic code goes about its business," said lead researcher Ivana Buric.

"These activities are leaving what we call a molecular signature in our cells, which reverses the effect that stress or anxiety would have on the body by changing how our genes are expressed. Put simply, mind-body interventions cause the brain to steer our DNA processes along a path which improves our wellbeing," Buric added.

For the study, published in the journal Frontiers in Immunology, the team examined 18 studies -- featuring 846 participants over 11 years. The results revealed a pattern in the molecular changes which happen to the body as a result of practising mind-body interventions, and how those changes benefit our mental and physical health.

On 21st June 2017, the world will observe its second International Yoga Day. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been a yoga aficionado since many years and encourage people to practice yoga for healthy mind and body.