Harvard researchers recently put out a study showing the power of meditation. And these new findings might convince you to give meditation a try. Scientists have already discovered many notable health benefits of meditation. It can help you look younger, increase focus, relieve stress and even cope with trauma. Now, research says meditation alters gene expression and even lowers blood pressure.
The Harvard study is small, and was conducted over the course of eight weeks. However, study authors hope to convince “skeptics of the power of meditation to promote health and reverse disease.”
With just 15 minutes of daily meditation, researchers discovered a significant change in the expression of 172 genes. The genes observed had to do with regulating inflammation, glucose metabolism and circadian rhythms.
Researchers were already familiar with the “Relaxation Response”, a concept which mind-body proponent, Dr. Herbert Benson, introduced more than 40 years ago. Benson basically began to explain the benefits of meditation in scientific terms.
He believed that with mindfulness practices, an individual could create a relaxation response: a physiological process where the brain release chemicals that help the body slow down, along with increasing circulation to the brain.
Over the last four decades, Benson has faced criticism and skepticism from fellow researchers about the mind-body connection.
However, this new study explored the molecular mechanisms that occurred during relaxation response and how they lead to lower blood pressure levels. And their findings support Benson’s original claims: daily meditation can in fact alter gene expression and help to lower blood pressure.