Study Shows the Effects of Meditation, Yoga and Prayer on the Human Body

Being able to control stress, diabetes and even aging, is it tempting for you? If so, do not waste a moment and try to relax. It was already known that yoga was able to alter the expression of genes involved in immune function but according to a new study, relaxation, in general, can have a similar effect.

An American study from the Massachusetts General Hospital proves thatrelaxation ” (Yoga, meditation, prayers, Qi Gong, breathing exercises …) influences the responses of our genes.

Relaxation is a method used for millennia, through many cultures, to prevent or cure certain diseases.

To be total, relaxation should bring you to a physiological state of deep rest that changes the physical and emotional response to stress. The effects of this state then allow the body to react the opposite of its usual fight or flight response when confronted with stress and can be achieved through yoga, prayer, meditation, or deep breathing exercises. .

This study is far from the first to show that relaxation has positive effects on the body. Research conducted by Georgetown University, published in March, has focused on how acupuncture can effectively reduce stress by blocking the levels of certain hormones in the neural pathways.

Another on the effects of meditation, has also shown in recent research its virtues against stress, depression, anxiety but also its ability to improve the emotional stability and quality of sleep.

It was already known that relaxation resulted in: a reduction in oxygen consumption, an increase in the exhalation of nitric oxide, and a decrease in psychological stress.

I find this study very interesting for several reasons:

  • We will perhaps stop taking the Orientals for morons with their “soft” methods that are incomprehensible to the common Westerners. Feng-shui, widely used by Asians, and more recently in the West, would not be so stupid.
  • It could, perhaps, explain how millions of people manage to believe in a god, was he named Allah, Ra or our good old bearded man. Or the miracles of Lourdes, the holy water, or I do not know yet what superstition, as long as it causes a modification of the cerebral activity such that certain pathologies improve or disappear. (No, I’m not a believer …)
  • Medically speaking, it corroborates certain observations such as the “genesis” of a cancer after a “stress”. (If relaxation leads to a modification of the gene expression, we can suppose that to invert it, an intense stress must modify it too)
  • Would not that partly explain the effectiveness of placebos (who, if you do not know it … walk very often …) or homeopathy …?
  • Interesting also to come across this study, just after reporting “the return of the memory of water” in the article of yesterday, which evokes the success of certain experiments according to “the mental state of the experimenter”.
  • More Western , the Coué method could also have a scientific basis, since it consists in “programming your brain” by incessant repetitions of good suggestions. (Or hypnosis)
  • Finally, and most importantly, it gives us a key to these so many “psychosomatic illnesses” that doctors face every day.

What did they do?

The researchers recruited three groups of 19 patients each.

The first group (Group M) included patients who adhere to relaxation methods, using it daily.

The second group (Group N1) consisted of patients not using a relaxation method at all.

The third group (Group N2), similar to the N1 group initially, was trained for 8 weeks in relaxation methods.

Tests are performed on all three groups to look for changes in gene expression in the blood.


Between the group M (followers of relaxation) and N1 (non-followers), they find a significant difference on the expression of 2209 genes.

Between the group N2 (trained) and N1 (non-followers) they find a significant difference on the expression of 1561 genes.

Among the modifications of the expression of these genes, 433 are common between M / N1 and N2 / N1, suggesting that a short relaxation training allowed modification of gene expression in these 433 cases.

The study’s director concluded that they “proved that a change in brain activity could alter the way gene expression is implemented” in the body.

(ou traduisez le vous-même : «Now we’ve found how changing the activity of the mind can alter the way basic genetic instructions are implemented»)

Source effects of meditation in blue in the article and:

Dusek JA, Otu HH, Wohlhueter AL, Bhasin M, Zerbini LF, et al. (2008) Genomic Counter-Stress Changes Induced by the Relaxation Response. PLoS ONE 3(7):

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