Can you use your mind to impact your immune system, and reduce your response to stress?
This research evaluated the effect of compassion meditation on immune, neuroendocrine and
behavioral responses to psychosocial stress.
61 healthy adults were randomly allocated to either 6 weeks of practice in compassion
meditation or participation in a health discussion control group (Paace TW, et.al., 2009).
The researchers found that increased meditation practice was correlated with decreased
stress test induced IL-6, an inflammatory marker, and also decreased distress scores.
In the following study 25 people participating in an 8-week program practicing mindfulness
meditation were compared with a control group not meditating (Davidson RJ, et.al., 2003).
At the end of the 8-week period, the participants in both groups were vaccinated with the influenza
Significant increases in antibody titers to influenza vaccine were found among subjects in the
meditation group compared with those in the control group.
This means that the participants practicing meditation had a better immune response.
To see the benefits of meditation you need to practice regularly, but that’s well worth it since
meditation has shown to provide many benefits.
Decide that you are going to start meditating, and set aside specific times for it, put it on your
schedule. That’s how you will get it done.
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Davidson RJ, Kabat-Zinn J, Schumacher J, Rosenkranz M, Muller D, Santorelli SF, Urbanowski
F, Harrington A, Bonus K, Sheridan JF. Alterations in brain and immune function produced by
mindfulness meditation. Psychosom Med. 2003 Jul-Aug;65(4):564-70.
Pace TW, Negi LT, Adame DD, Cole SP, Sivilli TI, Brown TD, Issa MJ, Raison CL. Effect of
compassion meditation on neuroendocrine, innate immune and behavioral responses to
psychosocial stress. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2009 Jan;34(1):87-98.
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