Cogito ergo sum: I think therefore I am. René Descartes
And research now shows that what you think actually creates who you are by determining the expression of your genes. And not just whether you think positively or negatively, but what you mindfully attend to translates into the actual form and function of our bodies.
A recent study investigated the effects of 8 hours of intensive mindfulness practice in a group of experienced practitioners, compared to a group of untrained control subjects who engaged in quiet non-meditative activities. Results showed a range of genetic and molecular differences between groups, including altered levels of gene-regulating machinery and reduced levels of pro-inflammatory genes, which in turn correlated with faster physical recovery from stressful situations. This happened in just one day of practice.
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. These results provide a possible biological mechanism for the therapeutic effects of mindfulness practices, including a possible biological mechanism for the effects of regular Feldenkrais practice.
In press: Kaliman, P., Álvarez-López, M. J., Cosín-Tomás, M., Rosenkranz, M. A., Lutz, A., & Davidson, R. J. (2014). Rapid changes in histone deacetylases and inflammatory gene expression in expert meditators. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 40, 96–107.
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