We all feel better mentally, emotionally and physically when practising things like yoga, meditation or Tai Chi, but scientists at the Brain, Belief and Behaviour Laboratory in Coventry University’s Centre for Psychology, Behaviour and Achievement have found they bring about changes at the molecular level. “These activities are leaving what we call a molecular signature in our cells, which reverses the effects that stress or anxiety would have on the body by changing how our genes are expressed. Put simply, MBIs (mind-body interventions) cause our brain to steer our DNA processes along a path which improves our wellbeing.”

People practising MBIs know they feel better for doing them without necessarily knowing why or how beneficial they are for their bodies.

The paper, published in the journal Frontiers in Immunology, analyses more than a decades’ worth of research on how mind-body intervention strategies can impact the behaviour of DNA. Genetic expression was a focal point of the team’s research, because the way genes are activated to produce proteins can have a system-wide impact. The biological composition of the brain, body and immune systems can all be affected by the way genetic proteins are expressed.

In total, the team reviewed 18 studies with a combined 846 participants. The experts determined that when looked at as a whole, the 11 years of data “reveal a pattern in the molecular changes which happen to the body as a result of MBIs, and how those changes benefit out mental and physical health.”

We are all familiar with the flight or fight stress response, which places our autonomic nervous systems into the sympathetic state. Whilst stress and inflammation can be helpful in the short term, when they become chronic they have a negative impact on health. Our bodies only repair and regenerate when in the parasympathetic state. This is why chronic stress can speed up ageing. Stress triggers the production of a molecule that regulates gene expression, known as NF-kappa-B or nuclear factor kappa B. As Science Daily explains, NF-kappa-B activates genes that produce cytokines which cause cellular inflammation. Chronic inflammation underlies degenerative disease, particularly autoimmunity, and increases the risk of cancer and depression. This may be the mechanism that E.smog (from mobiles and wi-fi) lock the body in a state of permanent inflammation and may be a contributory factor to the autoimmune epidemic we have today. EMFs also prevent retorative sleep[1]. The research team found people who practise MBIs on a regular basis – and regular can be the challenge for most of us today! – show a reduction in NF-kappa-B and related cytokines, leading to a decrease in pro-inflammatory gene expression. This means that anyone suffering from allergies or autoimmune disease would be able to reduce their inflammation by practising an MBI.

This is not the first study to show benefits to health from meditation and similar activities. Recent research has shown that meditation can keep your brain youthful and, on average, reduce your brain age by over seven years. Earlier this year, a research team from Harvard found that yoga can elicit positive changes in metabolic function.

One of the advantages of these practices, is that you can do them even if you are unwell or lack the energy for more vigorous forms of exercise. With the long hours worked by many people today, it can be difficult fitting them into your day. If you add something in, you need to make room by taking something out. Alternatively, you may find getting up 20 minutes earlier to do a Tai Chi or Yoga routine, may not only set up a more positive frame of mind for the rest of day, but is likely to also boost your energy levels. Give yourself enough time so you aren’t rushed. Focus on what you are doing in the moment, and not what you have to do the rest of the day. Mindfulness is the key.

[1] I have just received the results of my bio resonance hair screen showing my EMF levels to have dropped to almost negligible since using a Blushield. My sleep is deeper and my anxiety levels have also reduced. I will let you know if the same results are found in clients who are using Blushields.