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Saturday, March 15, 2014

Yoga May Have Positive Effects On Major Psychiatric Disorders


Editor's Note:  The study and studies referenced in the article below review the meaningful contributions of yoga postures in assuaging human ails, whether physical or psychic, neurological, physiological, and psychological.  In North America and other places around the world, the term "yoga" nearly always refers solely to physical postures [asanas], a portion of a more whole arena yogic practice presents.  

All too often the narrow attention upon the physical postures of yoga are approached calisthenically, not with the true body/mind/soulful integration properly practicing yoga imbues in practitioners.  The comprehensive wholeness yoga and tantra contribute to our pursuit of happiness and infinity in human life will be actualized upon contemporary allopathy's relinquishment of its imperial conceits of culture and intellect.  

Even the pineal gland was considered inert matter in humans, until a few operating within allopathy awakened to unrecognized potentialities after large numbers of South Asians and others around the world harbinged its essential involvement in human wellbeing, conveying "We have been using and optimizing the pineal gland for thousands of years, we know it works!", after which money-motivated allopaths researched it further, acknowledging its functionality in the late 1960s, after a couple of pharmaceutical companies derived patents from its research.  

The pineal gland is the kingpin of all glands affecting our wellbeing, in every realm of life, well known by yogis for thousands of years.  

Psychological, psychic, psycho-transpersonal, and psycho-social reframing are essentialities in yogic practice and integral to the very intent of practicing yoga, tantra, and have been for thousands of years.  We welcome allopathy's explorations, and confirmations, of the myriad positive influences of the broad spectrum of yogic practices and the human potentialities these practices affect, while true and ethical discoveries and confirmations germane to human excellence and evolution should be led by ethical practitioners who have already experienced the substantially positive influences of yoga, of tantra, and who will preserve the ethical application of such discoveries and potential inventions for a healthier society for all life on Earth and beyond.  

Guest article

Yoga May Have Positive Effects On Major Psychiatric Disorders, Including Depression, Schizophrenia, ADHD And Sleep Complaints
Yoga has positive effects on mild depression and sleep complaints, even in the absence of drug treatments, and improves symptoms associated with schizophrenia and ADHD in patients on medication, according to a systematic review of the exercise on major clinical psychiatric disorders.  

Published in the open-access journal,Frontiers in Psychiatry, the review of more than one hundred studies focusing on 16 high-quality controlled studies looked at the effects of yoga on depression, schizophrenia, ADHD, sleep complaints, eating disorders and cognition problems.  

Yoga in popular culture 

Yoga is a popular exercise and is practiced by 15.8 million adults in the United States alone, according to a survey by the Harris Interactive Service Bureau, and its holistic goal of promoting psychical and mental health is widely held in popular belief.  

"However, yoga has become such a cultural phenomenon that it has become difficult for physicians and patients to differentiate legitimate claims from hype," wrote the authors in their study.  "Our goal was to examine whether the evidence matched the promise." 

Benefits of the exercise were found for all mental health illnesses included in the review, except for eating disorders and cognition problems as the evidence for these was conflicting or lacking.  

Dr. P. Murali Doraiswamy, a professor of psychiatry and medicine at Duke University Medical Center, US, and author of the study, explained that the emerging scientific evidence in support of the 5,000 year old Indian practice on psychiatric disorders is "highly promising" and showed that yoga may not only help to improve symptoms, but also may have an ancillary role in the prevention of stress-related mental illnesses.  

The review found evidence from biomarker studies showing that yoga influences key elements of the human body thought to play a role in mental health in similar ways to that of antidepressants and psychotherapy.  One study found that the exercise affects neurotransmitters, inflammation, oxidative stress, lipids, growth factors and second messengers.  

Unmet need among mental health patients 

Depression alone affects more than 350 million people globally and is the leading cause of disability worldwide, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).  On World Mental Health Day last year, the WHO called for improved access to treatments.  

While there has been an increase in the number of medications available for mental health disorders, many of which can be life saving for patients, there remains "a considerable unmet need," according to Dr. Meera Balasubramaniam, lead author of the study, who is also based at Duke University, US.  

Poor compliance and relapse as well as treatment resistance are growing problems, and medications are expensive and can leave patients with significant side effects.  

The Primary Care study, carried out by WHO, found that 60% of patients were still depressed after a year of being treated with an anti-depressant and a National Institute of Mental Health funded research showed remission in only one-third of patients.  

"The search for improved treatments, including non-drug based, to meet the holistic needs of patients is of paramount importance and we call for more research into yoga as a global priority," said Doraiswamy.  "If the promise of yoga on mental health was found in a drug, it would be the best selling medication world-wide," he added.  

There are many benefits associated with practicing yoga for improving mental health, including, fewer side effects, relatively low cost, generally good access and the improvement of physical fitness, added the authors.  

The authors also note that while the results are promising, the findings should be viewed as preliminary because all studies of yoga to date have consisted of small samples, and more rigorous research will be needed before the exercise can be applied to help patients with mental health disorders. 

Article Information: 
Yoga on our Minds: A Systematic Review of Yoga for Neuropsychiatric Disorders. Authors: Meera Balasubramaniam, Shirley Telles and P. Murali Doraiswamy. 
Front. Psychiatry DOI=10.3389/fpsyt.2012.00117 
URL:http://www.frontiersin.org/Affective_Disorders_and_Psychosomatic_Research/10.3389/fpsyt.2012.00117/abstract
Frontiers


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Sparkling Minds Expanding with the Universe
Instructor in Tantra Psychology, presenting rational articulation of intuitional science with cogent practical exercises bringing greater personal awareness and cultivation of subtler realms, imbuing new and meaningful talents into participants' lives.  Explore further bringing such capabilities into your realm, both personal and at work.  Contact HERE

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Out of Body Experiences at Will: University Researchers Explore Woman's Brain

Guest article
Mind, Brain, Neurology, and Yoga

Woman who can project from body at will is studied by University of Ottawa research team, providing evidence of extraordinary brain activity during astral projections.

By Sarah Griffiths


  • Researchers at the University of Ottawa, Canada, studied the brain activity of a student who can drift outside her own body at will

  • Scientists believe the left side of several areas of the brain associated with kinaesthetic imagery are responsible for extra-corporeal experiences

  • They think the experiences could be more common than thought or that people only retain the ability to have them if they practice from childhood



  • People have long been fascinated by out-of-body experiences - are they just tricks of the mind or do they have some sort of spiritual significance?  

    Now new research has shed light on what it terms as 'extra-corporeal experiences' by studying the brain activity of a Canadian woman who claims she can drift outside her own body at will.  

    Scientists believe the left side of several areas of the brain associated with kinaesthetic imagery (the perception of the sensation of moving) are responsible for the sensation of being able to leave your body and float above it – and that more people might have similar experiences than thought.  

    Scientists believe the left side of several areas of the brain associated with kinaesthetic imagery are responsible for the sensation of being able to leave your body and float above it. Increased activity was seen in the middle and superior orbitofrontal gyri (A,B,D) the supramarginal gyrus (B) and inferior temporal gyrus (D)
    Scientists believe the left side of several areas of the brain associated with kinaesthetic imagery are responsible for the sensation of being able to leave your body and float above it. Increased activity was seen in the middle and superior orbitofrontal gyri (A,B,D) the supramarginal gyrus (B) and inferior temporal gyrus (D)

    Researchers at the University of Ottawa came across a psychology graduate who admitted she could have voluntary out-of-body experiences before she fell asleep.

      The 24-year-old revealed she is able to see herself floating and rotating horizontally in the air above her body and can sometimes watch herself from above while remaining aware of her real body.  

      However, as she said she feels no emotions when she has the experiences, the scientists decided to classify her experiences as extra-corporeal experiences (ECE) as strong emotions such as shock, often accompany out-of-body experiences, Popular Science reported.  

      Researchers came across a psychology graduate who admitted she could have voluntary out-of-body experiences before she fell asleep. The 24-year-old revealed she is able to see herself floating horizontally in the air above her body, rotating and can sometimes watch herself from above (illustrated)
      Researchers came across a psychology graduate who admitted she could have voluntary out-of-body experiences before she fell asleep. The 24-year-old revealed she is able to see herself floating horizontally in the air above her body, rotating and can sometimes watch herself from above (illustrated)

      THE STUDENT’S DESCRIPTION OF HER EXTRA CORPOREAL EXPERIENCE

      ‘I feel myself moving, or, more accurately, can make myself feel as if I am moving,’ the student told the researchers, who documented her report in their study.  

      ‘I know perfectly well that I am not actually moving.  There is no duality of body and mind when this happens, not really.  

      'In fact, I am hyper-sensitive to my body at that point, because I am concentrating so hard on the sensation of moving.  

      ‘I am the one moving – me – my body.  For example, if I “spin” for long enough, I get dizzy.  

      ‘I do not see myself above my body.  Rather, my whole body has moved up.  I feel it as being above where I know it actually is.  

      ‘I usually also picture myself as moving up in my mind’s eye, but the mind is not substantive.  It does not move unless the body does,’ she said.

      Andra Smith and Claude Messier used a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner to examine the student’s brain and believe she is the first person studied to have an ECE on demand without any brain abnormalities.  

      They discovered that the ECE involved a ‘strong deactivation of the visual cortex’.  

      But it also ‘activated the left side of several areas associated with kinesthetic imagery’ in the brain, which the scientists think is what cause mental representations of bodily movement.  

      While the researchers have acknowledged the rarity of finding someone to study who can have ECEs on demand, they believe that outer-body-experiences could be more common than thought.  

      This idea is based on the fact that the student thought that being able to float outside her body was not unusual.
      According to the study: ‘The participant described her experience as one she began performing as a child when bored with “sleep time” at preschool.   

      She discovered she could elicit the experience of moving above her body and used this as a distraction during the time kids were asked to nap. She continued to perform this experience as she grew up assuming, as mentioned, that “everyone could do it.”’  

      The scientists discovered that the extra-corporeal experiences (ECE) involved a 'strong deactivation of the visual cortex' (pictured). A shows the right side and B the left)
      The scientists discovered that the extra-corporeal experiences (ECE) involved a 'strong deactivation of the visual cortex' (pictured). A shows the right side and B the left)

      ‘She appeared surprised that not everyone could experience this,’ the researchers wrote in the study, which was published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.  

      The scientists think there is a ‘possibility that this phenomenon may have a significant incidence but [is] unreported because people do not think this is exceptional.’  

      They also theorised that ‘the ability might be present in infancy but is lost without regular practice.’  

      The scientists think there is a 'possibility that this phenomenon may have a significant incidence but [is] unreported because people do not think this is exceptional.' They also theorised that 'the ability might be present in infancy (illustrated with a  stock image) but is lost without regular practice'
      The scientists think there is a 'possibility that this phenomenon may have a significant incidence but [is] unreported because people do not think this is exceptional.' They also theorised that 'the ability might be present in infancy (illustrated with a stock image) but is lost without regular practice'


      Do the mysteries of and about shamanism, meditation, tantra, yoga, mindfulness, intuition, and consciousness seem, at times, to be more confusing than you can grasp?  http://bit.ly/MysticalPresentations3

      Sparkling Minds Expanding with the Universe
      Instructor in Tantra Psychology, presenting rational articulation of intuitional science with cogent practical exercises bringing greater personal awareness and cultivation of subtler realms, imbuing new and meaningful talents into participants' lives.  Explore further bringing such capabilities into your realm, both personal and at work.  Contact HERE

      Making a difference for the psychic, moral and physical development of youth, make a difference through and for our Youth Intuitional Development Program


      Mindfulness And Yoga Help At-Risk Kids Cope With Stress

      PBS NewsHour reports on how a Stanford University backed project is bringing yoga and mindfulness practices to Cesar Chavez Academy where middle schoolers, at such a young age, are already showing signs of PTSD just by living their daily lives.  
      According to Dr. Victor Carrion, a professor at Stanford University’s School of Medicine and head of Early Life Stress Research Program who is overseeing the project at Cesar Chavez Academy, up to 30 percent of children living in low-income, high-crime neighborhoods will show signs of PTSD which can in turn affect and impair their ability to learn.  In fact, there is a link between stress and behavior that actually shows up in the chemicals and activity of the brain.  But Dr. Carrion is hoping to help the kids at Cesar Chavez by providing the tools of  yoga to ease the stress before things go too far.  
      Says Michael Fu, a Stanford University medical student involved in the project:
      “The principals of mindfulness really try to make you focus on the present moment.  So whether or not you came in this morning experiencing something stressful at home or something bad happened, for you to be able to come into the classroom and really embrace it and embrace the learning, I think it really allows students to reach their potential.”  
      While it took a little while to get the kids to be OK with doing poses and breathing in front of everyone else (these are middle schoolers, we’re talking about!), students are showing improvements in their attitude and reactions, which can translate into better learning abilities, and environments, as well as more positive temperments overall.  
      “When I get home, I want to play, but [my mother] doesn’t let me because it’s too dark now.  And I get so mad,” says student Brayan Solorio.  ”And then I put my yoga mat that they give me, and I start using it.  The difference is that I’m angry, and then as soon as I use it, I’m not angry no more.  It calms me down.”  
      Principal Amika Guillaume echoes young Brayan adding, “If we can get kids to the point that they realize that, oh, I’m getting hotheaded, oh, my adrenaline is flowing, I am not thinking clearly, I need to stop, step back and reassess, then maybe we have a chance.”  
      Watch the full PBS NewsHour report.  It’s an inspiring and sobering look at how yoga can make a real difference for current and future generations even in its simplest of forms.  


      Do the mysteries of and about shamanism, meditation, tantra, yoga, mindfulness, intuition, and consciousness seem, at times, to be more confusing than you can grasp?  http://bit.ly/MysticalPresentations3

      Sparkling Minds Expanding with the Universe
      Instructor in Tantra Psychology, presenting rational articulation of intuitional science with cogent practical exercises bringing greater personal awareness and cultivation of subtler realms, imbuing new and meaningful talents into participants' lives.  Explore further bringing such capabilities into your realm, both personal and at work.  Contact HERE

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      Monday, January 27, 2014

      Some Icons in Science from Southern Asia

      A few of several South Asian iconic contributors to science and history.  Corrections, such as place of birth, have been placed in brackets [ ].  

      Influences do not always, or ever, flow in a straight line, negative consequences of what may be propounded may not always play out ethically in society, whether retaining accuracy of renderings or morphing them into inaccuracies, for whatever reason.   



      ARYABHATT
      (476 CE) MASTER ASTRONOMER AND MATHEMATICIAN 




      Born in 476 CE in Kusumpur (Bihar), Aryabhatt's intellectual brilliance remapped the boundaries of mathematics and astronomy. In 499 CE, at the age of 23, he wrote a text on astronomy and an unparallel treatise on mathematics called "Aryabhatiyam." He formulated the process of calculating the motion of planets and the time of eclipses. Aryabhatt was the first to proclaim that the earth is round, it rotates on its axis, orbits the sun and is suspended in space - 1000 years before Copernicus published his heliocentric theory. He is also acknowledged for calculating p (Pi) to four decimal places: 3.1416 and the sine table in trigonometry. Centuries later, in 825 CE, the Arab mathematician, Mohammed Ibna Musa credited the value of Pi to the Indians, "This value has been given by the Hindus." And above all, his most spectacular contribution was the concept of zero without which modern computer technology would have been non-existent. Aryabhatt was a colossus in the field of mathematics. 


      BHASKARACHARYA II

      (1114-1183 CE)  


      GENIUS IN ALGEBRA

      Born in the obscure village of Vijjadit (Jalgaon) in Maharastra, Bhaskaracharya's work in Algebra, Arithmetic and Geometry catapulted him to fame and immortality. His renowned mathematical works called "Lilavati" and "Bijaganita" are considered to be unparalled and a memorial to his profound intelligence. Its translation in several languages of the world bear testimony to its eminence. In his treatise "Siddhant Shiromani" he writes on planetary positions, eclipses, cosmography, mathematical techniques and astronomical equipment. In the "Surya Siddhant" he makes a note on the force of gravity: "Objects fall on earth due to a force of attraction by the earth. Therefore, the earth, planets, constellations, moon, and sun are held in orbit due to this attraction." Bhaskaracharya was the first to discover gravity, 500 years before Sir Isaac Newton. He was the champion among mathematicians of ancient and medieval India. His works fired the imagination of Persian and European scholars, who through research on his works earned fame and popularity. 


      ACHARYA KANAD

      (600 BCE)  


      FOUNDER OF ATOMIC THEORY

      As the founder of "Vaisheshik Darshan"- one of six principal philosophies of India - Acharya Kanad was a genius in philosophy. He is believed to have been born in Prabhas Kshetra near Dwarika in Gujarat. He was the pioneer expounder of realism, law of causation and the atomic theory. He has classified all the objects of creation into nine elements, namely: earth, water, light, wind, ether, time, space, mind and soul. He says, "Every object of creation is made of atoms which in turn connect with each other to form molecules." His statement ushered in the Atomic Theory for the first time ever in the world, nearly 2500 years before John Dalton. Kanad has also described the dimension and motion of atoms and their chemical reactions with each other. The eminent historian, T.N. Colebrook, has said, "Compared to the scientists of Europe, Kanad and other Indian scientists were the global masters of this field."  


      NAGARJUNA (100 CE)  


      WIZARD OF CHEMICAL SCIENCE
      He was an extraordinary wizard of science born in the nondescript village of Baluka in Madhya Pradesh. His dedicated research for twelve years produced maiden discoveries and inventions in the faculties of chemistry and metallurgy. Textual masterpieces like "Ras Ratnakar," "Rashrudaya" and "Rasendramangal" are his renowned contributions to the science of chemistry. Where the medieval alchemists of England failed, Nagarjuna had discovered the alchemy of transmuting base metals into gold. As the author of medical books like "Arogyamanjari" and "Yogasar," he also made significant contributions to the field of curative medicine. Because of his profound scholarliness and versatile knowledge, he was appointed as Chancellor of the famous University of Nalanda. Nagarjuna's milestone discoveries impress and astonish the scientists of today. 


      ACHARYA CHARAK

      (600 BCE)  

      FATHER OF MEDICINE

      Acharya Charak has been crowned as the Father of Medicine. His renowned work, the "Charak Samhita", is considered as an encyclopedia of Ayurveda. His principles, diagoneses, and cures retain their potency and truth even after a couple of millennia. When the science of anatomy was confused with different theories in Europe, Acharya Charak revealed through his innate genius and enquiries the facts on human anatomy, embryology, pharmacology, blood circulation and diseases like diabetes, tuberculosis, heart disease, etc. In the "Charak Samhita" he has described the medicinal qualities and functions of 100,000 herbal plants. He has emphasized the influence of diet and activity on mind and body. He has proved the correlation of spirituality and physical health contributed greatly to diagnostic and curative sciences. He has also prescribed and ethical charter for medical practitioners two centuries prior to the Hippocratic oath. Through his genius and intuition, Acharya Charak made landmark contributions to Ayurvedal. He forever remains etched in the annals of history as one of the greatest and noblest of rishi-scientists.  


      ACHARYA SUSHRUT (600 BCE)  



      FATHER OF PLASTIC SURGERY

      A genius who has been glowingly recognized in the annals of medical science. Born to sage Vishwamitra, Acharya Sudhrut details the first ever surgery procedures in "Sushrut Samhita," a unique encyclopedia of surgery He is venerated as the father of plastic surgery and the science of anesthesia. When surgery was in its infancy in Europe, Sushrut was performing Rhinoplasty (restoration of a damaged nose) and other challenging operations. In the "Sushrut Samhita," he prescribes treatment for twelve types of fractures and six types of dislocations. His details on human embryology are simply amazing. Sushrut used 125 types of surgical instruments including scalpels, lancets, needles, Cathers and rectal speculums; mostly designed from the jaws of animals and birds. He has also described a number of stitching methods; the use of horse's hair as thread and fibers of bark. In the "Sushrut Samhita," and fibers of bark. In the "Sushrut Samhita," he details 300 types of operations. The ancient Indians were the pioneers in amputation, caesarian and cranial surgeries. Acharya Sushrut was a giant in the arena of medical science.


      VARAHAMIHIR (499-587 CE)  

      EMINENT ASTROLOGER AND ASTRONOMERA
      Renowned astrologer and astronomer who was honored with a special decoration and status as one of the nine gems in the court of King Vikramaditya in Avanti (Ujjain). Varahamihir's book "panchsiddhant" holds a prominent place in the realm of astronomy. He notes that the moon and planets are lustrous not because of their own light but due to sunlight. In the "Bruhad Samhita" and "Bruhad Jatak," he has revealed his discoveries in the domains of geography, constellation, science, botany and animal science. In his treatise on botanical science, Varamihir presents cures for various diseases afflicting plants and trees. The rishi-scientist survives through his unique contributions to the science of astrology and astronomy.  


      ACHARYA PATANJALI (200 BCE)  



      FATHER OF YOGA

      The Science of Yoga is one of several unique contributions of India to the world. It seeks to discover and realize the ultimate Reality through yogic practices. Acharya Patanjali, the founder, hailed from the district of [Patun village of Burdwan, in West Bengal today]. He prescribed the control of prana (life breath) as the means to control the body, mind and soul. This subsequently rewards one with good health and inner happiness. Acharya Patanjali's 84 yogic postures effectively enhance the efficiency of the respiratory, circulatory, nervous, digestive and endocrine systems and many other organs of the body. Yoga has eight limbs where Acharya Patanjali shows the attainment of the ultimate bliss of God in samadhi through the disciplines of: yam, niyam, asan, pranayam, pratyahar, dhyan and dharna. The Science of Yoga has gained popularity because of its scientific approach and benefits. Yoga also holds the honored place as one of six philosophies in the Indian philosophical system. Acharya Patanjali will forever be remembered and revered as a pioneer in the science of self-discipline, happiness and self-realization.  


      ACHARYA BHARADWAJ (800 BCE)  




      PIONEER OF AVIATION TECHNOLOGY

      Acharya Bharadwaj had a hermitage in the holy city of Prayag and was an ordent apostle of Ayurveda and mechanical sciences. He authored the "Yantra Sarvasva" which includes astonishing and outstanding discoveries in aviation science, space science and flying machines. He has described three categories of flying machines: 1.) One that flies on earth from one place to another. 2.) One that travels from one planet to another. 3.) And One that travels from one universe to another. His designs and descriptions have impressed and amazed aviation engineers of today. His brilliance in aviation technology is further reflected through techniques described by him:
      1.) Profound Secret: The technique to make a flying machine invisible through the application of sunlight and wind force.
      2.) Living Secret: The technique to make an invisible space machine visible through the application of electrical force.
      3.) Secret of Eavesdropping: The technique to listen to a conversation in another plane.
      4.) Visual Secrets: The technique to see what's happening inside another plane.
      Through his innovative and brilliant discoveries, Acharya Bharadwaj has been recognized as the pioneer of aviation technology.  


      ACHARYA KAPIL (3000 BCE)  
      
      


      FATHER OF COSMOLOGY

      Celebrated as the founder of Sankhya philosophy, Acharya Kapil is believed to have been born in {Pati Jhalda] around 3000 BCE to the illustrious sage Kardam and Devhuti. He gifted the world with the Sankhya School of Thought. His pioneering work threw light on the nature and principles of the ultimate Soul (Purusha), primal matter (Prakruti) and creation. His concept of transformation of energy and profound commentaries on atma, non-atma and the subtle elements of the cosmos places him in an elite class of master achievers - incomparable to the discoveries of other cosmologists. On his assertion that Prakruti, with the inspiration of Purusha, is the mother of cosmic creation and all energies, he contributed a new chapter in the science of cosmology. Because of his extrasensory observations and revelations on the secrets of creation.


      Video, in review for accuracy:  


      ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

      Do the mysteries of and about shamanism, meditation, tantra, yoga, mindfulness, intuition, and consciousness seem, at times, to be more confusing than you can grasp?  http://bit.ly/MysticalPresentations3

      Sparkling Minds Expanding with the Universe
      Instructor in Tantra Psychology, presenting rational articulation of intuitional science with cogent practical exercises bringing greater personal awareness and cultivation of subtler realms, imbuing new and meaningful talents into participants' lives.  Explore further bringing such capabilities into your realm, both personal and at work.  Contact HERE

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      Saturday, December 7, 2013

      Proof Meditation Produces Molecular Changes in Genes

      Guest article
      Mind, Brain, Neurology

      by Michael Forrester

      With evidence growing that training the mind or inducing specific modes of consciousness can have beneficial health effects, scientists have sought to understand how these practices physically affect the body. A new study by researchers in Wisconsin, Spain, and France reports the first evidence of specific molecular changes in the body following a period of intensive mindfulness practice.

      The study investigated the effects of a day of intensive mindfulness practice in a group of experienced meditators, compared to a group of untrained control subjects who engaged in quiet non-meditative activities. After eight hours of mindfulness practice, the meditators showed a range of genetic and molecular differences, including altered levels of gene-regulating machinery and reduced levels of pro-inflammatory genes, which in turn correlated with faster physical recovery from a stressful situation.

      “To the best of our knowledge, this is the first paper that shows rapid alterations in gene expression within subjects associated with mindfulness meditation practice,” says study author Richard J. Davidson, founder of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds and the William James and Vilas Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

      “Most interestingly, the changes were observed in genes that are the current targets of anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs,” says Perla Kaliman, first author of the article and a researcher at the Institute of Biomedical Research of Barcelona, Spain (IIBB-CSIC-IDIBAPS), where the molecular analyses were conducted. The study was published in the Journal Psychoneuroendocrinology. 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. The new results provide a possible biological mechanism for therapeutic effects.

      Gene Activity Can Change According To Perception 

      According to Dr. Bruce Lipton, gene activity can change on a daily basis. If the perception in your mind is reflected in the chemistry of your body, and if your nervous system reads and interprets the environment and then controls the blood’s chemistry, then you can literally change the fate of your cells by altering your thoughts.

      In fact, Dr. Lipton’s research illustrates that by changing your perception, your mind can alter the activity of your genes and create over thirty thousand variations of products from each gene. He gives more detail by saying that the gene programs are contained within the nucleus of the cell, and you can rewrite those genetic programs through changing your blood chemistry.

      In the simplest terms, this means that we need to change the way we think if we are to heal cancer. “The function of the mind is to create coherence between our beliefs and the reality we experience,” Dr. Lipton said. “What that means is that your mind will adjust the body’s biology and behavior to fit with your beliefs. If you’ve been told you’ll die in six months and your mind believes it, you most likely will die in six months. That’s called the nocebo effect, the result of a negative thought, which is the opposite of the placebo effect, where healing is mediated by a positive thought.”

      That dynamic points to a three-party system: there’s the part of you that swears it doesn’t want to die (the conscious mind), trumped by the part that believes you will (the doctor’s prognosis mediated by the subconscious mind), which then throws into gear the chemical reaction (mediated by the brain’s chemistry) to make sure the body conforms to the dominant belief. (Neuroscience has recognized that the subconscious controls 95 percent of our lives.)

      Now what about the part that doesn’t want to die--the conscious mind? Isn’t it impacting the body’s chemistry as well? Dr. Lipton said that it comes down to how the subconscious mind, which contains our deepest beliefs, has been programmed. It is these beliefs that ultimately cast the deciding vote.

      “It’s a complex situation,” said Dr. Lipton. People have been programmed to believe that they’re victims and that they have no control. We’re programmed from the start with our mother and father’s beliefs. So, for instance, when we got sick, we were told by our parents that we had to go to the doctor because the doctor is the authority concerning our health. We all got the message throughout childhood that doctors were the authority on health and that we were victims of bodily forces beyond our ability to control. The joke, however, is that people often get better while on the way to the doctor. That’s when the innate ability for self-healing kicks in, another example of the placebo effect.


      Mindfulness Practice Specifically Affects Regulatory Pathways
      The results of Davidson's study show a down-regulation of genes that have been implicated in inflammation. The affected genes include the pro-inflammatory genes RIPK2 and COX2 as well as several histone deacetylase (HDAC) genes, which regulate the activity of other genes epigenetically by removing a type of chemical tag. What’s more, the extent to which some of those genes were downregulated was associated with faster cortisol recovery to a social stress test involving an impromptu speech and tasks requiring mental calculations performed in front of an audience and video camera.

      Biologists have suspected for years that some kind of epigenetic inheritance occurs at the cellular level. The different kinds of cells in our bodies provide an example. Skin cells and brain cells have different forms and functions, despite having exactly the same DNA. There must be mechanisms--other than DNA--that make sure skin cells stay skin cells when they divide.

      Perhaps surprisingly, the researchers say, there was no difference in the tested genes between the two groups of people at the start of the study. The observed effects were seen only in the meditators following mindfulness practice. In addition, several other DNA-modifying genes showed no differences between groups, suggesting that the mindfulness practice specifically affected certain regulatory pathways.

      The key result is that meditators experienced genetic changes following mindfulness practice that were not seen in the non-meditating group after other quiet activities -- an outcome providing proof of principle that mindfulness practice can lead to epigenetic alterations of the genome.

      Previous studies in rodents and in people have shown dynamic epigenetic responses to physical stimuli such as stress, diet, or exercise within just a few hours.

      “Our genes are quite dynamic in their expression and these results suggest that the calmness of our mind can actually have a potential influence on their expression,” Davidson says.

      “The regulation of HDACs and inflammatory pathways may represent some of the mechanisms underlying the therapeutic potential of mindfulness-based interventions,” Kaliman says. “Our findings set the foundation for future studies to further assess meditation strategies for the treatment of chronic inflammatory conditions.”


      Subconscious Beliefs Are Key

      Too many positive thinkers know that thinking good thoughts--and reciting affirmations for hours on end--doesn’t always bring about the results that feel-good books promise.

      Dr. Lipton didn’t argue this point, because positive thoughts come from the conscious mind, while contradictory negative thoughts are usually programmed in the more powerful subconscious mind.

      “The major problem is that people are aware of their conscious beliefs and behaviors, but not of subconscious beliefs and behaviors. Most people don’t even acknowledge that their subconscious mind is at play, when the fact is that the subconscious mind is a million times more powerful than the conscious mind and that we operate 95 to 99 percent of our lives from subconscious programs.
      “Your subconscious beliefs are working either for you or against you, but the truth is that you are not controlling your life, because your subconscious mind supersedes all conscious control. So when you are trying to heal from a conscious level--citing affirmations and telling yourself you’re healthy--there may be an invisible subconscious program that’s sabotaging you.”

      The power of the subconscious mind is elegantly revealed in people expressing multiple personalities. While occupying the mind-set of one personality, the individual may be severely allergic to strawberries. Then, in experiencing the mind-set of another personality, he or she eats them without consequence.

      The new science of epigenetics promises that every person on the planet has the opportunity to become who they really are, complete with unimaginable power and the ability to operate from, and go for, the highest possibilities, including healing our bodies and our culture and living in peace.


      Sources:  
      wisc.edu
      brucelipton.com
      ts-si.org

      Michael Forrester is a spiritual counselor and is a practicing motivational speaker for corporations in Japan, Canada and the United States.


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