Can Meditation Boost Your Immune System?

Today’s fast-paced lifestyle puts many of us in a position to ignore our physical health. Our bodies may be sending us messages through various aches and pains, but we ignore the signs as we continue to shuffle forward through our daily grind. This is an easy habit to fall into especially during times of stress, grief or transition. Research in the 1980’s unearthed a mind-body connection in which it was demonstrated that the immune system is rather intelligent. It can transmit and receive messages to and from the brain. Further research over the years has pointed to the fact that meditation can, indeed, boost your immune system. Read on to discover how it works.

Increases Antibodies

A University of Wisconsin study set out to determine whether immune function could be affected by mindful meditation. In his research, professor Richard Davidson injected the flu virus into two groups of participants. One group received training in meditation for eight weeks, while the other did not. The results showed that the meditating group actually had a significantly higher level of antibodies in their system than the control group. Antibodies protect us from potential illness.

Reduces Reduction in Immune Cells

In a study of HIV positive patients at UCLA, a marked reduction of CD-4 cells was noted in those patients who practiced mindfulness meditation for a prescribed time period, while those who simply took part in a one-day educational workshop on the topic experienced no drop in these cells. CD-4 cells are the valuable immune cells that are attacked by the virus that causes HIV. Patients who are able to maintain higher counts of these cells succumb less readily to the disease’s symptoms.

Strengthens Immune System Command Center in the Brain

The areas of the brain that act together as a sort of command center for the immune system are the prefrontal cortex, the right anterior insula and the hippocampus. Mindfulness meditation actually increases electrical activity in these areas, allowing the immune system to perform better and more effectively.

Decreases Inflammatory Response in the Brain

The positive emotional effects that occur when you practice meditation do more than make you feel good. They actually help your immune system to flourish. A study of older adults points to a reduction in pro-inflammatory gene expression in those who engaged in mindfulness meditation training, along with a decrease in reported loneliness.

The immune system controls how your body responds to invading illnesses. When it’s performing efficiently and is at its strongest, you’re able to better stave off getting sick. Because of its numerous positive effects on brain function and your immune system, meditation has proven to have an impact on the maintenance of health and well-being. This is yet one more reason to invest some time in developing your own focused meditation practice on your road to spirituality.

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Love,

Charity xo

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