Posts Tagged ‘genetic analysis’
Stress has been listed as one of the major causative factors for preventable disease. it is known to set in to motion an unhealthy chain of events within the body, causing damage to health. just as damage can be derived from stress related illness, studies now show that the body can be healed through using techniques that calm the mind and body by evoking the relaxation response.
This response can be elicited through any of the practices listed under the focused relaxation umbrella such as yoga, tai chi, guided imagery, visualization, progressive muscle relaxation and meditation, just to scratch the surface. These techniques are being used to manage all kinds of pain, infertility, insomnia, and numerous health conditions.
Dr. Herbert Benson,who heads the Behavioral Medicine Section at new England Deaconess Hospital in Boston and who also teaches at Harvard Medical School, describes the phenomenon: What we have found is that when you evoke the relaxation response, the very genes that are turned on or off by stress are turned the other way. The mind can actively turn on and turn off genes. The mind is not separated from the body.
New studies are showing that relaxation techniques can actually improve health by changing the patterns of gene activity which affect how the body responds to stress. The positive effects were seen in the genetic analysis of both long-term and short-term users of such techniques. they showed changes in their cellular metabolism, response to oxidative stress and other processes. All of which may contribute to cellular damage from chronic stress.
While these positive outcomes from relaxation techniques were once thought to be all in the head of the user, Scientists are now starting to find more definitive proof that these techniques, that elicit a relaxation response, have a biofeedback mechanism that alters gene expression. this is the first research of its kind, showing the systemic changes produced through focused relaxation techniques.
The work of Dr. Herbert Benson has been ground breaking in the study of the effects of focused relaxation. He is the leading authority on matter. Dr. Benson’s work is part of a new scientific field of study called psychoneuroimmunology or PNI. it draws from psychology, immunology, neurology and other fields to investigate the interaction of mind and body.
In his book, The Relaxation Response, Dr. Benson discusses the actions of the fight or flight response and how, when repeatedly accessed, it can cause harm to the body. He notes, Our studies revealed the opposite was also true. The body is also imbued with what I termed the Relaxation Response – an inducible physiological state of quietude.
He goes on to discuss how the body is able to heal and rejuvenate itself through this process. In explanation he states, Regular elicitation of the Relaxation Response can prevent and compensate for, the damage incurred by frequent nervous reactions that pulse through our hearts and bodies. his research concludes that not only is this process good for health, but it can help to restore it.
In society today, where busyness and multitasking is the norm, it becomes even more important to understand the physical and mental toll that a fast paced lifestyle has on ones health and wellbeing. By understanding and taking measures to counteract the negative effects of stress, you can enhance and potentially prolong your life.
Focused relaxation is a tool that is easy to implement and one to consider as a way to improve personal wellness. Brilliant in its simplicity, many professionals are reluctant to consider it as a viable alternative for traditional treatment methods. However, as more research emerges, it is plausible that acceptance and use of focused relaxation will dramatically rise.
At the very least, regularly evoking the relaxation response allows users to find increased balance and peace. The healing effects that it yields are not just temporary boosts; they can substantially impact your systemic health, making it more resilient to future stressful encounters. this is Part four of a five-part series on the benefits of focused relaxation.