Our immune system is not just a physical mechanism that fights disease. It transmits our thoughts and moods to our cells. Let’s make sure we send the right messages.
The immune system is one of the most critical and fascinating aspects of the mind-body connection. It was believed for a long time that the ability of antibodies to attack invading disease organisms was considered purely physical, even though the mechanism was not completely understood.
In the 80s was discovered that the immune system is highly intelligent. It became known as “a floating brain” due to the ability of the antibodies to participate in the chemical messages sent by the brain throughout the body. This means that thoughts, moods, sensations, and expectations are transmitted to the immune cells. During meditation these messages change in important ways.
New research findings show the benefits of meditation on the immune system:
Immune system responds to both negative and positive thoughts, meditation creates a positive mental environment for the immune system to flourish. Studies showed a reduction of pro-inflammatory gene expression in older adults.
A recent study confirmed that Meditation boosts antibodies. After 8 weeks of weekly meditation training, 48 people had significantly higher levels of antibodies than the control group who didn’t meditate, as well as higher levels than before the study.
Meditation stimulates immune system brain-function regions. Mindfulness meditation has shown increases in electrical activity in the prefrontal cortex, the right anterior insula, and right hippocampus, all parts that control positive emotions, awareness, and anxiety. These are also the areas of the brain that act as a command centre for the immune system. When stimulated, they make the immune system function more effectively.
We can conclude by this research that the response to potential illness by the immune system, improves with meditation. Also, the risk of being susceptible to chronic disorders like type-2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and high blood pressure, conditions that are not the result of invading microbes, is also reduced through meditation. The entire mind-body system is brought into a natural state of balance, the key to good health.
There are a few things that we can do to prevent illness and keep healthy:
Keep up daily meditation, at least 15 minutes per day.
Reduce and avoid stress, since the immune system is compromised when stress hormones surge.
Seriously address low-level chronic stresses that may be present at home or work since it does not help the immune system by putting up with constant “minor” stress.
Get adequate sleep, which is directly connected to brain function and hormone levels.
Wash hands several times a day, and always after direct contact with someone else’s skin.