Study Suggests Yoga Boosts The Immune System On A Genetic Level

yogaThe results support yoga as a powerful therapy, but more broadly, reinforce the fact that our very genes are affected by our activities and moods. Pacific Standard writes:

Newly published research from Norway suggests that a yoga program rapidly produces internal changes on a genetic level. The results help explain the well-documented health benefits of this ancient practice.

“These data suggest that previously reported effects of yoga practices have an integral physiological component at the molecular level, which is initiated immediately,” writes a research team led by Fahri Saatcioglu of the University of Oslo.

The experiment featured 10 participants who attended a yoga retreat in Germany. For two days, participants spent two hours practicing a comprehensive yoga program and meditation. For the next two days, they spent that same time period going on a nature walk and then listening to jazz or classical music.

Immediately before and after each of the four sessions, the researchers drew blood from each participant. They then isolated and analyzed peripheral blood mononuclear cells, which play a key role in the body’s immune system. The researchers found that the nature walk and music-driven relaxation changed the expression of 38 genes in these circulating immune cells. In comparison, the yoga produced changes in 111.

The researchers note that yoga’s impact was far more widespread, which indicates the practice “may have additional effects over exercise plus simple relaxation in inducing health benefits through differential changes at the molecular level.”

6 Comments on "Study Suggests Yoga Boosts The Immune System On A Genetic Level"

  1. This can’t be true! don’t you know we’re all victims of our genetics?

    This is lamarckian evolution. Heresy! i’ll be damned if this is taught in schools.

  2. BuzzCoastin | May 2, 2013 at 7:11 pm |

    I’ve haven’t tried to measure the benefits of my regularly doing some yoga
    but I know I’m a hell of lot more flexible that most people my age
    and I haven’t had any serious back problems in the 15 years I’ve been doing it
    and it doesn’t require any special equipment or spaces to practice it
    so what’s not to like?

  3. EileenEnfall | May 2, 2013 at 7:53 pm |

    I’ve never touched my toes, well bending from the waist. That’s how inflexible I am! I can barely get past my kneecaps. This is enough to get me to practice yoga. That and having cancer. Two birds with one stone!

  4. Just for starters, this is an unblinded study with a sample size of ten. They didn’t even control for chronology. Since all participants did yoga for the *first* two days of the retreat, it’s quite possible that the only thing this study measures is the diminishing returns of relaxation over time.

    These studies seem to exist only to generate buzz in the media.

  5. Hadrian999 | May 2, 2013 at 11:43 pm |

    just watching yoga gives me all kinds of boosts

  6. Свевлад | May 3, 2013 at 4:07 am |

    2 words…Sect & Schism.

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