SHA Magazine Natural therapies
Mindfulness and the immune system
The close relationship between mindfulness and the immune system
We are all aware of the benefits of mindfulness meditation for our mental balance. And it is only now that its effects on immune system health are beginning to be understood. New lines of research suggest important effects of mindfulness meditation on specific markers of inflammation, autoimmunity, and biological ageing, according to an article published in The New York Academy of Sciences.
The influence of meditation on health
Nearly 80% of US medical schools now incorporate mindfulness into their treatment, education, and/or research programmes, according to the prestigious journal JAMA.
Research has shown that it can have beneficial effects on stress-related ailments, psychiatric disorders, and the symptomatology of various diseases. Changes in immune system activity brought about by mindfulness can benefit health by influencing mechanisms known to affect biological ageing.
For example, counteracting a dysregulated or hypersensitive immune system through meditation could improve immune defences that protect against viral and bacterial infections, as well as various age-related diseases, including cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and arthritis, type 2 diabetes, frailty, and some cancers.
The article in The New York Academy of Sciences suggested that “mindfulness meditation modulates some select immune parameters in a manner that suggests a more salutogenic immune profile”.
Specifically, mindfulness mediation appears to be associated with reductions in pro-inflammatory processes, increases in cell-mediated defence parameters, and increases in enzyme activity that protects against cellular ageing.
The immune system and its strengthening have been positioned as the lynchpin of a healthy state of health and, consequently, of healthy ageing. This is something that SHA Wellness Clinic has always worked on, which is why its Healthy Ageing Programme includes mindfulness as a personalised practice.