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Everybody wants longer and healthier lives. Numerous studies have been conducted on this very topic.
In 2009, Elizabeth Blackburn won the Nobel Prize for her discovery of the protective caps on chromosomes called ‘telomeres’, which links meditation to longer lives.
What does a massage chair have to do with meditation, you might ask? Bodyfriend, one of Healing Touch Massage Chairs’ premium brands, offers a unique way to massage your brain and relax your body.
Let’s first explore how Elizabeth Blackburn’s discovery links meditation to longer life.
(Source: Elephant Journal)
▨ Nobel Prize Winner Shows that Meditation Significantly Slows Aging
In 2009, Elizabeth Blackburn won the Nobel Prize for her discovery of the protective caps on chromosomes called, “telomeres.”
Every time a cell divides, these protective caps wear down, and over time, the telomeres shorten. As the telomeres shorten, the cells start to malfunction and lose their ability to divide. Today, based on Blackburn’s research, scientists use the measure of telomere length as a metric for aging and disease risk.
She also discovered an enzyme called “telomerase,” which protects the chromosomal caps from the wear and tear of cellular division, or aging. Therefore, the more telomerase you have, the longer your telomeres will be; the less telomerase you have, the shorter your telomeres will be. The shorter your telomeres, the more exposed to aging, degeneration and disease you become. (1)
Blackburn set out to find out which factors besides aging caused these telomeres to shorten. Until her research, genes and their genetic expression were thought to be the only factors responsible for telomere length. Blackburn’s theory purporting that one’s environment and psychology could affect telomere length was a very radical idea.
▨ Stress May Take 10 Years Off Your Life
In one of her landmark studies in collaboration with Elissa Epel, Director of the Aging, Metabolism and Emotion Center at UCSF, Blackburn investigated the theory that the more stressed an individual, the lower the telomerase activity. They divided 58 women into two carefully selected groups of highly stressed women and controls. What they found was astonishing! Women with the highest levels of perceived stress, psychological stress and chronic stress had telomeres shorter on average by the equivalent of at least one decade of additional aging compared to low stress women. (2)
▨ Blackburn’s Next Hurdle
Consequently, many more studies were done which supported Blackburn’s theory of stress having a negative impact on the length of the telomeres and therefore accelerated the aging process. Appropriately, the question arose:
Are shorter telomeres a metric for an increased risk of health problems?
The answer was yes, and more studies ensued. One study determined that elderly men who had telomeres measured to be shorter for a period of two and a half years had three times the risk of dying of cardiovascular issues in the next nine years compared to those men whose telomeres stayed the same length or got longer. (1)
In another study by Dr. Mary Armanios, MD at the John Hopkins School of Medicine, the telomere lengths of over 2,000 Native Americans were evaluated. Those with the shortest telomeres were more than twice as likely to develop diabetes during a five and a half year window. (1)
▨ Can Meditation Stop the Shortening of Telomeres?
Dr. Blackburn followed the logical paper trail: shorter telomeres cause accelerated aging, highly stressed people had shorter telomeres, and short telomeres are linked to health concerns.
It then seemed logical to measure the telomeres without the degenerative effects of stress. The paper trail led her to study meditation and the results were impressive.
Less stressed people with longer telomeres had:
○ Improved cognitive ability
○ Less negative thoughts
○ Better purpose of life
○ Improved mindfulness
○ Improved overall health
○ Lived longer
Traditionally, Nobel Prize winners do not study meditation; so kudos to Dr. Blackburn for enduring much professional ridicule and bias, and persevering to follow the path to truth in the name of science. Sadly, it seems too few scientists are willing to do that. (1) Nonetheless, Dr. Blackburn decided to study the effects of meditation on telomere length.
In one small pilot study, a group of 30 volunteers went to Shambhala Mountain Center in Northern Colorado for a three-month meditation retreat. Impressively, the group had a whopping 30% increase in telomerase activity! (3) In addition, this was the first study to link meditation to telomerase activity, and one in a long list of others that support the psychological health benefits of meditation. It was found that meditation supported improved purpose of life, mindfulness, and less negative emotionality compared to the control group.
In another study conducted at UCLA, a group of thirty-nine dementia caregivers with the average age of 60 participated in a chanting meditation called, kirtan kriya for just 12 minutes a day, for eight weeks. They compared this group with another group that listened to relaxing music. The chanting meditation group showed improvement in depressive symptoms, improved mental health and cognitive function compared to the group that listened to relaxing music. The meditation group also showed a 43% increase in telomerase activity compared to the group that listened to relaxing music! (4)
▨ What is Brain Massage?
Brain massage uses binaural beats embedded in our healing music to enhance cognitive performance through guided mediation program. It is known to induce increased focus and concentration, foster positive moods, and provide more effective ways of relieving stress. Combined with our special kneading technique for the entire body, the Brain Massage programs promote deeper states of relaxation.
For more information on Bodyfriend’s Brain Massage, visit www.bodyfriend.com/company/brain-massage
Or if you want to personally experience the power of brain massage, visit Healing Touch in Plano today!
Healing Touch Massage Chairs
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