I wanted to share with you some ground breaking research that shows for the first time that practicing yoga and meditation has a positive, physical impact at the cellular level in women who have had treatment for breast cancer. There is now clear, scientific evidence for the mind-body connection.
Researchers at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre in Canada published their study in the journal, Cancer. The study found that women who had treatment for breast cancer, were able to make a positive physical impact at the cellular level by practicing meditation and yoga during recovery.
The women attended a 90 minute session about yoga and meditation each week and practiced at home for 45 minutes a day for 8 weeks. The study measured the length of telomeres, which are protein complexes at the end of our chromosomes, that determine how quickly a cell ages.
Longer telomeres are thought to be protective against disease while shortened telomeres are associated with a range of disease states. The researchers found that the telomeres, stayed the same length in cancer survivors who meditated or took part in group therapy/support groups, whereas, the telomeres of cancer survivors who didn’t practice yoga and meditation shortened during the study period. Shortened telomeres are associated with DNA damage and cell death and has been linked to earlier mortality in those suffering from a variety of diseases, including breast cancer.
“We already know that psychosocial interventions like mindfulness meditation will help you feel better mentally, but now for the first time we have evidence that they can also influence key aspects of your biology,” says Dr. Linda E. Carlson, PhD, principal investigator and director of research in the Psychosocial Resources Department at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre.
The study is published online in the journal Cancer. It can be found here.
It is exciting to see the scientific community including yoga in their research interventions. We look forward to such research increasing the public’s interest in yoga!
Learn more in our 2-Day Yoga for Cancer workshop.