New research says that practicing meditation has a positive physical impact at the cellular level in breast cancer survivors.
The research gropu found that telomeres, protein complexes at the end of chromosomes, maintain their length in breast cancer survivors, who practice meditation or are involved in support groups.
Telomeres are of two types mainly, shortened telomeres are associated with several disease states as well as cell ageing while longer telomeres are thought to be protective against disease. However, the disease-regulating properties of telomeres are not fully found yet.
Linda E. Carlson, director of research in the psychosocial resources department at Alberta Health Services' Tom Baker Cancer Centre said, "We know that mindfulness meditation will help you feel better mentally but for the first time, we have evidence that they can also influence key aspects of your biology."
The study done in 88 breast cancer survivors.
In the Mindfulness-Based Cancer Recovery group, participants for the study attended eight weekly, 90-minute group sessions that provided instruction on mindfulness meditation and a gentle Hatha form of yoga. Also, participants were asked to practice meditation and yoga at home for 45 minutes daily.
Moreover, in the Supportive Expressive Therapy group, participants met for 90 minutes weekly for 12 weeks and were encouraged to talk openly about their concerns and their feelings.
Carlson said, "It was surprising that we could see any difference in telomere length at all over the three-month period studied."
this is an exciting discovery that provides encouraging news but further research is needed to better quantify these potential health benefits.