So – it seems that there is some scientific evidence starting to mount that Mediatation can improve your physical health.
The vagus nerve controls the production of tumor necrosis factor (TNF), a protein that signals the body to mount an inflammatory response. Decreasing vagus nerve activity ups TNF synthesis, whereas increasing vagus nerve activity limits TNF production and therefore inflammation.
Though inflammation can be useful in fighting infection, excessive inflammation can cause disease, such as Crohn’s disease or rheumatoid arthritis.
Tracey’s research opened the door to treating inflammatory diseases with drugs or devices that control vagus nerve activity, an approach that has proven successful in animals.
But at the conference, Tracey raised the possibility that vagus nerve activity, and therefore inflammation, could also be controlled mentally.
Meditation has been shown to slow heart rate via signals that travel down the vagus nerve. Those same signals, Tracey speculates, may also dampen immune response, making it possible for people to ease the symptoms of inflammatory diseases through exercises such as meditation and yoga.
We know that Mediation seems to have profound effects on the mind, spirit and body. Mediation can lead to a trance state – which is what hypnotists use to effect changes on their subjects.
We have also seen the incredible ‘mind over body’ that intense concentration can give – granting folks the ability to overcome great amounts of pain or discomfort. How do we explain these feats?
I think that this is the first step towards the West recognizing that the Eastern Mystical traditions might be based on some physical evidence.