Written by Dr. Rob Kachko. Supporting optimal immune function is always a central goal of mine as a Naturopathic Doctor. Here’s a summary of two research studies (1,2) linking the role of meditation (which has a myriad of other benefits) to optimal immune function and reduction of stress hormones.
The role of mucosal immunity is crucial in the prevention of sepsis via protection from exposure to opportunistic bacteria. 35 Chinese undergraduate students were taught Integrative Body-Mind Training (IBMT), which includes body relaxation, breathing adjustment, mental imagery, and mindfulness training. The aim of the therapy is to induce a state of restful alertness with improved awareness of body and breathing. The study group practiced IBMT for 4 weeks while the control group practiced a body-centered relaxation technique only. Salivary secretory IgA levels were shown to be increased in the IBMT group, with strong correlations to improved mucosal immune response. Another study assessed the role of Pranic Meditation on phagocyte function, where it was shown in 29 healthy individuals that more than 980 minutes of meditation (including 3-hour weekly training and 20 minute daily session at home) over the course of 10 weeks increases in phagocytosis and monocyte production of hydrogen peroxide along with reductions in plasma levels of corticotrophin.
1. Yaxin Fan, Yi-Yuan Tang, Yinghua Ma, and Michael I. Posner. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. February 2010, 16(2): 151-155. doi:10.1089/acm.2009.0234.
2. César A. Fernandes, Yanna K.M. Nóbrega, and C. Eduardo Tosta. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. August 2012, 18(8): 761-768. doi:10.1089/acm.2010.0718.