Stress, anxiety, and inflammation live within a self-perpetuating ecosystem where — if you boost one, you boost the other two. More stress increases inflammation, which increases anxiety, you get the idea. A toxic circle of life.
The whole medical dictionary, from A to Z, starting with anxiety, can be linked to the body’s chronic inflammation "wildfire," with many nasty diseases the result — addiction, arthritis, asthma, cancer, depression, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity, just to name a few.
Luckily, meditation has extinguished more wildfires than the National Park Service. Here are a couple of ways this is done:
How Meditation Extinguishes Inflammation Genes
According to a recent published study, meditation works "Genie" gene magic on inflammation. What did they find?
After only 8 hours of practice, meditation had "down regulated" several key genes: RIPK2, COX2, & HDAC histone deacetylase — the same genes that anti-inflammatory & analgesic drugs target.
In terms of their abilities, the meditators were found to have very low stress chemicals (cortisol) when giving an impromptu speech, while performing fast and accurate on the spot mental calculations in front of a live audience.
On the implications, study author Richard J. Davidson, Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the UW–Madison, had this to say:
"Our genes are quite dynamic in their expression and these results suggest that the calmness of our mind can actually have a potential influence on their expression."
How Meditation Drys Up Inflammation's "Fuel" Source: Cortisol
Moreover, meditation dramatically reduces another critical brain and body "inflammer", the body's main stress hormone — cortisol. There are quite a few studies showing this powerful link.
With so many of us (unknowingly) running around with our bodies in perpetual fight or flight inflammation mode, putting out the wildfire can dramatically upgrade our mental, physical, and emotional health in unseen ways.
When it comes to the body's multiple disease linked "wildfire", meditation is the world's most expert firefighting team, extinguishing inflammation from every fire-hydrant on the block. All you have to do is make the call.