jini-meditate-smMany of you who read this blog and my books already have a good understanding of how important mind/body integration is to the healing process.

Well, here’s a study from researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital and Beth Isreal Deaconess Medical Center showing how the relaxation response (meditation) can not just alleviate pain, anxiety and reduce symptoms – but ALSO results in changes in gene expression of the genes linked to inflammatory pathways!

Meditation “altered expression of more genes in IBD (1059 genes) than in IBS (119 genes). In IBD, reduced expression of RR-MBI response genes was most significantly linked to inflammatory response, cell growth, proliferation, and oxidative stress-related pathways.”

So for those of you who have been downplaying the importance of using relaxation practice in your Healing Journey, now is the time to sweep aside all excuses with this bit of hard science to get you going!

Jini Meditating with Her Horse Zorra

Jini Meditating with Her Horse Zorra

Now in the interests of fair research – although you can tell from these photos that I am a big fan of stillness and connecting the earth and nature – I did ask a friend who is a Medical Geneticist what he thought of this research. I wanted to know if it was exciting or meaningful from a geneticist’s point of view and he replied:

“I don’t put much store by large scale gene expression studies. In general, in good science, if you confirm the same point using 3 different approaches (that are not correlated), then you can have some faith in the conclusions. Usually gene expression studies use one method and sometimes two. This paper only used one method and had a very low cut off score of a 20% change in gene expression; usually 75% is the minimum to avoid noise. They only sampled subjects once so they do not know the reproducibility of their findings in each subject. They used white blood cells as their source material but did not do flow cytometry to account for differing proportions of white blood cell subsets between patients. This is all fine as this was an uncontrolled pilot study so it is designed to raise questions rather than reach conclusions.”

Of course, you can wait for the research, or you can just go test it yourself! I can safely say, from my own experience, that dropping into stillness and openness to source energy is healing in many ways.

Meditation Improves Crohn’s Colitis Symptoms and Gene Expression!

5 thoughts on “Meditation Improves Crohn’s Colitis Symptoms and Gene Expression!

  • I have just finished reading a book called “Full Catastrophe Living” by Jon Kabat-Zinn. It is about using Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Centre. The program participants had quite a lot of success with the various health issues that they were facing. I found the book very inspiring as I have had many years of IBS and other bowel problems. Kind Regards Judith

  • Jini:
    Thanks for bringing this study to our attention. Though numerous other studies since the 1970’s have looked at patient responses subjectively and clinically to some degree with the “relaxation response” as Herbert Benson MD who wrote the classic book by the same name noted, this is one of the first studies I have seen measuring gene expression parameters. No study is perfect and although I appreciate the comments your medical geneticist friend made, if we all waited for absolute proof we might have perished prior to taking advantage of slowing down our pace and allowing our overactive immune systems to do the same.

    Listening to the quietness within us that wants to surface and subduing that nest of hornets in our heads can only help to quiet our flight or fight responses and transcend through our nervous, endocrine and immune systems in a positive fashion.

    I do suggest however that you use a pillow underneath you when you sit on hard pointy rocks!

    Best wishes,


    Paul A. Goldberg, MPH,D.C, DACBN, DCBCN

  • Absolutely! However, I think it’s also important to realize that many people quoting “scientific studies” for proof of X or Y are not even qualified to interpret or properly understand what was being tested, or if the test was carried out properly. Including me!

    So I like to provide that perspective (courtesy of my friend who is one of the top in the world) as a little ‘heads up’ to those of us (and the Internet is rife with us) who go about quoting this and that as “proof”.

    But I also like your comment pointing out that even for people like yourself – who are capable of accurately assessing clinical trials and the stats math used – experiential wisdom trumps all. My friend is also a regular meditator and teaches it too 🙂

  • A very interesting and inspiring article. I think we generally tend to underestimate the importance of mind/body/spirit integration while fighting chronic illnesses – yet it’s so vitally important indeed! Thank you for sharing! Best regards, Natalia

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