Study finds health benefits to kirtan-based meditation
A new study by researchers at UCLA has pinpointed the benefits to one type of meditation — it reduces inflammation in the immune system, which in turn causes a variety of chronic illnesses.
The study — coming in your next issue of Psychoneuroendocrinology (what, you don’t get it?) — used Kirtan Kriya Meditation.
Given I’m no science expert, I’ll pass you on to the folks at sciencedaily.com:
Reporting in the current online edition of the journalPsychoneuroendocrinology, Dr. Helen Lavretsky, senior author and a professor of psychiatry at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, and colleagues found in their work with 45 family dementia caregivers that 68 of their genes responded differently after Kirtan Kriya Meditation (KKM), resulting in reduced inflammation.
Research has suggested for some time that psychosocial interventions like meditation reduce the adverse effects of caregiver stress on physical and mental health. However, the pathways by which such psychosocial interventions impact biological processes are poorly understood.
In the study, the participants were randomized into two groups. The meditation group was taught the 12-minute yogic practice that included Kirtan Kriya, which was performed every day at the same time for eight weeks. The other group was asked to relax in a quiet place with their eyes closed while listening to instrumental music on a relaxation CD, also for 12 minutes daily for eight weeks. Blood samples were taken at the beginning of the study and again at the end of the eight weeks.
Kirtan Kriya involves chanting (quietly and silently) and use of different mudras. Here’s more info. It’s a bit of a far cry from asana, in other words. But it is yet another step forward in bridging understanding between Western thought and Eastern practices (to generalize wildly!). Our key piece on the link is here. It’s an interview with Dr. Marshall Hagins, who is working with Eddie Stern on a study that has Ashtanga yoga at its roots. All our posts loosely involving yoga and science are right here.
Our bottom line with this stuff: If you’re living in the West, you have to play by at least some of its rules. And if you can beat the system from within the system, all the better. (Did I just sum up Tron?) So the more yoga can get “validated,” the better — there’s no harm in “proving” what we all know.
Posted by Steve