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Meditation, Loneliness and Inflammation

Meditation can help reduce the feeling of loneliness and thus reduce the effects of inflammation in the bodyLearning to meditate might help ease feelings of loneliness among seniors, and the practice may also reduce inflammation in the body and thus decrease risk of serious diseases. Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles and Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh recruited 40 adults - most of them women - between the ages of 55 and 85 to enroll in an eight-week program of mindfulness-based stress reduction. The participants were randomly assigned to a meditation group or a group that didn’t meditate. Those who learned to meditate attended a weekly two-hour session consisting of mindfulness meditation exercises, yoga, stretching and discussions. They also attended a daylong retreat and were instructed to spend 30 minutes per day meditating at home. After completing the training, the participants reported less loneliness, and tests showed a significant decline in the expression of inflammation-related genes. Earlier studies have found that loneliness can increase the risks of heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, depression and premature death, but this one was the first to show that meditation could both decrease loneliness and reduce inflammation.

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Reader Comments (3)

I think it is wonderful how the medical community seems to be finally getting around to confirming what others, I'm thinking eastern mystics here, have known for millenia.

October 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJeff

Exercise is the best activity for weight loss, because it protects the people from symptoms by reducing the fat content and allows them to lead a healthy life.

October 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHealthTips

I think that meditation has very strong healing powers. Thanks for your helpful article on just how helpful meditation really is, Dr. Weil.

Based on this information, I'm going to make an effort to meditate more often and for longer periods of time.

October 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHathor

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