A type of extreme meditation known as Inner Engineering has been shown to dramatically increase the body’s natural immune system. The finding also showed success without any drugs or additional medical interventions, offering hope to people fighting a wide range of diseases.
BACKGROUND: MEDITATION BENEFITS ALREADY KNOWN
From improved sleep to better concentration, the anecdotal benefits of meditative practices are already well known. Some of these benefits have even been studied, with numerous positive of meditation results seemingly verified.
Researcher and University of Florida college professor Vijayendran Chandran, Ph.D., says he first learned about Inner Engineering, or the combination of yoga and meditation that emphasizes inner well-being, from his wife, who convinced him to give the practice a try for a period of 48 days.
“I tried it and it worked really well,” said Chandran in a press release announcing his research. “I just felt great.”
This personal result led Chandran to conduct a real-life study of the practice to see if he could zero in on the mechanisms behind the unique approach.
To conduct his study, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Chandran analyzed 338 genetic samples taken from 106 individuals who attended a 2018 Inner Engineering retreat. This involved collecting blood samples from each individual five to eight weeks before the retreat, again just before the retreat started, a third time just after the retreat finished, and one final time three months after the retreat was completed.
During the eight day long retreat itself, the participants stuck to a regimented sleep schedule, ate a vegan diet, didn’t speak, and performed deep Inner Engineering meditation for 10 hours a day.
When Chandran compared the samples taken before and after the retreat using genomic analysis, he found several immune-related cellular pathways had been significantly altered during the retreat. Specifically, 220 genes directly related to the human immune system displayed increased activity after the retreat. 68 of those genes were already associated with interferon signaling, which the study’s press release notes, is “a key part of the body’s anti-virus and anti-cancer responses.”
Furthermore, Chandran says he was able to establish that these benefits came from the meditation, and not the regimented sleep, vegan diet, lack of speech or even gender differences.
“What we found was that multiple genes related to the immune system were activated — dramatically — when you do Inner Engineering practices,” said Chandran.
The increased activity by interferon-signaling genes is particularly significant in 2022, says Chandran, since interferon proteins inveigle other aspects of the immune system to defend against viruses that cause interferon imbalance like COVID-19. For example, the Inner Engineering meditation group showed activation in 97% of interferon-response genes, while folks Chandran tested with mild COVID-19 showed 76% gene activation and other tested with severe COVID-19 showed only 31% activation.
“This is the first time anyone has shown that meditation can boost your interferon signaling,” said Chandran. “It demonstrates a way to voluntarily influence the immune system without pharmaceuticals.”
OUTLOOK: OHM MY GOD IT WORKS!
Chandran concedes that randomized confirmation of the results are next on the list, and more testing should also be done to see if less intense forms of meditation can offer similar benefits. However, he does point out that their results showed similar efficacy of immune-response gene activation for patients with multiple sclerosis as those who underwent traditional medicine treatments, meaning that a range of medical conditions including cancer may also be treatable with this medication-free approach.
Now, I’m just trying to figure out which will be harder, eating a vegan diet, meditating for 10 hours a day, or not talking for over a week. Probably the regimented sleep thing. Goosfraba.