In 2014, alternative medicine advocate Deepak Chopra achieved a Guinness World Record for the largest online meditation event — 33,061 people participated for 30 minutes of serenity.
The benefits of meditation are well-documented in terms of stress reduction, improved mood, better sleep, and lower blood pressure. But Chopra probably didn't know how it can help you avoid infection and perhaps even cancer.
Researchers at the University of Florida School of Medicine and other institutions decided to explore the molecular and genetic effects of meditation by looking at the changes in biochemistry and physiology of 106 people before and after a retreat at the Isha Institute of Inner-Sciences.
The retreat is tightly controlled: Participants remain silent for eight days, meditate more than 10 hours a day, eat vegan meals, and follow a regular sleep schedule. What they found was that meditation has profound molecular and genetic effects that may go a long way to bolstering your immune system.
Looking at more than 70 million data points collected from participants’ blood samples before and after the retreat, the researchers found that meditation enhanced immune function without activating inflammatory signals (avoiding chronic inflammation's toll).
And you'll get a dose of these positive benefits from meditating even six minutes daily. That may help manage conditions associated with excessive or persistent inflammation and a dampened immune system response.
So whether you have an acute infection (COVID-19), an autoimmune condition, or anything in between, meditation can help you heal.