Fewer tummy troubles
More research is needed to draw definitive conclusions, but there is some evidence that regular meditation can reduce symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) such as cramping and diarrhea. In a small pilot study out of the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, 48 adults with either condition participated in a nine-week program focused on stress reduction and other healthy behaviors that included relaxation training to be practiced at home for 15 to 20 minutes each day.
And it worked. They not only felt better and had fewer GI symptoms and less anxiety, but there was also marked positive changes in genes involved with their stomach conditions. ‘Indeed, the relaxation response reduced the expression of a number of genes directly linked to the key inflammatory processes of IBD. While the mechanisms behind IBS are less well-defined, they most likely involve stress response, which also could be improved by relaxation response practice, ‘says study researcher Towia Libermann, PhD, in a news release.