Most people only know of how meditation can help with anxiety and other mental issues. Only a few know that meditation not only helps with mental health but with physical health too. The very art of meditation may be the key to solving a lot of physical health issues. This is particularly true as meditation has been found to boosting a weakened immune system functions.
What Is The Immune System?
Immune System Definition: Simply put, this is the body’s defense against foreign substances. It is the system responsible for protecting the body from viruses, bacteria, and so on. You could say that the immune system functions as the body’s military force.
You can think of the immune system as being divided into two different categories. Innate and Adaptive. Your natural immune system is the one you are born with, and the adaptive immune system is one that your body creates in other to fight a particular threat.
Your innate immune system is responsible for the primary defense of the body. It sets up barriers all over the body that will help you keep out foreign threats. Components of the innate immune system include the skin, mucus, and the cough reflex, and your stomach acid. Oils found in your skin and your tears also contain enzymes that constitute part of the innate immune system.
The adaptive immune system is acquired over time. Your body starts out by first identifying the threat, and once the threat is recognized, your immune system then designs antibodies, particularly for that threat. The best part of this is, your adaptive immune system functions also include remembering specific threats so your body can combat the same threat more efficiently next time. This is how you build an immunity.
Stress And The Immune System
Stress is a major part of what weakens the immune system. The human mind experiences stress in two forms, acute and chronic. Acute stress is generally less worrisome as it usually temporary and fades away in quite a short time. Chronic stress is the bothersome one. You have likely encountered chronic stress numerous times in your life. These may be in the form of worry, panic, or anxiety. Think about all those times you had to worry about an exam or a relationship. Those are typical examples of situations that you exposed your mind to chronic stress.
The immune systems’ organs, like every other organ, are connected to the brain. Whenever the brain is experiencing unfavorable conditions, the other systems suffer too. If you are the kind that is frequently in stressful situations, you may find that you fall sick more often. This is because your brain is releasing chemicals like cortisol that suppresses immune system functions.
With all that in mind, it is obvious you should not want to walk around with a weak immune system.
How Does Meditation Help Improve Your Immune System?
Research has been put into how meditation can help improve the body’s immune system. Meditation, especially mindfulness meditation, has been found to strengthen the immune system in the human body in three particular ways.
First, it builds the activity of the telomerase enzyme. This is responsible for stabilizing the body’s chromosomes. You should know that if these chromosomes are not stable, it might lead to cancer and untimely aging.
Secondly, mindful meditation helps curb and reduce inflammation markers in the body. Otherwise, this leads to decreased immunity, thus making your body more susceptible to diseases.
And finally, it helps the increase the amount of CD-4 cells present in the body. These CD-4 cells are the helper cells of the immune system. They are responsible for signaling other cells and informing them to fight infections. This, in turn, improves the conditions of the cells of the immune system.
How To Practice Mindfulness Meditation
For mindful meditation, all you have to do is focus all your attention on one thing. Your aim is to disregard every other thing that might be happening around and within you. For more on how to practice mindful meditation, you can check out this article.
What Else Can Meditation Do For You?
As I mentioned earlier, meditation is good for your mental health. You can look forward to improved mental functions once you begin to have meditation sessions. This will reduce panic or anxiety attacks. You can also expect to have improved memory and cognition. As much as mentioned above, meditation sessions help you reduce mental and physical stress as well as improve your moods.