Yoga and Meditation Protect Cancer Survivors at Cellular Level
Meditation and yoga are renowned for their ability to help cancer survivors alleviate mental and emotional distress. But now a significant new study has revealed that their benefits go even further into the cellular level: the findings show that yoga, meditation and social support protect the health of breast cancer survivors by helping to maintain telomere length. Telomeres are protective caps of DNA found at the ends of a chromosome. Since they keep the ends of the chromosome from fraying and deteriorating, they are often compared to a plastic tip on a shoelace. As far as health is concerned, the longer the telomere, the better. When a telomere becomes too short, the cell can no longer divide and either becomes inactive or dies. For the study, published in the journal Cancer, Alberta researchers discovered that telomere length was strongly preserved in breast cancer survivors who practice meditation and yoga or who participated in social support groups. The results are startling.