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Wellness Practices Cause Changes at the Gene Level

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It seems science is finally confirming what wellness practitioners have known all along. A recent study published in Frontiers in Immunology reported that mind-body interventions (MBIs), such as yoga, meditation, Tai Chi and similar wellness practices, have positive effects on the psychological health of both healthy and clinical populations.

“Despite the variability in these techniques, they all seem to produce various psychological benefits on healthy and clinical populations, such as the reduction of perceived stress, the alleviation of depression, decreases in anxiety, or to help in coping with a chronic medical disease,” researchers wrote.

Kim Collier, founder of Jamu & Organic Spa Rituals, said she is “absolutely not” surprised in the researchers’ findings as Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine and wellness practices have been practiced for thousands of years.

A Visible Shift

“Based on my experience as a massage/spa practitioner and energy medicine yoga instructor, there is a visible shift that happens after sessions,” she said. “A profound relaxation response, visible in a client’s relaxed face, their soft eyes and the general feeling of deep peace that mind-body practices offer humanity and animals and plants, too. They also respond to a calm environment as if peacefulness is a tangible, sweet nectar of life.”

“Ayurveda is a life science that delicately calms the mind, heals the body and enlightens the human spirit.” —Dawn Sutton2Hands2Feet

Researchers concluded that gene expression analysis revealed the psychological and physical benefits of mind-body interventions can be seen in biological changes to the nuclear factor kappa B (NF-ƙB) genes, despite a variance in the type of MBI used during the study.

“Ayurveda is a life science that delicately calms the mind, heals the body and enlightens the human spirit,” explained Dawn Sutton, whose Thai massage practice, 2Hands2Feet in Atlanta, specializes in Thai and Indian bodywork styles. “Now there is concrete evidence to convince the skeptics that mind-body interventions are integral components of the ancient holistic medical practice.”

Stress Relief for Spa Employees

Modern day stressors, such as politics, poverty, even Facebook, can disrupt the body’s internal environment, said Sutton. The answer for many individuals to stress is to go to the spa. So what are spa professionals to do?

“It’s ironic that spa people tend to be stressed out while bringing calm to others—it’s our inside joke, industry knowledge.” —Kim Collier, founder of Jamu & Organic Spa Rituals

“It’s ironic that spa people tend to be stressed out while bringing calm to others—it’s our inside joke, industry knowledge,” said Collier. “[My] best advice for spa owners and practitioners is to practice what they preach, and take time for their own self-care.”

This includes checking your breath and making note of how you are talking to yourself and others in stressful situations and being mindful that words have an impact. 

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