March 29

Neuroscientists Have Discovered How Yoga and Meditation Heal Our Body

Glenda Jacobs
Core Spirit member since Dec 24, 2020
Reading time 3 minutes

Neuroscientists have discovered evidence for the neural basis of a mind-body connection.

They have identified the neural networks that connect the cerebral cortex to the adrenal medulla, which is responsible for the body’s rapid response in stressful situations.

Specifically, the findings shed new light on how stress, depression, and other mental states can alter organ function, and show that there is a real anatomical basis for psychosomatic illness.

The research also provides a concrete neural substrate that may help explain why meditation and certain exercises such as yoga and Pilates can be so helpful in modulating the body’s responses to physical, mental, and emotional stress.

“Our results turned out to be much more complex and interesting than we imagined before we began this study,” says senior author Peter L. Strick, chair of the neurobiology department and scientific director of the University of Pittsburgh Brain Institute.

Tracing networks of neurons

In their experiments, the scientists traced the neural circuitry that links areas of the cerebral cortex to the adrenal medulla (the inner part of the adrenal gland, which is located above each kidney).

The sheer number of neural networks they discovered surprised the scientists.

Other investigators had suspected that one or, perhaps, two cortical areas might be responsible for the control of the adrenal medulla. The actual number and location of the cortical areas were uncertain.

In the study, the Strick laboratory used a unique tracing method that involves rabies virus. This approach is capable of revealing long chains of interconnected neurons.

Using this approach, Strick and his colleagues demonstrated that the control of the adrenal medulla originates from multiple cortical areas.

According to the new findings, the biggest influences arise from motor areas of the cerebral cortex and from other cortical areas involved in cognition and affect.

Fight or flight or something else

Why does it matter which cortical areas influence the adrenal medulla? Acute responses to stress include a wide variety of changes such as a pounding heart, sweating, and dilated pupils.

These responses help prepare the body for action and often are characterized as “fight or flight responses.”

Many situations in modern life call for a more thought-out reaction than simple “fight or flight,” and it is clear that we have some cognitive control (or what neuroscientists call “top-down” control) over our responses to stress.

“Because we have a cortex, we have options,” says Strick. “If someone insults you, you don’t have to punch them or flee.

You might have a more nuanced response and ignore the insult or make a witty comeback. These options are part of what the cerebral cortex provides.”

Another surprising result was that motor areas in the cerebral cortex, involved in the planning and performance of movement, provide a substantial input to the adrenal medulla.

One of these areas is a portion of the primary motor cortex that is concerned with the control of axial body movement and posture.

This input to the adrenal medulla may explain why core body exercises are so helpful in modulating responses to stress.

Calming practices such as Pilates, yoga, tai chi, and even dancing in a small space all require proper skeletal alignment, coordination, and flexibility.

Conflict and mess-ups

The study also revealed that the areas of the cortex that are active when we sense conflict, or are aware that we have made an error, are a source of influence over the adrenal medulla.

“This observation,” says Strick, “raises the possibility that activity in these cortical areas when you re-imagine an error, or beat yourself up over a mistake, or think about a traumatic event, results in descending signals that influence the adrenal medulla in just the same way as the actual event.”

These anatomical findings have relevance for therapies that deal with post-traumatic stress.

Additional links with the adrenal medulla were discovered in cortical areas that are active during mindful mediation and areas that show changes in bipolar familial depression.

“One way of summarizing our results is that we may have uncovered the stress and depression connectome,” says Strick.

Overall, these results indicate that circuits exist to link movement, cognition, and affect to the function of the adrenal medulla and the control of stress.

This circuitry may mediate the effects of internal states like chronic stress and depression on organ function and, thus, provide a concrete neural substrate for some psychosomatic illness.

The National Institutes of Health and the Pennsylvania Department of Health supported the work, which appears early online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

via Sci-News

Comments

Leave your questions here

To write a comment you must
or
Services
Category filter
Concern filter
Type filter
Sort
 
All categories
Art Therapy
$50 USD
Artist Teacher Workshop Or Tutoring

“Life Force” guiding our history, our body and spirits. Self portrait art, life drawing from the live model, gesture, and plein air painting. And extended cont…

Bryan Prillwitz
United States of America flag icon
Tarot Reading
$100 USD
Timeline Reading

EGYPTIAN TAROT READINGS using unique methods developed by Nelise Carbonare, a Brazilian healer with more than 40 years of experience in tarot consultations, as…

Nelise Carbonare
United States of America flag icon
Tarot Reading
$120 USD
THE SYNERGY OF THE PYRAMID

THE SYNERGY OF THE PYRAMID focuses on a specific relationship: One side for the consultant and one for their partner. (the partner does not need to be present …

Nelise Carbonare
United States of America flag icon
Tarot Reading
$10 USD
Pick one card

Many questions can be answer with just one Arcane.

Do you want to try?

Nelise Carbonare
United States of America flag icon
Personal Development Coaching
$50 USD
Spiritual Coaching - Removing Energy Blocks - Expansion

> “Who looks outside dreams. Who looks inside awakens.” Jung

Spiritual coaching is about moving you into a profound state of empowerment and involution m…

Kimla Rose (Kim Desrosiers)
United States of America flag icon
Life Coaching
$10 USD
Life Purpose and Soul Wisdom

What is your deeper truth, your deeper knowing, your MOJO, your deepest desires, those feelings that you can’t explain but that are so pure and so clear…or may…

Anna Beale
United States of America flag icon
Wellness Coaching
$10 USD
Your Missing Manual for Health & Life!

Are you constantly reading books, blogs and listening to podcasts trying to figure out what to do to be healthy?

With so much conflicting information out ther…

Pamela Malo
United States of America flag icon
Nutritional Therapy
$150 USD
Nutritional Therapy Consultation

Hi my name is Aria and I am the founder of Heal with Nutrition. I am a registered Nutritional Therapist and a Naturopath who has a passion on Nutrition and Hea…

Aria Alexandrou
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland flag icon
Tarot Reading
$10 USD
THOTH AND HERMETIC DECKS READING

With a deep knowledge of hermeticism and being introduced to the kabbalah tradition of the emanation process from the tree of life, I provide a deep insight co…

James Marchiori
Ireland flag icon
Personal Development Coaching
$55 USD
The Bridge to Your Desired Life

This is were you get real help with your struggles and life challenges. As life gets harder to cope with, we tend to look for external ways to get through. And…

Mina Mikhail
United States of America flag icon
Naturopathy
$10 USD
Intake Consult

short introduction consult to Integrative Medicine

Femke Neervoort
Netherlands flag icon
Career Coaching
$300 USD
Reset Coaching and Mentoring Programme

12 weeks of bi-weekly 90 minutes 1:1 Coaching and Mentoring. Total cost USD1800 (6x90minutes career coaching and mentoring session)

Are you returning to work …

Carla Martins
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland flag icon
Personal Development Coaching
$120 USD
Spiritual Life Coach Session-Personalized Session

Personalized Sessions

Because Everyone Is Unique

Client-centered sessions based on the area of focus requested by the client.

Each session is a LIVE Sessio…

Deborah Lucero
United States of America flag icon
Reiki
$55 USD
Guidance, Inspiration & Healing

This type of session is a favorite among many of my clients, as it is often times one of the smoothest way to address a challenge to reach a happier and health…

Mina Mikhail
United States of America flag icon
Mediumism
$10 USD
Psychic Readings

I specialize in love, past present future, future, past life, general, tarot, dream interpretation, specific, social, and career readings! Book today for clari…

Holly
United States of America flag icon
Life Coaching
$399 USD
1-on-1 Coaching

The journey started with our discovery call, and You decided: ” I’m ready! Let’s do this!”.

We will engage in 1-on-1 coaching sessions for 90 minutes. In this…

Carla Martins
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland flag icon
Ascension
$88 USD
Ascension Mentor Support

In this session, we come together with similar to a healing session but face to face.

We talk about what issues you are facing at the moment and we delve deep…

Claire C.
Australia flag icon
Spiritual Healing
$177 USD
Energy Healing

I am honored to assist you with intuitive channeled energy healings that support and nurture you on a physical level as well soul and energetic level, each ses…

Claire C.
Australia flag icon
Reiki
$375 USD
Usui Reiki 1st Degree Course

FIRST DEGREE COURSE - The ultimate Reiki course.

Have you ever wondered if you can heal? Have you felt a burning desire to help others? Then you’ve come to th…

Step Into Your Light - Christina Moore
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland flag icon
Life Coaching
$10 USD
Hand Analysis - Startup Session

What does a hand analysis do for me? ​

You will understand yourself and your life purpose. ​You will understand the roots of your triggers and reactionary be…

Brent Bruning, Master Hand Analyst
Switzerland flag icon
Shamanism
$10 USD
Sample Akashic Records Reading for Your Burning Issue

I connect to your Akashic Records and listen to what your guides want to bring to your conscoius attention at this time. Perhaps, it is an insight into why you…

Olga Aydınoğlu
Turkey flag icon
Shamanic Healing
$300 USD
Shamanic Healing Art

What is Shamanic Healing Art?

It is a physical artwork (usually a pastel drawing) I make for you based on the outcome of our online session. This artwork will…

Olga Aydınoğlu
Turkey flag icon
Shamanic Healing
$70 USD
Heal to say "No"

A limits and boundaries shamanic healing session to help you heal relevant wounds and traumas from this and/or other lifetimes, let go of false beliefs, judgem…

Olga Aydınoğlu
Turkey flag icon
Shamanic Healing
$70 USD
Writer's Block Shamanic Healing Session

Before the Session

I do my pre-meditation to find out the main reasons for your writer’s block. (This happens psychically, where I generally just need your na…

Olga Aydınoğlu
5
Turkey flag icon