Use Tai Chi and Qigong to Tweak Your Genes

This is exciting stuff. Recent studies are showing that stress impacts the body by altering your genes. Specifically, this study by Gunther Meinlschmidt and his team at Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) showed that a single stressful incident suppressed the expression of the gene that makes oxytocin receptors. Oxytocin is the "trust neurotransmitter" - so it seems that stressful events can alter your ability to trust on a molecular level? Yikes, right?

The good news about studies like this is that it is becoming more and more evident that we are not slaves to our "genetic makeup." Having the gene for some disease or other does not mean that gene will ever express itself. Epigenetics - the study of the impact of environmental factors on the ways our genes express themselves - will, I think, continue to prove that we are not just products of what we carry inside our cells, but the kinds of experiences we put ourselves through.

Every time you get yourself to a Tai Chi or Qigong class, you teach your body that it has regular access to a beautiful, peaceful, invigorating experience. This goes beyond "reducing stress," although we do that too. This is about maximizing your wellbeing on a cellular level, and giving yourself the best shot possible at turning on the genes that keep you feeling good and turning off the genes that may express as disease.

This post is part of a series called What Tai Chi and Qigong Can Do for You. Look for more parts in the coming weeks, or click "What Tai Chi and Qigong Can Do for You" at the bottom of this post. 

I offer weekly classes and occasional workshops. For my class schedule and information about fees, click hereFor upcoming workshops, click here

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