'Hair' analysis reveals that long-term mental training reduces chronic stress by 25%

Modern people are exposed to various stresses in their work and daily life, and there are concerns about deterioration of mental health and adverse effects on the body.

Mental training such as mindfulness is attracting attention as a method of reducing stress, but it is difficult to measure its effect objectively. In a new study, it is reported that an analysis using 'hair' was performed to measure the effect of mental training.

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Meditation training reduces long-term stress, according to hair analysis

From previous studies, it is known that chronic stress reduces memory and thinking ability, causes brain contraction , and causes various lifestyle-related diseases. Therefore, methods for long-term reduction of daily stress are being sought, and various mental trainings such as mindfulness focusing on the experience currently occurring through meditation etc. are the subject of scientific research. ..

Studies have shown that mental training has a stress-relieving effect, but it is difficult to objectively measure its effect. Participants in studies investigating the relationship between stress and mental training are usually required to self-assess their stress levels before and after training. However, the process of self-evaluation by this questionnaire itself may distort the results and make the effect of mental training appear larger than it actually is.

Participants in the study know that they are 'mentally training' and that it is desirable to reduce stress as a result. Lara Puhlmann, a postdoctoral fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognition and Brain Science in Germany, points out that this perception alone can cause bias and distort subsequent self-assessment.

In addition to the large impact of the placebo effect on mental training, it is not possible to conduct a double-blind study using a placebo like a test that measures the effect of a new drug. 'We know that subjects are taking (stress) antidotes,' Puhlmann said. Therefore, mindfulness studies are a more objective way to more accurately measure the effects of stress relief. That is, more and more people are using physiological methods. '

The research team of Puhlmann et al. Focused on a method of examining the hormone cortisol contained in the subject's 'hair' as a method of objectively measuring the effect of mental training. Cortisol is a type of stress hormone secreted by the adrenal cortex and is a well-studied biomarker associated with stress. The secreted cortisol circulates in the body and accumulates in the hair over time. Hair grows about 1 cm a month, so if you investigate the range 3 cm from the root, you can measure the stress level for the last 3 months.

The research team focuses on three types of oriental and western mental exercises, focusing on attention and mindfulness, social emotional skills with compassion and gratitude, and social cognitive skills that incorporate the perceptions of oneself and others. We have prepared mental training. Then, we divided the subjects into three groups of about 80 people, and conducted an experiment in which each mental training was practiced in a different order for three months for a total of nine months.

In each mental training, subjects first practice intensively for 3 days to learn the conceptual parts and exercises of the training, followed by a 2-hour weekly group session and a 30-minute individual session 5 times a week. I went there a day. The researchers say they took 3 cm of the subject's hair from the root every three months and analyzed the amount of cortisol in the hair.

The analysis revealed that subjects had a slight decrease in cortisol levels in the first 3 months and a further acceleration in the subsequent 3 months, regardless of the content of the mental training they practiced. Six months after starting mental training, cortisol levels decreased by an average of 25% compared to pre-study, and remained similarly low for the last three months.

The results suggest that long-term mental training can help reduce stress and help people cope with chronic stress. 'There are many illnesses in the world that are directly or indirectly related to long-term stress, including depression. We need to make efforts to prevent the effects of chronic stress. Our study, using physiological measurements, demonstrates that meditation-based training interventions can reduce general stress levels even in healthy people. ' rice field.

in Science, Posted by log1h_ik