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Dr. Doris Taylor: Meditation yields largest increase in stem cell creation she's ever seen

Speaking of Faith's host, Krista Tippett, interviewed leading stem cell researcher Dr. Doris Taylor about role of stem cells in healing the body. 

The following is an exchange that blew my mind:

Stem Cells, Untold Stories

Ms. Tippett: Talk to me about the experiment you did with Matthieu Ricard, who is a famous French philosopher Buddhist who's worked with the Dalai Lama.

Dr. Taylor: Right. And …

Ms. Tippett: Oh, and he's said to be the happiest man alive, I think.

Dr. Taylor: Yes. He's written a book called Happiness.

Ms. Tippett: Right.

Dr. Taylor: He's doing some studies with some people at the University of Wisconsin where …

Ms. Tippett: Oh, Richardson Davidson?

Dr. Taylor: Yes. He and a number of his colleagues meditate, and as they meditate they measure differences in their brainwaves. Right? And I basically said I would predict that those very same things that when you meditate and you have positive brainwave changes would also have an effect on your stem cells. He very graciously, and this is an N of one, let us measure cells in his blood before and after meditation. And what we found was a huge increase in the number of positive stem cells in blood. Largest increase I've ever seen after 15 minutes of meditation.

Ms. Tippett: And so that meditation kicks in your body's own regenerative reparative powers?

Dr. Taylor: It's all about endogenous repair. And I don't think I said this earlier, but you know how when your son falls down, scrapes his knees, got a red spot?

Ms. Tippett: Yeah.

Dr. Taylor: That's inflammation. Inflammation, I think, is nature's cue to say, "Send me cells."

Ms. Tippett: OK.

Dr. Taylor: "I've got an injury. Send me cells." And if you get the right cells there you turn off that inflammation and you heal. If you don't get the right cells there and you don't heal, you get more inflammation. And I think your body's saying, "Hey, I said send me cells. Will you get with it and send me cells?" And if you don't get the right cells there, you ramp up inflammation and you start getting the negative consequences of inflammation.

Ms. Tippett: OK.

Dr. Taylor: Well, we see that on our skin when we fall down and scrape our knee or when we cut our finger or something, but that's going on inside our body all the time. We have inflammation.

Ms. Tippett: Every time you eat a cheeseburger, right?

Dr. Taylor: Every time you eat a cheeseburger.

Ms. Tippett: Yeah.

Dr. Taylor: We have inflammation going on inside our blood vessels, inside our organs, inside our tissues. And I think those are nature's cues to say, "Send me cells." Well, I would also say that meditation is essentially doing that without the inflammation. It's nature's way of sending those cells to the sites where you need them in a way to turn down the negative aspects of stress. So stress in my mind is another word for inflammation. I would say inflammation is the physiologic consequence of stress.

Ms. Tippett: Which also has mental and — it's also …

Dr. Taylor: Emotional, mental, spiritual, physical.

Ms. Tippett: Inflammation. We have all that too.

Dr. Taylor: Right.

Ms. Tippett: Yeah.

Dr. Taylor: If you don't believe stress ages someone, look at a president before and after they've been in office for four years.

Wow! Amazing. You can listen to the full audio interview here.

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