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The Unexpected Healing Powers of Meditation

The Science of Self-Healing Hosted by
Dr. Sharon Stills With Hemal Patel

About Hemal Patel

​Dr. Hemal Patel is a Tenured Professor and Vice-Chair for Research in the Department of Anesthesiology at the University of California, San Diego and has a dual appointment as a VA Research Career Scientist and VA Research Pharmacologist at the VA San Diego Healthcare System. He obtained his Ph.D. from the Medical College of Wisconsin in Pharmacology and Toxicology and did postdoctoral work at UCSD in the Department of Pharmacology under Paul Insel (2002-2005). He has made seminal contributions in shaping new investigation areas on defining the impact of membrane structure on cell, organ, and organismal physiology and metabolism with implications for cardiac ischemia-reperfusion injury, heart failure, diabetic cardiomyopathy, aging, pulmonary hypertension, cancer, and neurodegeneration. His focus on energetics in cell biology touches upon all of these and is a control point for managing and empowering human health resilience. He is currently working on a new area of research to discover the molecular and biochemical signatures generated during meditation that impact human potential for health and disease management.

Resources Mentioned:

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Episode Highlights with Hemal Patel

  • Dr. Patel and his colleague, Dr. Joe Dispenza, are currently collaborating to research the impact of meditation on health and disease management by analyzing molecular and physiological biological markers.

  • There are different types of meditations such as walking, lying down, sitting, and standing for all kinds of learners. 

  • Meditating at various times of the day activates and engages peak levels of certain body chemicals such as melatonin.  

  • Dr. Patel’s first study on meditation included 28 healthy people (a non-meditating control group, novice new meditators, and experienced meditators) in a week-long intensive meditation retreat with Dr. Joe Dispenza in 2020. The results indicated dramatic physiological changes in the novice group’s blood chemistry in just seven days, similar to those achieved by experienced meditators. 

  • The second study, QUANTUM 1.0 (QUest to ANalyze a thousand hUmans Meditating), aimed to analyze 1,000 meditating humans before and after a week-long meditation retreat. It involved 978 participants (with 50+ reported diseases) and utilized expanded biometric data including health questionnaires, microbiome, urine, blood, cheek scrape, and language samples. Early data suggests significant shifts in the gut microbiome with results more like healthy individuals as well as other positive results. 

  • Analyzing the long-term effects of meditation is ongoing.

  • A study in the journal in the journal JAMA Psychiatry directly compared medication to meditation for reducing anxiety resulted in the same effect for both groups (30% improvement), but without any patients dropping out of the meditation group. 

  • There are many stories of Dr. Joe’s week-long retreat participants who experience spontaneous healing phenomena, such as cancer patients going into remission and ALS patients who begin walking. 

  • Meditation has the power to change who and what you are, as well as to affect the people around you.

  • Meditation should be a part of medicine and routine practice to utilize the mind-body connection. 

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