Earlier this year, my research team and I shared some exciting news in a Livestream we broadcast from our Week Long Advanced Retreat in Marco Island, Florida. In addition to sharing our findings about studies already under way, we discussed some experiments we were beginning that week – including the largest meditation study ever conducted.
At its outset, QUANTUM (QUest to ANalyze a thousand hUmans Meditating) had nearly a thousand volunteers enrolled.
In addition to filling out self-evaluation surveys, participants provided biological samples – cheek scrapes to measure DNA and gene expression; blood draws for the data collection of more than 2,800 cellular metabolites; and fecal specimens to determine up to 500 various gut bacteria. They also wore Garmins (like a wristwatch) to measure heart-rate variability – and other vital signs – throughout the course of the study.
Now, months later, having collected measurements, samples, and surveys before and after the event, we have usable specimens from 774 participants. That’s an enormous amount of data – and thorough analysis will take some time.
While our research team parses the layers of information we gathered at the event (with more than 1,500 samples, there’s a lot to comb through), we wanted to take a small selection of participants and zero in on one important area of research – the effects of meditation on cancer patients.
And what we’re finding, so far, is compelling. But first, let me break down some facts about the study:
- Of the enrolled participants in QUANTUM, 42 had cancer.
- We controlled for the study subjects by finding 42 healthy QUANTUM participants who were matched to the 42 cancer patients by age and gender.
- All study subjects were in, essentially, the same environment – the same schedule; the same hotel; the same meal options; the same meditations.
--- The subset of 42 cancer patients participated in all the meditations and lectures during our Week Long Retreat – with the rest of our attendees.
- The cancer patients received three Coherence Healing™ sessions at the event. The healthy controls were healers in those same sessions.
- All participants filled out self-evaluation surveys before and after the seven-day event.
- To study the gut microbiome, we took fecal samples before and after the event.
What Is the Gut Microbiome? Why Does It Matter?
Before I share some preliminary results, I want to tell you about the gut microbiome. It’s been getting a lot of buzz in recent years, but it’s important to understand its deeper significance. Here’s a brief explanation from some research we published late last year:
“It has been said, ‘Your life is your gut.’ The gut is a major regulator of your biology, and some studies suggest that the bacteria that reside in your gut are a major control point for your health. For instance, your gut bacteria releases factors that regulate your sleep, mood, food intake, and many other basic functions. In this regard, your gut bacteria function as a ‘mini brain’ that needs to be understood and studied. These gut residents are various and many.
“There are 300-500 types of bacteria in your gut – ranging from 50-100 trillion total organisms – which contain millions of genes. These are referred to, collectively, as your gut microbiome. The gut microbiome is dynamic and can shift in drastic ways in an environment of health vs one of disease. From this perspective, it may be a unique window into your health status, allowing the research team to determine if meditation has an impact on the microbiome.”
In simpler terms, you might say this: there's you … and there's “not-you.” And the “not-you” is composed of trillions of cells – more cells than make up your entire body.
When you're in a state of homeostasis, or balance, and you’re flourishing and growing, you’re in a symbiotic relationship with your “not-you.” But the not-you also is in constant competition with itself – with good bacteria versus bad bacteria.
So, when you’re out of homeostasis, your gut also is out of balance. And when you’re in balance, your gut is, too. That’s why this “mini-brain” in your gut can be such a strong indicator of overall health. And that’s why it was so important to include measurements of the gut microbiome in QUANTUM.
So here’s how this all comes together in the cancer study. At the beginning of the seven-day retreat – before any teachings, meditations, or healings – all participants provided blood and fecal samples to the research team. And they all filled in a survey to self-evaluate their well-being.
At the end of the week, samples were taken again – and participants answered the same questions.
Here’s what we wanted to find out: when study participants self-reported their sense of well-being, would it be reflected in their biological samples?
In other words – could they change their biology through meditation?
Milestones and Markers
As you can imagine, the possibilities for areas of study and analysis with such an enormous amount of data are endless.
For the purposes of the cancer study, though, we focused on two survey responses – the personal data collection; and two very important enzymes – the physical data collection.
The survey prompts, answered by all participants before and after the event, were:
- In general, I would say my health is:
* (0) Poor, (1) Fair, (2) Good, (3) Very Good, (4) Excellent
- I have trouble doing all of the family activities that I want to do:
* (1) Never, (2) Rarely, (3) Sometimes, (4) Usually, (5) Always
The two enzymes we focused on in the gut microbiome were:
- Chorismate Mutase – which regulates anti-cancer and anti-bacterial functions in the body
- HAD Hydrolase – which creates resistance to cancer treatments
I don’t have to tell you how or why these quality-of-life questions and disease-regulating enzymes are important – especially to cancer patients, whose immune systems are tremendously compromised … and who need every available bit of energy to heal.
Now, finally, for the exciting part – what our early findings are telling us.
Affirming Health; Confirming Data
First: the survey answers, before and after the event.
It’s not surprising that cancer patients rated their overall health somewhere near the bottom of the scale compared to their healthy counterparts. It’s also not surprising they self-identified as having significantly greater difficulty participating in activities than the subjects who don’t have cancer.
You can see their responses, noted in the blue line plotted on the graph below.
Here’s what’s surprising, though – and what’s so exciting.
Somewhere during the course of the seven days of meditations and healings, the cancer patients surpassed their fellow study participants in wellness. Not only do they improve significantly, in their own assessment, over the course of the week; they identify as feeling better than people who don’t have cancer at all.
Now, we know our community members have tremendous capabilities. Unlimited capabilities. And we know retreat attendees bring boundless enthusiasm and positivity to the event. Was it possible a placebo effect was taking place? Could we trust these survey responses?
This is where those gut microbiome measurements come in. Remember the two important enzymes – one beneficial to cancer patients; the other harmful.
Before the event, the beneficial enzyme was greatly suppressed in the cancer patients. And, as you might expect, the harmful enzyme – the one resistant to cancer treatment – was elevated.
But after seven days of meditations and healings? You guessed it. The beneficial enzyme was elevated to more closely resemble levels in the healthy controls; the harmful one was suppressed.
Here is data confirming what we’ve seen in this work – through testimonials and experience – for years. Through meditation, people can change their biology. What they report as their perceived experience is proven to be true – in their cells.
And it’s not our research team that’s saying it. It’s not me who’s saying it. The data is saying it.
After just seven days at our retreat, study participants with cancer were affirming their health. And the “not-you” in their gut microbiome confirmed their experience.
This correlates nicely with our preliminary data from previous studies on cancer cell suppression through mitochondrial function. Those earlier studies showed a significant diminishing of energy in cancer cells in the plasma of advanced meditators after seven days of meditation.
The Greatest Pharmacy Is Within
When we launched QUANTUM in Marco Island early this year, we talked about “the pharmacy within” – our inherent power to change our biology … by changing ourselves.
As we see everywhere in this work, meaningful, lasting change doesn’t happen only from the outside-in. The kind of transformation we’re talking about happens from the inside-out.
All the participants in this study – including the 42 cancer patients – were exposed to the same outside environment during their week together (it’s basically a hotel ballroom like any other ballroom). So what changed? They did.
When we overcome the inner environment of the body’s emotional state and create a new one, there is a significant change in energy. The cancer patients at our Marco Island Week Long Advanced Retreat used that energy to begin to heal themselves.
Given our studies are in the early stages, the results are still very promising. Our future research will look more closely at other chronic health conditions – as well as further our cancer studies.
We’ll share more results in a Livestream from our Advanced Follow Up Retreat in Marco Island, Florida, on August 27. Stay tuned.
For the latest updates and findings from our Research Team, visit our Research, Science, and News webpage.