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Mind-body therapies (MBTs) such as mindfulness, yoga, qigong, tai chi, meditation, and many more have become very popular in the last few decades as useful tools to reduce stress and improve health. These methods are non- invasive and cost-effective. There are several reports that infer MBT can modulate the host immune system in many diseases. Although there are some discrepancies in the reported effects, the majority imply favourable effects of MBTs. This review summarizes the effects of MBTs in various chronic disease including cardiorespiratory conditions, metabolic diseases, cancer, HIV, gastrointestinal diseases, and depression. The results from most studies show that MBT reduced stress and anxiety; whilst improving sleep and overall quality of life. These observations were coupled with a decrease in cortisol level, an increase in glucocorticoid receptors, modulation of the autonomic nervous system, and changes in oxidative stress pathways, which may have resulted in improved immune functions. Furthermore, interactions between different parts of the brain such as the limbic system and hypothalamus upon exposure to MBTs can lead to reduced sympathetic nervous system outflow, which can improve the function of different organ systems resulting in the favourable host immunological responses observed in these studies.
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