I spent the first two days researching the internet to find data that would substantiate some of the claims and methods I’d been learning about. Here is a sampling of what I found:
Question: How does yoga heal on an anatomical level?
Answer: Certain yoga poses stretch muscles that from animal studies are known to stimulate the lymph system. Lymph is known as the body’s dirty dishwater. The lymphatic system carries infection-fighting white blood cells and waste products of cellular activity. Yoga asana promotes the draining of the lymph.
Also, yoga asana has been shown to affect the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems by initiating a process that turns the fight-or-flight system (sympathetic) off and the relaxation response (parasympathetic) on. This causes the heartbeat to slow and respiration and blood pressure to decrease.
Question: Does pranayama have any physical effects on the body aside from calming the nervous system?
Answer: One study showed that yoga breathing through a particular nostril, or through alternate nostrils increases hand grip strength. The practice of mudras and simple breath awareness showed no change in grip strength.
Pranayama also helped prevent free radical damage in coronary artery disease patients.
Question: Can mediation replace other medical therapies yielding similar benefits?
Answer: In a study of chronic pain patients, 10 weeks of meditation practice resulted in statistically significant reductions of present-moment pain, negative body image, inhibition of activity by pain, symptoms, mood disturbance, and anxiety and depression. The use of drugs for pain decreased and activity levels and feelings of self-esteem increased.
Question: Is honey toxic when cooked?
Answer: Most information found on this subject said no. However, according to one source (credibility not confirmed) “cooking honey is toxic from chemical changes that occur during cooking to create cancer causing chemicals as well as accumulates free radical heavy metals into your body.”
I found this information to be interesting but also rather random and incomplete. The conclusion I came to after these two days was two-fold. First, there are far too many questions and too much data to try and process in just a couple weeks. This should be a life-long study as my interests take shape and unfold in new areas. Second, I have a fear of faith. And this is where my experiment took its turn.