1. Astin, J.A. (1997)., Stress Reduction through
Mindfulness Meditation. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics,
This study examined the effects of an 8-week stress
reduction program based on training in mindfulness meditation.
This form of meditation has an emphasis on developing
detached observation and awareness of the contents of
consciousness. Twenty-eight individuals participated
in the study and were randomized into an experimental
group or a nonintervention control group. The results
showed that the experimental subjects had significantly
greater changes than the control group in the following
areas: (1) a reduction in overall psychological symptomology;
(2) an increase in overall domain-specific sense of
control and utilization of an accepting or yielding
mode of control in their lives; and (3) higher scores
on a measure of spiritual experiences. The author concludes
that the techniques of mindfulness meditation may represent
a powerful cognitive behavioral coping strategy for
transforming the ways in which we respond to life events.
They may also have potential for relapse prevention
in affective disorders.
2. Gordon, J.S. (May 1991). The Inner Life. The Atlantic
This commentary by Dr. Gordon discusses meditation including
its history, different types of meditation, benefits
of meditation, and the advantages of combining meditation
3. Kutz, I., Borysenko, J ., & Benson, H. (1985).
Meditation and Psychotherapy: A Rationale for the Integration
of Dynamic Psychotherapy, the Relaxation Response, and
Mindfulness Meditation. The American Journal of Psychiatry,
This paper discusses the psychobiological nature of
meditation (the relaxation response) and the use of
a tradition meditation practice (mindfulness meditation)
as an effective technique for the development of self-awareness.
The mechanism by which the emotional and cognitive changes
of meditation can be of therapeutic value are explored
and the synergistic advantages of the combination of
psychotherapy and meditation are presented. 4. Modulation
of germination and growth of plants by meditation.
Authors Haid M. Huprikar S.
Institution Northwestern University Medical School,
Highland Park, IL, USA.
Source American Journal of Chinese Medicine. 29(3-4):393-401,
Abstract So called primitive peoples of the world share
a philosophy that human interaction via ceremony or
ritual can affect the natural world. Is it possible
to affect the germination and growth of plants by imbuing
them with an intent to stimulate or inhibit them? We
conducted a double blind series of experiments to determine
whether a process of meditation on the water (referred
to as "treated") given to a controlled planting of green
peas or wheat would affect their germination. Peas were
given water treated with stimulating intent. Statistical
analysis was done using contingency table, Fisher's
test, and Mantel-Haenszel analysis. The germination
rate of 504 seeds receiving treated water with stimulating
intent was 60.3% compared to 51.8% for the 504 controls
(p = 0.006, 0.047, 0.003 respectively). A similar experiment
was conducted with wheat with the intent of inhibiting
germination. The germination rate of 2970 wheat seeds
receiving treated water with inhibitory intent was 70.7%
versus 74.9% for 2970 controls (p < 0.001, 0.0001, 0.001
respectively). During the sixth run of the wheat (inhibition)
experiment, the seedlings were harvested and individually
weighed on the tenth day after planting to determine
whether there was any difference in growth. The mass
of the treated seedlings was statistically significantly
lower (mean = 97 mg versus 106 mg for the controls)
when compared by analysis of variance (p = 0.000056).
We conclude that meditation upon the water supplied
to green peas and wheat can affect their germination
rates and growth.
5. A one year follow-up of relaxation response meditation
as a treatment for irritable bowel syndrome.
Authors Keefer L. Blanchard EB.
Institution Center for Stress and Anxiety Disorders,
University at Albany, State University of New York,
12203, USA. email@example.com Source Behaviour Research
& Therapy. 40(5):541-6, 2002 May.
Abstract Ten of thirteen original participants with
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) participated in a one
year follow-up study to determine whether the effects
of Relaxation Response Meditation (RRM) on IBS symptom
reduction were maintained over the long-term. From pre-treatment
to one-year follow-up, significant reductions were noted
for the symptoms of abdominal pain (p = 0.017), diarrhea
(p = 0.045), flatulence (p = 0.030), and bloating (p
= 0.018). When we examined changes from the original
three month follow-up point to the one year follow-up,
we noted significant additional reductions in pain (p
= 0.03) and bloating (p = 0.04), which tended to be
the most distressing symptoms of IBS. It appears that:
(1) continued use of meditation is particularly effective
in reducing the symptoms of pain and bloating; and (2)
RRM is a beneficial treatment for IBS in the both short-
and the long-term.
6. Increased dopamine tone during meditation-induced
change of consciousness.
Authors Kjaer TW. Bertelsen C. Piccini P. Brooks D.
Alving J. Lou HC.
Institution John F. Kennedy Institute, Gl. Landevej
7, 2600, Glostrup, Denmark Source Cognitive Brain Research.
13(2):255-9, 2002 April.
Abstract This is the first in vivo demonstration of
an association between endogenous neurotransmitter release
and conscious experience. Using 11C-raclopride PET we
demonstrated increased endogenous dopamine release in
the ventral striatum during Yoga Nidra meditation. Yoga
Nidra is characterized by a depressed level of desire
for action, associated with decreased blood flow in
prefrontal, cerebellar and subcortical regions, structures
thought to be organized in open loops subserving executive
control. In the striatum, dopamine modulates excitatory
glutamatergic synapses of the projections from the frontal
cortex to striatal neurons, which in turn project back
to the frontal cortex via the pallidum and ventral thalamus.
The present study was designed to investigate whether
endogenous dopamine release increases during loss of
executive control in meditation. Participants underwent
two 11C-raclopride PET scans: one while attending to
speech with eyes closed, and one during active meditation.
The tracer competes with endogenous dopamine for access
to dopamine D2 receptors predominantly found in the
basal ganglia. During meditation, 11C-raclopride binding
in ventral striatum decreased by 7.9%. This corresponds
to a 65% increase in endogenous dopamine release. The
reduced raclopride binding correlated significantly
with a concomitant increase in EEG theta activity, a
characteristic feature of meditation. All participants
reported a decreased desire for action during meditation,
along with heightened sensory imagery. The level of
gratification and the depth of relaxation did not differ
between the attention and meditation conditions. Here
we show increased striatal dopamine release during meditation
associated with the experience of reduced readiness
for action. It is suggested that being in the conscious
state of meditation causes a suppression of cortico-striatal
glutamatergic transmission. To our knowledge this is
the first time in vivo evidence has been provided for
regulation of conscious states at a synaptic level.
7. Functional brain mapping of the relaxation response
Authors Lazar SW. Bush G. Gollub RL. Fricchione GL.
Khalsa G. Benson H.
Institution Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical
School, Massachusetts General Hospital-East, NMR Center,
Charlestown 02129, USA.
Source NeuroReport. 11(7):1581-5, 2000 May 15.
Abstract Meditation is a conscious mental process that
induces a set of integrated physiologic changes termed
the relaxation response. Functional magnetic resonance
imaging (fMRI) was used to identify and characterize
the brain regions that are active during a simple form
of meditation. Significant (p<10(-7)) signal increases
were observed in the group-averaged data in the dorsolateral
prefrontal and parietal cortices, hippocampus/parahippocampus,
temporal lobe, pregenual anterior cingulate cortex,
striatum, and pre- and post-central gyri during meditation.
Global fMRI signal decreases were also noted, although
these were probably secondary to cardiorespiratory changes
that often accompany meditation. The results indicate
that the practice of meditation activates neural structures
involved in attention and control of the autonomic nervous
8. The efficacy of relaxation response interventions
with adult patients: a review of the literature. [see
comments.]. [Review] [88 refs]
Authors Mandle CL. Jacobs SC. Arcari PM. Domar AD.
Institution Boston College School of Nursing, Massachusetts,
Comments Comment in: J Cardiovasc Nurs. 1996 Apr;10(3):v-x
Source Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing. 10(3):4-26,
Abstract The relaxation response is an integrated psycho-physiologic
response originating in the hypothalamus that leads
to a generalized decrease in arousal of the central
nervous system. As such it is the physiologic antithesis
of the stress response. This hypometabolic state is
the foundation of many nursing interventions. Relaxation
interventions have been taught for centuries. They include
many theoretic and philosophic traditions and an array
of specific strategies. The possible outcomes using
relaxation response strategies in nursing practice are
numerous and enable the patient to use the body's own
innate mechanisms for health and healing. Thirty-seven
studies of the efficacy of relaxation response interventions
with adult patients are reviewed. Although numerous
patient populations are addressed by the studies, some
of which have methodologic problems, consistencies in
the results suggest the effectiveness of the relaxation
response in reducing hypertension, insomnia, anxiety,
pain, and medication use across multiple populations,
diagnostic categories, and settings. Recommendations
for the use of relaxation responses in varied clinical
settings are included. [References: 88]
9. Relaxation response in femoral angiography.
Authors Mandle CL. Domar AD. Harrington DP. Leserman
J. Bozadjian EM. Friedman R. Benson H.
Institution Department of Medicine, New England Deaconess
Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02215.
Source Radiology. 174(3 Pt 1):737-9, 1990 Mar.
Abstract Immediately before they underwent femoral angiography,
45 patients were given one of three types of audiotapes:
a relaxation response tape recorded for this study,
a tape of contemporary instrumental music, or a blank
tape. All patients were instructed to listen to their
audiotape during the entire angiographic procedure.
Each audiotape was played through earphones. Radiologists
were not told the group assignment or tape contents.
The patients given the audiotape with instructions to
elicit the relaxation response (n = 15) experienced
significantly less anxiety (P less than .05) and pain
(P less than .001) during the procedure, were observed
by radiology nurses to exhibit significantly less pain
(P less than .001) and anxiety (P less than .001), and
requested significantly less fentanyl citrate (P less
than .01) and diazepam (P less than .01) than patients
given either the music (n = 14) or the blank (n = 16)
control audiotapes. Elicitation of the relaxation response
is a simple, inexpensive, efficacious, and practical
method to reduce pain, anxiety, and medication during
femoral angiography and may be useful in other invasive
10. The measurement of regional cerebral blood flow
during the complex cognitive task of meditation: a preliminary
Authors Newberg, A. Alavi A. Baime M. Pourdehnad M.
Santanna J. d'Aquili E.
Institution Division of Nuclear Medicine, Department
of Radiology, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center,
Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org
Source Psychiatry Research. 106(2):113-22, 2001 Apr
Abstract This study measured changes in regional cerebral
blood flow (rCBF) during the complex cognitive task
of meditation using single photon emission computed
tomography. Eight experienced Tibetan Buddhist meditators
were injected at baseline with 7 mCi HMPAO and scanned
20 min later for 45 min. The subjects then meditated
for 1 h at which time they were injected with 25 mCi
HMPAO and scanned 20 min later for 30 min. Values were
obtained for regions of interest in major brain structures
and normalized to whole brain activity. The percentage
change between meditation and baseline was compared.
Correlations between structures were also determined.
Significantly increased rCBF (P<0.05) was observed
in the cingulate gyrus, inferior and orbital frontal
cortex, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), and
thalamus. The change in rCBF in the left DLPFC correlated
negatively (P<0.05) with that in the left superior
parietal lobe. Increased frontal rCBF may reflect focused
concentration and thalamic increases overall increased
cortical activity during meditation. The correlation
between the DLPFC and the superior parietal lobe may
reflect an altered sense of space experienced during
meditation. These results suggest a complex rCBF pattern
during the task of meditation.