What are some surprising statistics about meditation

Scientific studies meditation

Scientific studies for meditation should scientifically document the effects of meditation. Scientific studies have shown: Meditation is good for physical and mental health, satisfaction, and well-being. Scientific studies can do the following:

  • Scientific studies can test to what extent the effects traditionally attributed to meditation actually occur.
  • Scientific studies on meditation can contribute a great deal to psychology and thus to the understanding of people, especially the brain.
  • Scientific studies can show which physical and mental illnesses meditation is helpful for - and whether there are any contraindications.
  • Scientific studies of meditation can contribute to a deeper understanding of religion, spirituality - and (hopefully) also to religious and spiritual tolerance.

General overview studies

Meditation in Germany: A Nationally Representative Survey (2019)

Meditation in Germany: A nationally representative survey.

In order to determine the spread of meditation practice in Germany, the Professional Association of Yoga Vidya Yoga Teachers (BYV) commissioned a scientific study, which was carried out by Holger Cramer, head of research at the Clinic for Naturopathy and Integrative Medicine in Essen. The positive effect of meditation on body and mind has already been confirmed in numerous studies, but so far there have been no studies or figures on the use of meditation in the German population. The aim of the study was therefore to carry out a nationally representative survey on meditation practice. The survey was carried out by the Gesellschaft für Konsumforschung (GfK), which surveyed a representative population average based on the 2016 microcensus, so that neutrality was maintained. A total of 2,126 people aged 14 and over took part in the survey. In addition to the meditation habits, it was determined which reasons existed for the practice, which changes were found, as well as the socio-demographic characteristics of the individual persons.

Results: The study found that around 6.6% of participants have their own meditation practice. Of these, 0.7% meditate daily, 2.9% at least once a week and 1.3% at least once a month. A total of 17% of those questioned stated that they had already had experience with meditation in the course of their lives. Another 12.4% could imagine starting meditation in the next 12 months. The meditation practice is maintained for an average of 47.1 months. The most common reasons to meditate were improvements in mental health (71.1%) and mental performance (50.3%). 95% reported positive changes through meditation practice, with particular mentioning of greater balance, relaxation and well-being. Overall, 5.6% of those surveyed also practice yoga; 46.6% of current yoga practitioners also meditate, 39% of current meditators also practice yoga.

Conclusion: Since this study is a nationally representative survey on meditation in the general population of Germany, this means that statistically about 6,6% of people in Germany are currently meditating. With a population of 82.7 million, this is roughly extrapolated 5.46 million People. If you add those who want to start meditating, you get a total 15.7 million Those interested in meditation. Women and working people with a high school diploma of working age meditate most often. Over 95% of practitioners report positive changes from meditation.

"The study reported here (represents) the first nationally representative survey on meditation use in Germany and can serve to influence individual, clinical as well as health policy decisions. This survey shows an extensive interest in meditation, at least in parts of the German population , especially as a method of health promotion. A stronger health policy consideration of the process would therefore be desirable. " (For quote see: page 7)

Original study: Meditation in Germany: A nationally representative survey, Meditation in Germany, (file with full text can be requested from Yoga Vidya)

Article on the study: vintagebuch.de, Summary of "Meditation in Germany"

Project Study Work: What is Meditation? Attempt at a definition according to Patanjali (2019)

~~ In progress ~~

For the university certificate course "Science of Yoga Vidya", Michael Büchel worked out a project study with the title "Basics of Meditation and Samyama Meditation". The thesis deals with the question: "What is meditation and where does it take place". She tries to find an answer to the questions what exactly is the state of meditation, how it can be described, which stages of development there are and where exactly this experience is made in the self. Michael Büchel draws his answers mainly from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, but also introduces knowledge from other specialist areas. In addition, in this work he also deals with the Samyana meditation techniques and the question of how meditation can best be taught and taught in courses.

Definition of meditation:

Meditation describes an inner state, but also the technique of how to get into this state. Colloquially, meditation is assigned different meanings. It is understood as relaxation, as contemplation, as an introspection, as bringing the thoughts to rest in the mind, as experiencing extrasensory experiences, but also as a meditative way of life. Büchel describes the place where this state is experienced as the body-soul field, e.g. in the psyche, in the spirit or in the consciousness and on the psychic level in the brain. In this understanding, meditation would be an attitude, an attitude, a state in the body-soul field, an inner experience. More in-depth definitions of meditation can be found above all in the classical texts.

Patanjali writes in the Yoga Sutras: Yoga (meditation) is the calming down of the thoughts in the mind, so that the seer rests in his true being. Meditation as a technique is therefore the attempt to come step by step into this thought-free space with an alert mind and an uncolored consciousness and thus to align one's perception to ever finer impressions.

The state of meditation includes different levels of meditative absorption.

"These levels go from a mind that is rid of its everyday thoughts to a thought and concept-free state of the mind, in which the mind can develop itself in superconscious states (samadhi). The mind unfolds, so it expands from Everyday spirit up to higher spheres of the spirit, up to that which is no longer in the individual spirit, is no longer directly perceived by it, but creates a resonance in the individual spirit. [...] Meditative spiritual experiences guide the spirit but not only in ever more subtle spaces of perception (deepening of consciousness) inside and outside of the individual mind, but also expanding the mind in the breadth of perception, this could be called an expansion of consciousness. " (Büchel: page 4)

In brain research, too, the state of meditation could be made visible via the brain waves. Regarding Dr. Matthias Jacobi describes Büchel meditation as a combination of alpha and theta waves, without beta and with or without delta waves. Both alpha and theta waves are necessary. In the absence of alpha, we are no longer aware of the meditation; if there is no theta, we experience a living imagination, but without depth, without insight or inner meaning.

The mind as an instrument of meditation:

The mind is defined as the thinking consciousness of man. He controls and processes sensory impressions with the help of stored knowledge and leads them to a reaction or use. The mind grows with each new experience until it forms a personality or, even more closely, an ego. This personality becomes a solid structure that can adapt to new life situations, but is also anxious to maintain and defend its self and its convictions. In the course of time, these structures, but also more and more into fixed patterns of action and thought, which restrict the human being in his area of ​​experience and his variety of reactions. In everyday consciousness, the mind is therefore limited by the experiences it has made and the beliefs that it has adopted. He selects, structures, organizes and accentuates. As a result, unfamiliar experiences are increasingly excluded in his perception and his experiences.

With the help of spiritual techniques, such as meditation, the mind can learn to free its inner and outer perception and to reach higher levels of knowledge. "When the mind frees itself more and more from the limitations of the ego and personality, that is, ultimately can think and grasp without limits, this probably also means that the inner and outer perception is more liberated our perception threshold, have not crossed the transition from unconscious to conscious. The mind grows through spiritual experiences also as a physical instrument and is then again able to have more far-reaching experiences. Mental and spiritual development are mutually dependent. " (Büchel page 13)

Büchel describes some practical skills that are developed through spiritual practice. This includes relevance (recognizing the essentials), patience, refinement of the senses for ever more subtle impressions, impartial primal power, expansion and deepening of consciousness.

The stages of meditation:

"Another area of ​​meditative development is the perception of subtle (spiritual) impressions and experiences. For these experiences, the mind must learn not to act in an action-oriented manner, learn to collect impressions and experiences without (immediately) weighing the benefits, i.e. perceiving and thinking without short-term or long-term goal orientation. That is not possible with the everyday mind / everyday consciousness. It needs higher levels of mind and consciousness (Vijnamaya Kosha), which can look at things and impressions in an open-ended and abstract way with a deeper calmness, and draw conclusions, think and label the above to lose, it takes the ability to let things take effect. " (Büchel: page 16)

Through spiritual development and learning, the mind can be purified, liberated and led to ever higher truths and states. This development process takes place in different stages.

The concept has two levels, on the one hand an everyday or action level, which initially deals with coping strategies / coping strategies and the dissolution of patterns, and an experience level. The experience level or also the level of knowledge changes the view of things and leads to a deeper understanding of the spiritualization of everyday life.

Original article: The PDF for the thesis can be requested from Yoga Vidya.

Physical effect


Meditation more relaxing than vacation (2017)

A US study has shown that regular meditation has a longer recovery effect than long trips. The participants in the study, aged between 30 and 60, who spent a week in a resort, were divided into two groups: One group took part in a meditation retreat with yoga, self-reflection, and mantra-chanting, while the other group simply relaxed only like that. At the end of the week, all women reported that they were feeling better.

But at the next meeting a month later it turned out that the pure vacation group was mentally and physically not as fit as the meditation group. After another ten months it became clear that the meditation followers - in contrast to the pure holidaymakers - continued to feel improvements in problems such as depression and stress. They felt more vital and more mindful. The researchers also took blood samples from the participants to test for biological processes related to stress, cell health, and aging. These tests showed that meditation strengthens the cells in the long term and thus also improves the metabolism.

Conclusion: "Meditation seems to be one of the ways to strengthen our immune system," says Rudolph Tanzi, a neurologist at Harvard University. "The daily stress to which the organism is exposed is reduced."

Original study: Meditation and vacation effects have an impact on disease-associated molecular phenotypes

Article on the study: Meditation more relaxing than vacation, Meditation and vacation effects have an impact on disease-associated molecular phenotypes

The Amazing Healing Power of Meditation (2017)

For the largest study ever conducted to scientifically research the effects of meditation, 30 people, all with years of meditation experience, attended a seminar in the mountains of Colorado state. Under the guidance of an experienced teacher, the participants completed an intensive concentration meditation day after day for three months. The exercises aimed at mental relaxation, clarity and stability, as well as a positive attitude towards yourself and more compassion for others. "On average, after the three months, the meditation group had a 30 percent higher telomerase level than the comparison group," reports Elisabeth Blackburn. "The more positive the meditator's outlook on life, the higher their telomerase level."

Conclusion: At the end of the seminar, all participants felt much better than at the beginning. They were more resilient, more sensitive and less fearful. They could concentrate longer and get a better grip on their usual reactions, they were more determined and had a positive outlook on life. In a follow-up five months later, all of these effects were still detectable.

Original study: Seven-year follow-up shows lasting cognitive gains from meditation, Study: Meditating can help you focus and keep your brain young

Study Article: The Amazing Healing Power of Meditation

Meditation helps with obesity (2016)

Researchers at Wageningen University in the Netherlands studied 400 meditators for two years. They found that the test subjects had learned over time to recognize whether they were really hungry or just wanted to do certain things.

Her conclusion: meditation helps to find out what is really needed at a given moment. This strengthens self-confidence and self-control - the most important factors in changing eating behavior over the long term. The experts advise: If you feel cravings, hide your surroundings for a few minutes with meditation, for example with a meditation listening program.

Original study: Body and Mind: Mindfulness Helps Consumers to Compensate for Prior Food Intake by Enhancing the Responsiveness to Physiological Cues

Article on the study: Lean Through Meditation, Can You Lose Weight On the Mindfulness Diet ?, Meditation Helps You Lose Weight, Healing Power of Meditation

Lose Weight With Mindfulness Training (2016)

A diet and exercise program that included mindfulness training resulted in participants having lower metabolic risk factors than those who did the same program without the exercise, according to a study led by researchers at UC San Francisco. Metabolic risk factors include a large waist size, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and triglycerides, and low HDL cholesterol, the "good" cholesterol. The presence of at least three of these risk factors warrants a diagnosis of metabolic syndrome, a condition that increases the likelihood of heart disease, type II diabetes, and stroke.

Conclusion: The results suggest that mindfulness training can promote sustained improvements in healthy eating, as well as positively affecting metabolic health associated with behavioral weight loss programs for obesity.

Original study: Mindful eating, meditation may lead to better metabolic health

Articles on the study: Lose Weight With The Power of Meditation, Lose Weight Through Meditation

Meditation helps with obesity (2016)

Researchers at Wageningen University in the Netherlands studied 400 meditators for two years. They found that the test subjects had learned over time to recognize whether they were really hungry or just wanted to do certain things.

Her conclusion: meditation helps to find out what is really needed at a given moment. This strengthens self-confidence and self-control - the most important factors for changing eating behavior in the long term. The experts advise: If you have cravings, hide your surroundings for a few minutes with meditation, e.g. with a meditation listening program.

Original study: Body and Mind: Mindfulness Helps Consumers to Compensate for Prior Food Intake by Enhancing the Responsiveness to Physiological Cues

Article on the study: Lean Through Meditation, Can You Lose Weight On the Mindfulness Diet ?, Meditation Helps You Lose Weight

How Positive Feelings Build Physical Health (2013)

The study by wellbeing researcher Barbara Fredrickson "How Positive Emotions Build Physical Health" (2013) examined the health-making effects of meditation. For this purpose, 65 test persons were instructed for six weeks in the so-called "loving-kindness meditation" (also called "loving-kindness meditation" or "meta-meditation"), in which, in an upright sitting position, one internally thought about goodness for 15 minutes a day speaks, for example wishes for one's own well-being, inner peace, etc. In doing so, a clearly perceptible part of the body is focused and it is observed how it feels over the period of meditation. Wandering thoughts are gently brought back to the actual meditation by focusing again on a thought of kindness. Every week the thoughts are expanded. While they are dedicated to the self in the first week, loved ones are included in the second week. In the third week the thoughts of kindness also relate to acquaintances who are not that close, in the fourth also to strangers and in the fifth week to all people.

The study showed that the subjects felt more good feelings such as joy, hope, gratitude, and love through meditation. Through the improved bond with oneself, the relationships with other people were also experienced more positively and closer. This in turn increased the activity of the vagus nerve which indicates and increases physical health and internal relaxation. So a spiral of well-being and recovery is set in motion. The regular cultivation of positive feelings nourishes the physical well-being, strengthens interpersonal bonds, promotes the health of the nervous system and directs the meditator's attention in everyday life to moments of joy and positive togetherness. The researcher says that for the first time it has been proven that the tone of the vagus nerve is not innate, but can change through an active mind.

Original study: How positive emotions build physical health

Article on the study: Business Psychology Current

Meditation changes body temperature (2013)

The National University of Singapore found that meditation can change the meditator's body temperature. Tibetan nuns who meditate with G-tummo meditation can raise their body temperature to 38.5 ° C even though they have ice-cold towels wrapped around their bodies, which are at a temperature of minus 25 ° C. This meditation technique involves counting and focusing on the breath and is therefore not suitable for beginners.

The Tummo meditation technique controls the inner energy. It is considered the most sacred spiritual practice in Tibet. Practitioners can raise their body temperature so that they can wear wet clothes on their bodies in an environment of minus 25 ° C without getting sick, and also dry them in the process. Your body temperature rises up to 38.3 ° C. The researchers were able to observe the rise in temperature using electroencephalographic recordings (EEG).

As a second attempt, western meditators were examined during a tummo meditation. Their body temperature also rose, but not as much as the Tibetan nuns, who are well-established in their meditation technique. This meditation technique could also be used to strengthen resilience and improve cognitive skills.

The voluntary rise in body temperature can be traced back to the vase breathing and the concentration on the visualization of flames.

Another investigation with Tibetan monks was carried out in northern India in 2002. The monks were supposed to meditate with scant clothing in a room that was only 4 ° C. In a state of deep meditation, cold, wet towels were also hung around them. As a rule, the human body would not begin to tremble in a controllable manner. The body temperature would drop and, depending on the duration of the situation, the person could freeze to death. The monks, on the other hand, not only kept their body temperature, but also used their body heat to dry three cold, wet cloths here over a period of several hours.

Original study: Neurocognitive and somatic components of temperature increases during g-tummo meditation: legend and reality.

Article on the study: Thorsten Schmitt: Meditation increases body temperature, study proves: Tummo meditation can control core body temperature, super energy in meditation - scientifically measured

Muscular and nervous system

Meditation in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (2017)

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a chronic degenerative disease of the motor nervous system, i.e. the disease mainly affects the nerves of the musculoskeletal system, so that over the course of a few years more and more movement restrictions occur. Due to the unfavorable prognosis, depression can often occur in those affected. A healthy diet rich in antioxidants can have a positive effect on the course of the disease. A study has now shown that regular meditation can also significantly improve the psychological well-being of ALS patients.

Italian researchers looked at how meditation affected mental well-being in a study of 100 ALS patients who had been diagnosed with ALS over the past 18 months. One group received normal psychological support, the other meditated regularly for eight weeks as part of a mindfulness-based stress reduction program (MBSR).

Results: The meditation group reported significantly less anxiety, negative emotions or depression after the first eight weeks. This positive effect of meditation also persisted for at least 12 months. In many patients, the condition improved even further during this period. The Italian study was the first controlled research in the field and showed that mindfulness-based meditation can be an important tool to improve the well-being of ALS patients.

Original study: Meditation training for people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: a randomized clinical trial (2017)

Article on the study: Meditation helps with ALS, Medicalnewstoday (02/17): Meditation benefits patients with ALS

Mindfulness Meditation Lowers Pressure on Soul and Eyes (2017)

A team of researchers from India, Germany and the USA has investigated the extent to which an MBSR program for glaucoma patients can improve both the emotional and physical components. Primary open-angle glaucoma is associated with an increase in intraocular pressure, which leads to damage to the optic nerves. The reduced eyesight and the fear of going blind increase the stress level of those affected. This can lead to an increase in intraocular pressure and promote the progression of the disease. To reduce this pressure on both the soul and the eyes is the goal of relaxation procedures as a supplement to medication treatment. A proven practice for reducing stress is mindfulness meditation (MBSR).

Conclusion: The present study was able to prove that daily mindfulness meditation has a positive effect on the clinical manifestation of primary open-angle glaucoma (intraocular pressure) as well as on the quality of life of the patient.

Original study: Mindfulness Meditation Reduces Intraocular Pressure, Lowers Stress Biomarkers and Modulates Gene Expression in Glaucoma

Article on the study: Mindfulness meditation lowers pressure on the soul and eyes

Meditation improves the sense of touch (2015)

In 2015, researchers led by Hubert Dinse from the Ruhr University Bochum examined the effects of Zen meditation on the feeling in the fingertips. The scientists observed 20 experienced meditators as part of a four-day meditation seminar. In addition to the regular meditation sessions, the test subjects should complete certain exercises in which the concentration should be directed exclusively to the right index finger for a full two hours a day.

The stimulus response was measured using a specific measurement technique ("two-point discrimination threshold"). In the meditators, the threshold for the right index finger improved by 17%. This comes close to the "instinctive feeling" of musicians or the visually impaired, whose sense of touch is usually 15-20% sharper than that of sighted people. These research results show that clear learning effects can also be achieved in a very short time through purely mental processes.

Original study: Enhanced tactile acuity through mental states

Article on the study: Zen Meditation Can Sharpen the Sense of Touch, Meditation Improves the Sense of Touch, Neuroplasticity: How the Mind Sharpens the Sense of Touch

Meditation improves effectiveness of nerve fibers (2012)

Washington / Lubbock (dpa) - An attention meditation changes the nerve fibers of a certain brain region more strongly in four weeks than a pure relaxation exercise. In a front part of the cerebral cortex, the isolation of the nerve cell processes (axons) has improved significantly after meditation training, which leads to a faster transmission of signals, report researchers led by Yi-Yuan Tang from the Texas Tech University in Lubbock (US state Texas) . The so-called anterior cingulate cortex is generally associated with the control of perception and emotions, as well as the ability to resolve conflicts. In one study, 45 students from the University of Oregon and in another study 68 students from the Chinese Dalian University of Technology were divided into two groups. None of the participants had any previous experience with meditative exercises. One group received attention meditation and the other received relaxation exercises. In the first study, the training lasted four weeks with a total of 11 hours, in the second study over two weeks with five hours. The group with the attention meditation showed a lower permeability of the cell walls in certain brain regions after four weeks, which speaks for better isolation. In addition, the researchers suspect a compression of the nerve fibers.

Original study: Mechanisms of white matter changes induced by meditation

Study Article: Meditation Improves Nerve Fiber Effectiveness

Stress Reduction in Inflammation of the Nervous System (2013)

A scientific study by neuroscientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the Waisman Center found that mindfulness meditation reduced both stress and the markers of inflammation in the blood that are responsible for chronic inflammation.

A meditation program (mindfulness meditation) was compared with a health course, which included nutritional advice, walking, balance and strength exercises as well as music therapy. Both test groups were supposed to practice with the same frequency and were given the same number of instructed hours. Then stress was created in the participants and a special ointment caused inflammatory reactions on the skin, in order to measure the immune reaction and hormone release before and after the exercises. It turned out that both methods could reduce stress, but only the aspect of mindfulness also had an anti-inflammatory effect.

Original study: A comparison of mindfulness-based stress reduction and an active control in modulation of neurogenic inflammation

Article on the study: Kopp Verlag

Physiological effects of meditation - resting tone, muscular blood flow, lactate, cortisol, alpha rhythm (1986)

  • Dietrich Ebert summarizes the effects of meditation in his book "Physiological Aspects of Yoga and Meditation" as follows:
    • Meditation partially lowers the resting tone of the skeletal muscles
    • Meditation lowers the calm energy turnover
    • Meditation increases blood flow to muscles
    • Meditation lowers blood lactate and cortisol levels
    • Meditators have a stable α-rhythm of greater amplitude and thus a relaxed waking state
    • Meditation is a state that is antagonistic to both the stress response and sleep

Book: Ebert, Dietrich: Physiological aspects of yoga and meditation.

Book Review: Yoga in the Mirror of Science (2010)

Cardiovascular system

Normal blood pressure through meditation and yoga (2017)

The meta-analysis showed that meditation and yoga appeared to reduce both systolic and diastolic hypertension, which were within similar baseline ranges, and the reduction was statistically significant; however, some results showed little difference. Meditation, in particular, played a noticeable role in reducing blood pressure in those older than 60 years, while yoga contributed to the decline in those under 60 years of age

Conclusion: Meditation and yoga are proving to be effective alternatives to drug therapy. Since high blood pressure decreased with the use of meditation and yoga, and this effect varied in different age groups, scientifically measured results suggest that these practices are safe alternatives in some cases.

Study: Meditation and yoga (including mantra) are demonstrated to be effective alternatives to pharmacotherapy for lowering blood pressure, Blood Pressure Response to Meditation and Yoga: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Articles on the study: Normal blood pressure through meditation and yoga, meditation with high blood pressure

Transcendental Meditation to Lower Blood Pressure (2017)

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends Transcendental Meditation for lowering blood pressure. In their report, the AHA assessed three categories of alternative healing approaches: behavioral measures (meditation), physical or device exercises and non-invasive procedures.

Conclusion: For hypertensive patients with values ​​higher than 120/80 mmHg, non-drug alternative therapies such as transcendental meditation are recommended.

Study: Meditation and Cardiovascular Risk Reduction

Study article: Transcendental Meditation as an Effective Way of Lowering Blood Pressure

Stress Reduction in Heart Disease Prevention (2012)

Meditation can prevent heart disease

A long-term study by Maharishi University in Fairfield, which ran for 5.4 years, examined the effects of transcendental meditation on high blood pressure. For this, 201 patients with coronary heart disease were randomly assigned to a meditation group or a group with health education. Participants practiced for 20 minutes twice a day.

During the study period, there was a 48% reduction in the risk of heart attacks, strokes and mortality in the mediation group. This change was associated with a reduction in systolic blood pressure by an average of 4.9 mmHG and a decrease in stress and arousal. Therefore, the researchers conclude, Transcendental Meditation is well suited for the clinical prevention of heart disease.

Original study: Stress Reduction in the Secondary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease

Meditation for high blood pressure (2017, 2008, 1993)

Doctors at the University of Würzburg under the direction of Wolfram Voelker have come to the conclusion that regular meditation lowers high blood pressure as well as corresponding medication.

For their study, the scientists divided 52 patients with high blood pressure between the ages of 30 and 70 into a meditation group and a control group. The test subjects of the meditation group completed a holistic meditation in the Würzburg Benedictine monastery and practiced spiritual breathing techniques. After a four-week introduction, another month followed with two 40-minute meditation units per day. At the end of the two months, these participants' resting blood pressure had dropped an average of twelve percent. The meditation group also performed significantly better in standardized stress tests and in 24-hour blood pressure measurements. The participants in the control group, on the other hand, did not show any changes in any test.

The researchers suspect that meditation affects the autonomic nervous system, which relaxes the narrowed blood vessels in high-pressure patients. It is also possible that the brain slows down the release of stress hormones under the influence of meditation. Further studies on this aspect are desirable, especially on the question of whether the effect of meditation can be demonstrated over a longer period of time and which patients respond best to it. The scientists hope that meditation can help to save drugs against hypertension or even to omit drugs for certain patients.

Original study: Contemplative meditation reduces ambulatory blood pressure and stress-induced hypertension: a randomized pilot trial. (2008)

Article on the study: Meditation instead of medicine

One of the earliest studies on the effects of meditation on high blood pressure was carried out by the Center for Health and Aging Studies at Maharishi University in Fairfield. 127 patients with stage I hypertension were examined. The patients were divided into groups who practiced either meditation or progressive muscle relaxation over a period of three months. A control group received a health briefing. At the end of the study, it was found that the systolic blood pressure in the meditation group decreased by 10 mmHg.It decreased only a little in the group with progressive muscle relaxation and not at all in the control group.

Original study: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Stress Reduction for Hypertension (1993)

In the case of arterial hypertension, yoga seems to work particularly through breathing and meditation techniques and less through yoga postures. The aim of this study was therefore to compare the antihypertensive effects of yoga interventions with and without yoga postures in patients with arterial hypertension.

Results: After the intervention, the systolic 24-hour blood pressure in the yoga group that did not practice yoga postures was significantly below that of the control group (group difference [Δ] = −3.8 mm Hg; [95% confidence interval (CI): (−0.3; −7.4) p = 0.035]) and that of the yoga group that practiced yoga postures (Δ = −3.2 mm Hg; 95% CI: [−6.3; −0.8 ]; p = 0.045). No group differences were found with regard to diastolic blood pressure. No serious adverse events occurred during the study. Conclusion: In line with previous studies, only yoga without yoga postures induced a short-term reduction in ambulatory systolic blood pressure. Because yoga has been safe and effective in patients with hypertension under pharmacological treatment, it can be recommended as an additional treatment option for those affected.

Original study: Yoga for arterial hypertension

Article on the study: Yoga can have positive effects on high blood pressure

immune system

Meditation prevents flu and colds (2012, 2010, 2003)

Meditation makes you less prone to colds.

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that adults who meditate regularly are less prone to colds and pneumonia than non-meditators. In the study, 149 people were divided into three groups: a meditation group, a group that did regular physical exercise, and a control group that was inactive. The practice was for 8 weeks, after which the patients were left to their own devices and observed for sick days and visits to the doctor during the cold period between September and May. The study showed that the meditation group had fewer colds, the severity of the illness was lower, and the symptoms subsided more quickly.

Original study: Meditation or Exercise for Preventing Acute Respiratory Infection (2012)

Article on the study: Meditation prevents colds, Forget popping vitamins, MEDITATION could stave off colds and flu

American researchers from Philadelphia hypothesized that mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) not only increases psychosocial well-being, but also changes the markers of immune activity. To prove this theory, a pilot study was conducted in which 24 subjects without autoimmune disease went through an eight-week MBSR program. Blood samples were taken at the start of the study and two weeks after the end of therapy.

Significant improvements in quality of life and a reduction in stress and anxiety were found. The latter correlated with a reduction in C-reactive proteins. Subjects who reported an increase in general psychological well-being showed an increase in the cytolytic activity of the natural killer cells. The MBSR program not only triggered well-being, but also had a positive effect on immunological measures.

Original study: Enhanced psychosocial well-being following participation in a mindfulness-based stress reduction program is associated with increased natural killer cell activity (2010)

Article on the study: FitScience: Mindfulness-based stress reduction influences the immune system

A team of researchers from the University of Wisconsin in Madison (USA) also reported in 2003 in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine that meditation can have long-term positive effects on brain functions and the immune system. Richard Davidson's scientists let 25 people take part in mindfulness training for eight weeks and were encouraged to meditate at home themselves. The control group of 16 people, on the other hand, did not receive any meditation training.

After completing the exercise, the researchers examined the activity in the frontal area of ​​the brain. Previous studies had found that more left-sided activity was related to positive feelings. In fact, the meditators showed greater left-sided activation than the control group who had not meditated.

In addition, the test subjects received a flu vaccination at the end of the training session. Flu antibody counts were measured four and eight weeks after vaccination. Although the number of antibodies in the blood increased in both groups, the increase in the meditation group was significantly higher than in the control group. Further studies would be desirable to support these results.

Original study: Alterations in brain and immune function produced by mindfulness meditation (2003)

Article on the study: Meditation helps prevent flu

Meditation leads to stable health

A connection between relaxation exercises such as yoga or meditation and stable health has so far not really been proven on a scientific level. Now, however, scientists from Massachusetts General Hospital have followed and examined more than 4,000 patients over a longer period of time. They were instructed to integrate meditation or other relaxation techniques into their everyday lives. A control group of 13,000 patients did nothing of the sort.

The result was that 43% of health problems, such as headaches, insomnia or colds, disappeared by themselves thanks to the relaxation exercises, which in many cases made a doctor's visit superfluous.

Original study: Relaxation Response and Resiliency Training and Its Effect on Healthcare Resource Utilization

Article on the study: Yoga and meditation can replace the doctor

Meditation reduces inflammatory mechanisms in the body (2014, 2012)

Scientists from Radboud University Medical Center in Nijmegen, The Netherlands, studied the effects of the Wim Hof ​​meditation method on the human immune system. This method is very similar to the Tibetan tummo technique (yoga of the inner heart) and includes breathing exercises, third eye meditation and cold. 12 participants were trained to fight off inflammation.

The experiment involved a total of 24 volunteers, 12 people who practiced the Wim Hof ​​method and 12 volunteers who did nothing of the sort. All participants were injected with strains of bacteria that caused flu-like symptoms.

The result of the study showed that the participants who practiced with the Wim Hof ​​Method had fewer fever and fewer flu symptoms than the comparison group. These results could have significant implications for the way various inflammatory conditions in the body can be treated.

Original study: Voluntary activation of the sympathetic nervous system and attenuation of the innate immune response in humans (2014)