Scientific research

Scientific & Medical Studies / Research
on Relaxation, Meditation & Hypnosis Mental States

Science Now Strongly Backs the Renowned Benefits of Relaxation for Health and Wellbeing - with a Constant Flow of Peer-Reviewed University Studies & Medical Research Conducted.

This includes Areas such as Stress Management, Cognitive Function, Attention, Mental Focus, Immune System, Overcoming Pain, Coronary & Stroke, Blood Pressure, Sleep Deprivation and Longetivity.

  Meditation & hypnosis

The common denominator in both meditation & hypnosis is relaxation, and growing numbers of studies - shown below - illustrate the vast and increasing range of benefits of relaxation upon mind and body.   You may jump to your areas of interest with the links below.

Heart / Blood Pressure / Stroke  |  Mental Health / Anxiety / Stress  |  Cognitive Function  |  Overcoming Pain  |  Immune System  |  Attention / Mental Focus  |  Sleep / Insomnia  |  Longetivity / Aging  |  IBS / Urinary  |  Cancer  |  |  Breast Cancer  |  Prostate Cancer  |  Diabetes  |  Other Health Benefits  |  Other Studies

Heart Health / Blood Pressure / Stroke

  human heart

Journal of American Heart Association:

Researchers Find Psychological Health & Heart Disease Link

November 29, 2022

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A new study spearheaded by the University of Louisville found a connection between psychological well-being and risk factors for heart disease, and concluded strong overall mental health corresponds to lower cardiovascular disease risk factors.

Published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, one of the strongest findings was was that wellbeing moderated the connection between age and heart health.

Researchers in UofL’s Christina Lee Brown Envirome Institute surveyed over 700 people on a broad spectrum of psychological well-being factors while testing the participants’ cardiovascular disease risk factors - including cholesterol, blood pressure, triglyceride levels and arterial stiffness, which is associated with the progression of heart disease.

Previous studies have showed a correlation between optimism and happiness and lower risk of cardiovascular health events. The survey for this study took a broader approach to assess psychological well-being, said Alison McLeish, associate professor of clinical psychology at UofL and first author of this study.

[ref. 56]

American Heart Association:

High-Risk Heart / Stroke Patients "Therapeutic Value" Due to Improved Blood Pressure Levels

November 06, 2022

A study presented at the American Heart Association meeting in Orlando, Fla., suggests that meditation assists people with established coronary artery disease. Researchers followed about 200 high-risk patients for an average of five years.

There were less heart attacks, strokes and deaths in the meditator's group than the comparison group, and the meditators tended to remain disease-free longer and also reduced their systolic blood pressure.

"We found reduced blood pressure that was significant - that was probably one important mediator," said Dr. Robert Schneider, director of the Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention, a research institute based at the Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, who presented the findings.

[ref. 54]

American Journal of Hypertension:

15 Minutes a Day - Students Results

April 9, 2018

A study in the American Journal of Hypertension showed that teenagers who meditated for 15 minutes twice a day for four months were able to lower their blood pressure a few points.

[ref. 30]

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI):

50% Lower Rate of Heart Attack, Stroke & Death

Nov 17, 2009

A $3.8 million study funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) has reached a first-ever finding: patients with coronary heart disease who practiced meditation had a nearly 50 percent lower rate of heart attack, stroke, and death compared to a matched group that didn't meditate.

[ref. 28]

Hero DMC Heart Institute (HDHI):

Managing Heart Disease

Hero DMC Heart Institute (HDHI) conducted a workshop on meditation and yoga on the reversal of heart disease with Prof Dr S.C. Manchanda and Swami Dharmananda from New Delhi, and Dr Bishav Mohan, a cardiologist, coordinated the workshop.

Strong scientific evidence was provided for the effectiveness of meditation and yoga in managing heart diseases.

Research people were selected with age group of 30-75 years with chronic stable angina and those who had more than 70 percent of heart blockage as shown in angiography, and they were subjected to meditation as well as good diet, moderate aerobic physical exercise and yoga.

After few months the results were astonishing - the progression of cause of blockage in artery stopped and their regression achieved by 15 percent, and their lipid profile showed 20 percent improvement.   More importantly, procedures in the active group were reduced by approximately 90 percent.

Dr. G.S. Wander, chief cardiologist Hero DMC Heart Institute said that holistic systems should be incorporated in clinics of regular hospitals, which could go a long way in prevention of cardiac diseases.

American Heart Association:

"Therapeutic Value" for Coronary Heart Disease

Findings from a study were presented at an American Heart Association meeting in Orlando suggest that meditation may have real therapeutic value for high-risk people with established coronary artery disease.

American Journal of Hypertension:

Lowering of Blood Pressure

According to a review study from the American Journal of Hypertension, meditation may help people lower their blood pressure.

Researchers reviewed nine studies to see how blood pressure levels were affected by meditation.

In all of the studies, people with high or high-normal blood pressure who practiced meditation were able to lower their blood pressure compared to people who didn’t meditate.

The average drop was 4.7 mm Hg systolic and 3.2 mm Hg diastolic pressure. Lowering your blood pressure can reduce your risk of stroke, atherosclerosis (narrowed arteries) and heart damage.

Yale University:

Yoga and Blood Pressure

New Haven, CT - A team of Yale researchers have found yoga - which is a form of meditation - to be an effective treatment for high blood pressure, one of the America's most common illnesses.

College of Maharishi Vedic Medicine:

Heart Health

Countless studies have looked at meditation and heart health. Regular practice has been shown to significantly help high blood pressure over the long term, according to government-sponsored studies conducted at the College of Maharishi Vedic Medicine in Fairfield, Iowa.

Among those studies, one showed significant lowering of blood pressure and heart rate in black adults.

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Mental Health / Anxiety / Stress

  joy / happiness

Open University of Catalonia

Mindfulness Help Adolescents Overcome Traumas

January 23, 2023

An international study the UOC participated in shows that mindfulness-type meditation, in combination with artistic expression activities and psychological therapy, is beneficial for adolescents who have suffered from traumatic experiences.

The results, published in the Scientific Reports journal, show that this approach presents a way of interrupting intergenerational cycles of suffering.

"Our study provides, for the first time, scientific evidence that this kind of intervention works", noted the study's main author, Perla Kaliman, a course instructor for the Master's Degree in Nutrition and Health from the UOC's Faculty of Health Sciences and researcher at the Center for Healthy Minds".

The scientists found hundreds of epigenetic changes associated with improved mental health in response to the programme. "We've seen a highly significant reduction in the scores from post-traumatic stress surveys, below the diagnosis of post-traumatic stress".

"And these benefits have lasted for at least two months after completing the programme", stated Kaliman, who explained that the reduction in stress through meditation and the artistic activities triggered a cascade of neurotransmitters and hormones that act on the brain and modify gene and epigenetic expression.

[ref. 66]

Springer Nature

New Research Shows Managing Emotions Helps Protect The Brain from Degenerative Disease

January 21, 2023

A Swiss study published in the journal Nature1 showed greater connection between emotions and neurodegenerative diseases.

Researchers looked at links between negative emotions, anxiety and depression, and the onset of neurodegenerative diseases and dementia to see the effects of emotional distress.

They recommended meditation for easing stress, improving concentration and mindfulness, and also for resolving and working through emotions.

[ref. 63]

Stanford University:

Daily 5 Minute Breathing Effective on Stress

January 10, 2023

Daily 5 minute breathwork and mindfulness improves mood and reduces anxiety, research has shown.

A study published in the journal Cell Reports Medicine, cyclic breathing proved to be more effective at improving mood than mindfulness meditation and other breathwork techniques.

Almost all participants felt that the stress reduction exercise helped them in some way. Dr David Spiegel and his colleagues wanted to study whether breathwork practices can be taught remotely and how these techniques can influence the mind and body over time.

[ref. 64]

Georgetown University Medical Center - Anxiety Disorders Research Program:

Meditation Results Equal to Drugs, in Study on Treating Anxiety

November 11, 2022

A study published in JAMA Psychiatry comparing mindfulness meditation to widely-prescribed anxiety drug Lexapro has shown both worked equally well in reducing debilitating anxiety symptoms, in 279 adults diagnosed with untreated anxiety disorders.

"The fact that we found them to be equal is amazing because now that opens up a whole new potential type of treatment," says study author Elizabeth Hoge, director of the Anxiety Disorders Research Program at Georgetown University Medical Center.

While not necessarily to be used to replace drug therapy, it opens up new treatment options. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, or MBSR, the technique taught in the study, was developed more than 40 years ago by Jon Kabat-Zinn, based on the principles of Buddhist vipassana meditation.

[ref. 23]

Lifestyle Medicine:

Meditation Reduces Physician Burnout & Stress - Elevates Compassion

November 7, 2022

A clinical study, peer-reviewed and published in “Lifestyle Medicine” by John Wiley & Sons Ltd, medical researchers found regular meditation significantly reduced burnout and secondary traumatic stress in physicians and healthcare professionals, while increasing compassion satisfaction.

According to the AMI Meditation study’s lead author, Mark Pettus MD, “From 2017 through 2020, a total of 54 attending physicians and health-care professionals participated in this study.

In the September 13, 2022 issue of the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, published research co-authored by the American Medical Association shows how the COVID-19 pandemic magnified and accelerated the U.S. physician burnout rate.

[ref. 55]

University of Freiburg

Hypnotic Suggestion Improves Slow-Wave Sleep and Hormone Secretion

July 26, 2022

A German study indicates that hypnotic suggestions presented before a 90-minute afternoon nap promoted slow-wave sleep, an increase in the release of prolactin and aldosterone, and also reduced the predominance of the sympathetic side of the autonomic nervous system.

Sleep is a fundamental biological process that plays a crucial role in a number of health aspects by modulating immune functions, growth, cardiovascular activity, metabolism, and other functions. It supports brain functions such as attention, memory, emotional regulation, and problem solving. It also regulates the activity of the autonomic nervous system, thus having a wide-reaching effect on the whole body.

Occuring in several stages, the deepest sleep is slow-wave sleep, which is thought to play a major role in regulating the release of various hormones including the growth hormone, cortisol, prolactin and aldosterone, as well as regulating the area of the nervous system which is the most active during stress or physically activity.

Hypnosis has been used in the past to treat sleep disorders and regulate sleep quality. Head of the study, Luciana Besedovsky, and reseachers explained “twenty-three healthy young, medium- to high-hypnotizable men participated in two experimental sessions, each encompassing a 90-min afternoon nap in the sleep lab.

In one session, participants listened to an audio tape that included hypnotic suggestions to sleep deeper (Hypnosis condition) while falling asleep, whereas in the other session, they listened to a neutral control text (Control condition). Sleep was recorded polysomnographically, including electrocardiography for determination of heart-rate variability (HRV)”.

[ref. 67]

2017-2020 Meta-Analysis of Studies:

Major Reduction in Anxiety

October 20, 2020

‌ According to an meta-analysis of 20 different studies, hypnosis was found to significantly improve anxiety symptoms in cancer patients, while another from 2019 encompassing fifteen different studies concluded hypnosis reduced the anxiety levels of patients by 79%. 

A 2020 study supported this by finding a 15-minute hypnosis brought immediate improvement of anxiety in patients who had severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

[ref. 47]

Baylor University / International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis

Mindfulness Combined with Hypnotherapy Aids Highly Stressed People

June 16, 2020

A new treatment for stress which combines mindfulness with hypnotherapy has shown positive results in a Baylor University pilot study.

This has been called "mindful hypnotherapy", which combines the focusing attention on present moment awareness (of mindfulness meditation) with mental imagery, relaxation and positive suggestions focused on symptoms, which come from hypnosis.

"It can help people cope with stress, but can require months of practice and training," said researcher Gary Elkins, Ph.D., director of the Mind-Body Medicine Research Laboratory at Baylor University.

Hypnosis interventions are typically brief and have been used in pain and symptom management in clinical practice. The study's basic premise is that using hypnosis to deliver mindfulness goals could have many advantages, Elkins said. The study is published in the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis.

At the conclusion of the study, a large decrease in stress and significant increase in mindfulness was reported, and overall satisfaction with the intervention was 8.9 on a scale of 10.

[ref. 62]

Cardiovascular & Mental Health Benefits

A study suggests the practice of meditation may bring cardiovascular and mental health benefits. The research followed close to 300 students, half of whom practiced meditation for 20 minutes once or twice daily over three months.

A subgroup of subjects in the meditation group who were at increased risk for hypertension significantly lowered their blood pressure and psychological distress, and also bolstered their coping ability.

The average reduction in blood pressure in this group - a 6.3-mm Hg decrease in the top (systolic) number of a blood pressure reading and a 4-mm Hg decrease in the lower (diastolic) number - was associated with a 52 percent reduction in the risk of developing hypertension in the future.

Meditators who were not at increased risk for hypertension saw a reduction in psychological distress, depression, and anxiety as well as increased coping ability.

Dr Benson: Meditation Alleviates Condition Caused or Worsened by Stress

Any condition that's caused or worsened by stress can be alleviated through meditation, says cardiologist Herbert Benson, MD, well known for three decades of research into the health effects of meditation. He is the founder of the Mind/Body Institute at Harvard Medical School's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

"The relaxation response [from meditation] helps decrease metabolism, lowers blood pressure, and improves heart rate, breathing, and brain waves," Benson says. Tension and tightness seep from muscles as the body receives a quiet message to relax.

There's scientific evidence showing how meditation works. In people who are meditating, brain scans called MRI have shown an increase in activity in areas that control metabolism and heart rate.

Other studies on Buddhist monks have shown that meditation produces long-lasting changes in the brain activity in areas involved in attention, working memory, learning, and conscious perception.

Improved Infertility Stress Reduction

Women struggling with infertility had much less anxiety, depression, and fatigue following a 10-week meditation program (along with exercise and nutrition changes); 34% became pregnant within six months.

Also, new mothers who meditated on images of milk flowing from their breasts were able to more than double their production of milk.

Monks who practiced Buddhist meditation had evidence of significantly greater brain activity, called gamma wave activity, in areas associated with learning and happiness compared with those who didn't practice meditation, according to a recent study.

Gamma waves involve mental processes including attention, memory, learning, and conscious perception. The monks also showed higher activity in areas associated with positive emotions, like happiness.

"There's no doubt from the standpoint of research and my own clinical experience that meditation can reduce both the experience of pain and help people manage stress resulting from having pain," Chapman said.

Meditation is a therapy offered in all comprehensive pain centers, he says.

Benson-Henry Institute for Mind/Body Medicine:

Changing Stress Reactions

July 3, 2008

Research from the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind/Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Genomics Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center say that relaxation techniques work by changing patterns of gene activity that affect how the body responds to stress.

"It's not all in your head. What we have found is that when you evoke the relaxation response, the very genes that are turned on or off by stress are turned the other way. The mind can actively turn on and turn off genes" said Dr Herbert Benson of the institute.

[ref. 31]

Clinical Research Department at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health:

Stronger Stress Relief

An eight-week study led by Dr. Toneatto, a senior scientist in the Clinical Research Department at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, evaluated the effects of daily meditation among 17 undergraduates.

After a pre and post-assessment of depression, somatic stress, and anxiety, findings concluded that these participants reported lower rates of anxiety, depression, and somatic stress, over an eight-week experimental period.

“Those that suffer from depression and anxiety are convinced that their negative beliefs about themselves are self-fulfilling prophecies. With meditation as a form of cognitive-behavioural treatment the goal is to realize that just because you have these beliefs doesn’t mean they are true—the same can be applied to problem gamblers,” Toneatto explained.


Teens - Improved Grades / Reduced Anxiety, Depression, ADHD

Research on meditating students shows improved grades and overall academic achievement; reduced stress, depression, and anxiety, and improvements in ADHD and post-traumatic stress disorder among children and teens.

Attention and Kindness

Meditation makes kids focus better, and become kinder.

Simple relaxation techniques, backed up with modern scientific knowledge of the brain, are helping kids hard-wire themselves to be able to better pay attention and become kinder, says neuroscientist Richard Davidson.

Davidson put his research into practice at elementary schools in Madison, Wis. About 200 students at four elementary schools have used breathing techniques to hard-wire their brains to improve their ability to focus on their work.

Cognitive Function


Alzheimer’s Association International Conference on the Prevention of Dementia:

Improved Cognitive Function

October 8, 2022

Meditation is among the most commonly used alternative therapies in the world, practiced by millions of individuals to reduce stress and anxiety, improve concentration, and even lower blood pressure.

At the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference on the Prevention of Dementia in Washington, D.C., results from a University of Pennsylvania study were unveiled confirming for the first time that daily practice of meditation can improve cognitive function among individuals with memory complaints.

Researchers began their investigation by conducting a series of neurological and memory tests on each subject, who ranged in age from 52-70, with either a history of memory complaints or a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment.

Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT) scans, a brain imaging technique which measures cerebral blood flow, were also conducted on each subject.

Testing confirmed statistically significant improvements in memory among all of the study's subjects.

But the most significant outcome of the study was the dramatic increases in blood flow to the region of the brain associated with learning and memory (the first region of the brain to decline in individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, which helps to explain why the blood flow-producing meditation has such a profound impact on cognitive functioning).

“This exciting study confirms what we have been observing in clinical practice for many years, that meditation is one of the most effective tools to address memory loss,” said Dharma Singh Khalsa, M.D., president and medical director of the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation, the non-profit organization which sponsored the study.

“While we are planning additional research in this area, we can say today with confidence that daily meditation is recommended as part of an integrated brain longevity strategy to delay, even prevent, cognitive decline”.

Andrew Newberg, M.D., assistant professor of radiology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and the study’s principal investigator, agreed.

“For the first time, we are seeing scientific evidence that meditation enables the brain to actually strengthen itself, and battle the processes working to weaken it,” said Newberg. “If meditation is helping patients with memory loss, we are encouraged by the prospects that daily practice may even prevent neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.”

[ref. 40]

Univeristy of Liege:

Mind Blanking Improves Cognitive Function

October 8, 2022

Researchers from the GIGA CRC In vivo Imaging at the University of Liège (Belgium), the EPF Lausanne and the University of Geneva published a study that shows “mind blanking” challenges the belief that the human mind is always thinking - as the brain actually enters into a similar mode to deep sleep, but while fully awake.

A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences indicates that our brains need to “go offline” for some moments.

“Mind blanking is a relatively new mental state within the study of spontaneous cognition. It opens exciting avenues about the underlying biological mechanisms that happen during waking life”, says the principal investigator Dr. Demertzi Athena, FNRS researcher at GIGA ULiège.

[ref. 41]

UCLA / NeuroImage:

Measurable Differences in Brain

September 13, 2022

Recent research suggests that meditation may contribute to a measurable difference between the brains of mediators and non-meditators.

A study published in NeuroImage presents findings by a group of researchers at UCLA who used MRI to scan the brains of meditators.

The researchers found that certain brain areas of the long-term meditator group were larger than those of the non-meditating control group, including hippocampal tissue, orbito-frontal cortex, the thalamus and the inferior temporal gyrus.

All of these areas are recognized as playing a role in emotional regulation.

[ref. 35]

University of Turku:

Hypnosis Changes Processing of Information Within the Brain

April 1, 2021

Researchers from the University of Turku have revealed that the way the brain processes information is fundamentally altered during hypnosis.

Published in the journal Neuroscience of Consciousness, the breakthrough helps us to understand how hypnosis brings about changes to behavior and experiences. The study was conducted by tracking electrical current through the brain during hypnosis and normal waking state.

“This allowed us to control the possible effects of the experimental set-up or other factors, such as alertness,” said Jarno Tuominen, a senior researcher at Turku.

[ref. 49]

University of Wisconsin:

Increased Left-Brain Activity, Optimism

Tulsa, Okla.

Scientific studies in the UK and Australia indicate that focused meditation techniques increase left-brain activity, altering perception and creating optimism. Two scientific studies have shown that certain relaxation techniques stimulate the left side of the brain, resulting in decreased anxiety and a happy disposition.

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin - Madison looked at the effects of meditation on 41 people. Twenty-five of the people attended a weekly class and a seven-hour retreat, and worked on meditation exercises at home. The others were a control group and did no meditation.

After eight weeks, the group who had meditated had a more active left frontal lobe, which is related to lower anxiety and a positive emotional state. The findings lend scientific credibility to the use of meditation techniques to reduce stress and treat pain.

Flinders Medical Centre's Centre for Neuroscience:

Science Backs Evidence of Clearer and Sharper Brain

Science can finally prove what Buddhists have sworn by for centuries - meditation really does sharpen and clear the brain.

Tests by Adelaide researchers have revealed that as people go further into a deep meditative state, their brain rhythms shift into a pattern of focus.

This supports long-standing beliefs that the practice can improve concentration levels and alertness in daily activities.

Scientists at the Flinders Medical Centre's Centre for Neuroscience have completed the first scientific demonstration of brain activity changes in distinct meditative states. The test used electroencephalography (EEG), which relies on electrodes placed on the scalp.

The results, reported at the World Congress of Neuroscience in Melbourne, showed clear changes in brain activity as subjects progressed deeper into meditative states.

Alpha brainwaves, which are associated with focus and attention, initially increased and delta brainwaves, linked to drowsiness, decreased.

As participants went further into mediation the alpha brainwaves, too, started to decrease, as the brain no longer needed to make an effort to be alert.

"So instead of becoming increasingly drowsy, they apparently become more alert" PhD researcher Dylan DeLosAngeles said.

"This supports the idea that meditation may help your day-to-day concentration." 

Meditation was developed more than 2500 years ago as a way to explore consciousness and a discipline to help people achieve a more beneficial state of mind.  The research was presented at the International Brain Research Organisation's annual world congress.

University of Wisconsin:

Several Weeks of Meditation Improve Brain Scan Results

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin in Madison studied meditation and brain scans showed surprising differences in brain waves with patients who had clinical depression, after just weeks of meditation.

Johns Hopkins School Of Medicine:

Synchronizing Left & Right Brain

March 2014

Neuroscientist Dr Shanida Nataraja Shanida Nataraja's PHD and post-doctoral research at the neuroscience department of Johns Hopkins School Of Medicine, Baltimore, has proved meditation does more than clear your head - it can put both halves of your brain to work, improving your concentration, memory and decision-making.

[ref. 36]

Memory Improvement

Tucson, Arizona
A study has found for the first time that there is evidence that daily meditation appears to improve memory loss and may strengthen parts of the brain affected by Alzheimer's disease.

Alzheimer's Research and Prevention Foundation:

Brain has Increased Blood Flow & Memory

Meditation can increase blood flow in the brain and improve memory, according to researchers who found the improvement after just eight weeks.

The 15 participants, ages 52 to 77, all had memory problems at the start, says Dharma Singh Khalsa, MD, one of the researchers and the medical director of the Alzheimer's Research and Prevention Foundation in Tucson, Ariz.

The researchers first gave all 15 participants cognitive tests and took brain images to measure blood flow.

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Overcoming Pain

  Ovecoming pain

National Institutes of Health:

Study Shows TM Reduced Brain's Reaction to Pain in Just Five Months

August 21, 2006

A scientific study supported by the National Institutes of Health says that in only five months, study participants experienced a significant decrease in their pain. 

* Twelve healthy long-term meditators who had been practicing TM for 30 years showed a 40-50% lower brain response to pain compared to 12 healthy controls. Further, when the 12 non-meditators then learned and practiced meditation for 5 months, their brain responses to pain also decreased by a comparable 40-50%.

This could reduce the brain's response to pain because neuro-imaging and autonomic studies indicate that it produces a physiological state capable of modifying various kinds of pain. In time it reduces trait anxiety, improves stress reactivity and decreases distress from acute pain.

According to Orme-Johnson, lead author of this particular research, indicates that meditation creates a more balanced outlook on life and greater equanimity in reacting to stress. This study suggests that this is not just an attitudinal change, but a fundamental change in how the brain functions".

Pain is part of everyone's experience and 50 million people worldwide suffer from chronic pain.

Future research could focus on other areas of the pain matrix and the possible effects of other meditation techniques to relieve pain.

The study is reported in a NeuroReport journal article, published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins (Vol.17 No.12; 21 August 2006:1359-1363)

[ref. 25]

University of Manchester:

Pain Control

March 3, 2010

A scientific study revealed that meditation carries a considerable influence over how much pain the human body can feel, and that the emotional impact pain often brings is significantly diminished in patients who meditate on a regular basis.

"Meditation trains the brain to be more present-focused and therefore to spend less time anticipating future negative events.

This may be why meditation is effective at reducing the recurrence of depression, which makes chronic pain considerably worse,” explained University of Manchester expert Christopher Brown, who was a part of the team behind the new study.

The investigation was conducted on 12 volunteer participants, of which some had decades-long experiences with meditation, whereas others had no training.

[ref. 32]

American Pain Society:

Analgesic Effects on Pain

October 23, 2009

Researchers from the University of North Carolina report that meditation creates a relaxed state of mind and an analgesic effect against pain, according to new research published in The Journal of Pain, published by the American Pain Society.

[ref. 51]

Immune System

  Immune system

Improve Immune Response

March 3, 2010

Using brain scans, researchers have recently discovered that meditation can change brain activity and improve immune response; while other studies have shown it can lower heart rate and blood pressure, both of which reduce the body’s stress response.  

There are thousands of scientific tests backing the power of meditation in the area of health, stress and longetivity.

In 1991 the Dalai Lama approached Richard Davidson, a University of Wisconsin scientist, professor and director of UW's Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior, who had been working on how the brain regulates emotion, whether he would study the effect meditation had on the brain.

Fifteen years later in May 2006, after Davidson’s research led to the groundbreaking discovery that activities like meditation could in fact train the mind to react to situations with positive emotions, Davidson was named a pioneer in the exciting frontier of mind-body medicine.

Davidson’s research discovered that during meditation, people experience increased brain activity in areas associated with attention and emotion, specifically in the left prefrontal cortex, a region associated with positive emotions.

The discovery, hailed as scientific validation of the link between spiritual practices and mental and physical health, earned Davidson worldwide recognition.

[ref. 33]

Immune Booster - Wards off Illess, Infection

September 2, 2003

Meditation has shown to helps ward off illness and infections. In one study testing immune function, flu shots were given to volunteers who used mental relaxation for eight weeks and to people who didn't meditate.

Blood tests taken later showed the meditation group had higher levels of antibodies produced against the flu virus, according to the study in Psychosomatic Medicine.

[ref. 34]


The Garvan Institute:

Stress Inhibits the Immune System

The Garvan Institute discovered how stress causes a hormone to be released into the bloodstream which inhibits the immune system and makes people more susceptible to getting sick.

Attention / Mental Focus

Stanford University:

Neuroscientists Discover Hypnosis May Improve Focus

July 29, 2016

According to a study published in Cerebral Cortex, patterns of mental activation indicate that hypnotized patients focus better upon single tasks without worrying about their surroundings.

Hypnosis is a “state of relaxed focus,” according to the American Association of Professional Hypnotherapists. David Spiegel, a psychologist at Stanford and lead author of the paper, describes it as the feeling of living in the moment without feeling self-conscious about your behavior.

“You do shift into a different kind of brain function when you go into a hypnotic state,” he says. “It helps you focus your attention so you’re not thinking about other things, you have better control what’s going on in your body, and you’re less self-conscious.”

“In general, people who are hypnotizable tend to be less self-conscious, trust other people more…and use their imaginations more,” Spiegel says.

[ref. 48]

American University:

Greater 'Restful Alertness'

April 8, 2010

A study at American University and published in a special issue of Cognitive Processing dedicated to meditation and consciousness in February, 2010, concluded that meditation produced a unique state of "restful alertness," and that meditation produced greater brain functioning.

Finally, the study described how meditation enhanced an individual's sense of "self" by activating what neuroscientists call the "default node network" in the brain, the natural ground state of the brain that exists when you close your eyes, but is much more enhanced during meditation.

Previous research, funded by the National Institute of Health shows that meditation practice decreases blood pressure, heart disease, and lowers cholesterol.

[ref. 38]

Clifford Saron at the University of California-Davis Center for Mind and Brain:

3 Month Study Shows Quicker Focus / Sharper Attention

May 8, 2007

Researchers at the Clifford Saron at the University of California-Davis Center for Mind and Brain investigated 17 meditation volunteers before and after they completed three months of rigorous training in meditation.

They meditated for 10 to 12 hours a day and the researchers also studied 23 novices who received a one-hour meditation class and then meditated for 20 minutes daily for a week.

The scientists asked volunteers to look for numbers flashed on a video screen amongst a series of distracting letters. Their brain activity was monitored using electrodes placed on their scalps.

Davidson and his colleagues found the brains of volunteers who received the intense mental training apparently needed less time to spot details than before. The training also improved their ability to detect the second number within the half-second attentional blink time window.

[ref. 37]

University of Wisconsin:

Concentration & Emotional Control

Richard Davidson, a University of Wisconsin scientist, found that longtime Buddhist practitioners of meditation can induce a heightened pattern of electrical signals called gamma-band oscillations.

These are associated with concentration and emotional control not seen in control groups. These changes are sustained even after meditating.


Psychological Science Journal:

Longer Attention Spans

A study in the journal Psychological Science shows that meditation can help people focus their attention more clearly and for longer periods of time.

University of Wisconsin-Madison:

Neuroscience Discovers Transformational Deeper Focus

June 25, 2007

A study by Richard Davidson, a neuroscience professor at University of Wisconsin-Madison, showed that Tibetan Buddhist monks managed to structurally alter their brain functions with meditation. 

Davidson's study showed that while meditating, Tibetan monks produced gamma waves which represent extremely focused thought thirty times stronger than a control patient.

Davidson also documented that normally erratic brain waves became more synchronized during meditation and that the part of the brain associated with positive emotions was more active.

"I think the science behind meditation is actually quite good," says Matthew Stanford, a neuroscientist at Baylor University in Texas who signed the petition and who is working on an article about Christianity and psychology.

[ref. 39]

  Scientific results graph


Stronger Attention and Sensory Processing

Nov 28, 2005

At Harvard, scientist Dr Sara Lazar found that people who incorporate meditation into their daily lives have thicker brain tissue in regions associated with attention and sensory processing.

Her results, published in November in NeuroReport, showed that those regions were 20 percent larger than in control groups. Practicing meditation regularly may slow age-related thinning of the frontal cortex, her study suggests.

Of the 20 subjects studied, two were full-time meditation teachers and three were part-time yoga or meditation teachers. The rest were professionals in other fields who meditated an average of once a day for 40 minutes.

[ref. 29]

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Sleep / Insomnia


Psychological Institute of the University of Zurich:

Hypnosis Extends Restorative Slow-Wave Sleep

June 2, 2014

A study published in the scientific journal "Sleep," demonstrated that hypnosis has a positive impact on the quality of sleep, to a surprising extent.

"It opens up new, promising opportunities for improving the quality of sleep without drugs," says biopsychologist Björn Rasch who heads the study at the Psychological Institute of the University of Zurich.

Seventy young women took part in the study, using a special 13-minute slow-wave sleep hypnosis tape developed by hypnotherapist Professor Angelika Schlarb, a sleep specialist, in a sleep laboratory before taking a 90-minute midday nap.

In their study, sleep researchers Maren Cordi and Björn Rasch were able to prove that highly suggestible women experienced an 80 percent increase of slow-wave sleep after listening to the hypnosis recording, compared with the control group.

According to psychologist Maren Cordi "the results may be of major importance for patients with sleep problems and for older adults.In contrast to many sleep-inducing drugs, hypnosis has no adverse side effects."

It was concluded that everyone who responds to hypnosis could benefit from improved sleep through hypnosis.

[ref. 50]

University of Kentucky:

Overcome Effects of Sleep Deprivation

January 2014

Dr Bruce O'Hara, from the University of Kentucky, studied claims by Buddhist monks that dedicated meditation can reduce the need for sleep, and tested a group who deprived themselves of sleep the night before a test. Those who meditated right before the test performed better than those who did not.

  O'Hara next examined sleep-deprived subjects who took a nap right before the test. They actually did worse because it takes time to fully recover alertness after a nap.  O'Hara found meditating subjects, whether alert or sleep-deprived, still performed better on the test an hour after meditating.

[ref. 27]

Harvard, Yale & MIT Universities

Treatment for Insomnia and Anxiety

February 2, 2006

Meditation is fast becoming a more widely endorsed treatment for conditions such as insomnia and anxiety, according to a new body of empirical research released from Harvard, Yale and MIT Universities.

Following on from the range of scientific research into the benefits of meditation and the positive psychological and physiological elements of the practice, many mainstream physicians are recommending that patients suffering from sleep deprivation or nervous conditions undertake a process of meditation as a self-help remedy, which is helping the treatment win new fans the world over.

This means meditation's medical credentials are now making it more mainstream after having previously been seen as a purely alternative treatment, with more and more physicians beginning to adopt and endorse the findings of research into meditation, and it looks to continue to grow in popularity over the coming years.

The news follows recent high profile research from Harvard, Yale and MIT that found a correlation between brain size and meditation, leading to the conclusion that meditation can actually help increase the size of certain areas of the brain, compared to those that don’t meditate and have never done so.

"Our data suggest that meditation practice can promote cortical plasticity in adults in areas important for cognitive and emotional processing and well-being," said top neurologist Dr. Sara Lazar, leader of this research project at Harvard University.

It has been suggested that there is a clear physiological benefit to meditation in achieving greater relaxation and improving sleep, and it was stated there is a voluminous amount of literature about meditation research and study all pointing to the conclusion that it is beneficial for the human body, spirit and mind.

It was a surprise that it has taken this long for medical science at a practitioner level to adopt treatment by meditation after people across the world have testified to its effectiveness for thousands of years on a spiritual and physical level.

[ref. 43]

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Associated Professional Sleep Societies:

Good News on Insomnia

June 9 2009

Meditation may be effective in the treatment of insomnia, according to research presented at the 23rd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies.

Sleep latency, total sleep time, total wake time, wake after sleep onset, sleep efficiency, sleep quality and depression improved in patients who used meditation.

[ref. 53]

Longetivity / Aging


New research shows that long term practitioners of meditation have significantly lower free radical levels, which dramatically boosts longetivity.

University of Kentucky:

Slowing Aging In Parts of the Brain

January 2014

Massachusetts General Hospital study published in November 2005 showed that meditation slowed the aging of certain portions of the brain and increased its user's ability to focus, and a University of Kentucky team found that meditation could offset the sluggishness of sleep deprivation. 

[ref. 26]

Other Health & Related Benefits

  Relaxation / Meditation

University of Utah

Mindfulness Meditation Helps in Addiction

October 22, 2022

The study, published in the journal Science Advances, provides new insight into the neurobiological mechanisms by which mindfulness treats addiction. The study findings provided a promising, safe and accessible treatment option for the more than 9 million Americans misusing opioids.

Eric Garland, author of the paper, is a distinguished professor and associate dean for research at the University of Utah College of Social Work. and directs the University of Utah’s Center on Mindfulness and Integrative Health Intervention Development.

Garland’s study builds on previous research measuring the positive effects of theta waves in the human brain,. as findings showed that those with low theta waves tended to experience greater incidences of wandering mind, concentration issues and deeply focusing upon themselves.

[ref. 46]

Baylor University, Waco, Texas:

Combining Mindfulness with Hypnotherapy Makes Benefits More Accessible

June 20, 2020

To measure the effectiveness, researchers - headed by Gary Elkins, Ph.D. - analyzed a study of 42 students who experienced regularly high levels of stress. 50% of the group received no training, in order to create a control group.

The remaining half took part in 8 weekly 60 minute hypnosis sessions which also included mindfulness suggestions. Members of the group reported a significant reduction in stress, supporting the value of mindful hypnotherapy, and continued the process beyond the study. In comparison, the control group reported no such benefits.

Elkin concluded “combining mindfulness and hypnotherapy in a single session is a novel intervention that may be equal to or better than existing treatments, with the advantage of being more time effective, less daunting, and easier to use. This could be a valuable option for treating anxiety and stress reduction.”

He also suggested more studies examining its effectiveness for conditions such as anxiety, depression and chronic pain.

[ref. 44]


Mulitple Health Benefits Discovered

Multiple research studies have confirmed meditation's beneficial effects in boosting the immune system, dealing with stress, thickening brain areas in charge of decision-making and emotion regulation, delaying the progression of HIV, and the immune system destroying virus that causes AIDS, a new study at the Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology at UCLA has shown.

Women's Health Benefits

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS), infertility problems, and even breastfeeding can be improved when women meditate regularly. In one study, PMS symptoms subsided by 58% when women meditated. Another study found that hot flashes were less intense among meditating women.

Massachusetts General Hospital:

Physical Improvement Observations

Nov 28 2005

Massachusetts General Hospital's Sara Lazar says she can see physical changes in the brains of people who routinely meditate.

"Meditation can have a serious impact on your brain long beyond the time when you're actually sitting and meditating, and this may have a positive impact on your day-to-day living," says Lazar, an assistant in psychology at Massachusetts General Hospital and an instructor at Harvard Medical School.

Lazar found that certain parts of the brain were thicker for meditators. As she reported in the journal NeuroReport, Lazar and her research team used a MRI brain scanner to compare the brains of people who practiced Insight meditation every day, with non-meditators.

"These are not monks; these are just people who choose to meditate for about 45 minutes a day every day," she says.

Insight Meditation, or Vipassana, is the practice of mindfulness and awareness of yourself and the world around you. The belief is that the practice of mindfulness is highly effective in helping bring calm and clarity to the pressures of daily life, as well as being a spiritual path.

"Insight meditation is very user-friendly," says Joseph Schmidt, co-founder and executive director of the New York Insight Centre. "People in west can adopt this if you're a person involved in the church or a non-secular person or don't believe in religion."

Lazar and her research team found that certain areas of the cortex the outer layer of the brain that contains our thinking, reasoning and decision-making functions were significantly thicker in the meditators.

"One of them is right up in the front of your brain right above your right eye, and this is an area that's involved in decision making and in working memory, working short term memory", she explains.

She also saw thickening in another region of the brain, called the insula, that she considers "a central switchboard of the brain," connecting the primitive limbic cortex and the more advanced cortex, which is highly developed in primates and humans.

Lazar says this region is thought to be "involved in coordinating the brain and the body and the emotions and thoughts," she explains. "It helps us better make decisions."

The researchers think this thickening might help to counteract the natural thinning of the cortex that occurs as we get older. The brain's cortex starts getting thinner from about age 20 and continues to thin throughout life.

"It's not a cure-all, but it perhaps can help prevent the loss of some functions," Lazar says.

"One small part of the front of the brain does not get thinner with age… and this suggests that this part of the brain is not affected by age. And this part of the cortex is involved in short term working memory and cognitive decision-making."

Their results also suggested that continuing to meditate would continue the thickening process. "The thickness is strongly correlated with the amount of experience. So the more they sat, the thicker it was," Lazar says.

She says she'd expect a similar effect from other forms of meditation. She plans to further study how meditation might affect mental ability by testing people "at multiple time points and to test their cognitive ability to see if cognitive ability correlates with thickness and if that changes as the brain gets thicker," Lazar explains.

The Dalai Lama advocates that neuroscientists investigate the effect of spiritual traditions, such as meditation, on the brain.

People who practice meditation regularly will certainly tell you of the benefits. "I've noticed the benefit, certainly, in my own life in terms of awareness," says New York City writer, Andrea Louie.

"The most profound experience I had was just after 9/11. Immediately after the attack here in New York, many, many people were very angry. I found myself really feeling equanimity with myself, I was fully aware that adding to the anger wasn't going to help."

Lazar's research was published in the November 15, 2005 issue of NeuroReport, and was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control.

[ref. 29]

Psychosomatic Medicine:

Flu Shot Effectiveness

Meditation has shown to improve the effectiveness of flu shots.

In the controlled study in Psychosomatic Medicine, 48 employees at a biotechnology corporation in Madison, Wis., were randomly divided into two groups. One group received eight weeks of meditation training, including three hours of classes per week, and one seven-hour silent retreat.

The subjects were also asked to meditate on their own for one hour a day, six days a week, guided by audiotapes. The other group received no training.

Then the two groups were injected with the seasonal flu vaccine and subsequently the protective antibody response was measured.

The meditators had a statistically significant greater immune response to the vaccine than the non-meditators. It was almost as if the vaccine was more potent in the meditators.

US Federal Govt:

Relaxation is Most Popular Complimentary Medical Therapy

A study released by the US federal government showed that relaxation is used more often as a complimentary medical therapy (ie. CAM therapies) than the therapies of chiropractic, massage, yoga, diet-based therapies, progressive relaxations, guided imagery, or homeopathic treatments.

Harvard, Stanford, Yale & UCLA Medical Schools

More than 380 peer-reviewed research studies on the TM technique have been published in over 160 scientific journals at a wide range of universities and research centers around the world.

IBS / Urinary

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)


Back in 1984, a physician Peter Whorwell helped IBS patients using gut-directed hypnosis (GDH).

In one of the largest studies, involving 1,000 patients with difficult-to-treat IBS, 76 percent of participants benefited from hypnotherapy, reducing their symptoms by about half. The treatment also reduced the anxiety and depression that can accompany IBS.

A 2007 study of children with IBS or functional abdominal pain (FAP) found 59 percent of patients were considered cured, compared with 12 percent of the kids who received standard therapy, with follow-ups an average of 4.8 years later found that two-thirds of the children who had hypnotherapy were still in remission.

[ref. 45]

Loyola University Health System (LUHS):

Urinary Control in Women

Washington - Meditation may be an effective management strategy to control the frequent urge to urinate among women, according to a study. Loyola University Health System (LUHS) have employed cognitive therapy to treat overactive bladders.


Integrative Health Programs at Samueli Foundation:

Nearly two-thirds of cancer patients want to know about complementary therapies before treatment

15 Nov, 2022

"Patients want more information about their options so they can make informed decisions about their overall treatment-;both traditional and complementary together. It's up to providers to engage in conversations with their patients to better understand the 'whole person' who is coming for care and to foster treatment plans catered to individuals," says Wayne Jonas, MD, Executive Director of Integrative Health Programs at Samueli Foundation.

Nearly two-thirds (62%) of people with cancer want to know about complementary therapies such as exercise, nutrition counseling, massage, and meditation before starting conventional treatment, according to a new survey conducted on behalf of Samueli Foundation.

The survey of more than 1,000 patients diagnosed with cancer within the past two years, and 150 oncologists, revealed strong patient preference for cancer care that integrates supplemental approaches.

40% of cancer patients said they would have chosen a hospital that offered complementary therapies if they could go back in time, and 35% said their satisfaction would have increased if their healthcare team had offered them complementary services, such as mental health support/therapy, mindfulness, and spiritual services, in addition to traditional treatments like radiation and chemotherapy.

More than three-quarters of oncologists (76%) said they want to learn more about the benefits of complementary therapies combined with traditional treatments. Overall, 66% of cancer patients report using at least one complementary therapy, yet a majority never communicated this information to their oncologists.

The most reported complementary therapies used were nutrition consultation (35%), mental health support/therapy (27%), exercise consultation (26%), meditation/mindfulness (26%), and spiritual services (25%).

[ref. 19]

National Library of Medicine:

Mindfulness Shows Significant Impact Upon Cancer Pain

May 9, 2019

Mindfulness is being used increasingly in various aspects of cancer management, as pain occurs in 20% to 50% of patients with cancer. 

The benefits are being observed to manage the adverse effects of treatment, symptoms from cancer progression, and the cost-effectiveness compared to conventional contemporary management strategies.

In this study, it was shown that meditation helped to create significant improvement in pain control, and the stress related to it, not only for the patient but also for the support team, the extended family and carers.

[ref. 21]

American Cancer Society:

Popular Complimentary Therapy for Cancer

Many cancer patients and survivors use complementary and alternative therapies, according to a new study by the American Cancer Society.

The study, which is published in the journal Cancer, found that several types of complementary therapies are used by nearly half of cancer survivors, according to co-author Dr Ted Gansler, a member of the American Cancer Society.

American Cancer Society:

Meditation, Visualizaton & Relaxation Decrease Fear of Cancer Recurrence

June 5, 2017

Presented at the 2017 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting, various forms of relaxation and visualisation were used, along with instructions for home-based practice, to bring about sizable decreases in the numbers of survivors experiencing fear of cancer recurrence, and which continued to decrease over time, compared to the control group.

This research is highly important as about 50% of all cancer survivors and 70% of young breast cancer survivors report moderate to high fear of recurrence, and fear affects mindset and quality of life.

[ref. 22]

Breast Cancer

Where: University of Texas

Meditation can Improve Inflammation, Cell-Mediated Immunity & Biological Aging

November 1, 2022

Breast Cancer Resource Center (Austin, TX) and Texas Oncology recruited 27 breast cancer survivors, who were 3 months to 6 years post chemotherapy completion and reported cognitive changes, for this 8 week study.

The study compared the effects of immediate of meditation intervention and also music listening, on inflammation and cellular aging, by using blood samples.

While breast cancer chemotherapy has been shown to elevate peripheral pro-inflammatory cytokine levels, there is growing evidence that meditative and relaxation techniques can lead to increases in anti-inflammatory cytokines.

Meditation can also improve inflammation, cell-mediated immunity, and biological aging. Both daily mantra meditation and music relaxation techniques have demonstrated positive changes in neurophysiological pathways in populations at risk for cognitive decline, along with improvements in telomerase, a marker of cellular aging.

They demonstrated that breast cancer survivors improved in cognitive and psychosocial outcomes after 8 weeks of the daily 12 min intervention.

[ref. 57]

Where: University of Texas

Mindfulness Meditation Reduces Symptoms of Depression in Younger Breast Cancer Survivors

December 9, 2020

LOS ANGELES - UCLA-led research shows that behavioral interventions - mindfulness meditation are effective in reducing depressive symptoms in younger breast cancer survivors, who often experience the highest levels of depression, stress and fatigue that can persist for as long as a decade after their diagnosis.

The results, presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, highlights how six-week interventions can reduce depression in younger women treated for breast cancer, and in the case of mindfulness meditation, improve related symptoms such as fatigue and sleep disturbance.

The study included 247 women at age 50 or younger, diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer - who had completed treatment between six months and five years earlier and had at least mild depressive symptoms.

The team found that women in the mindfulness meditation group had significant reductions in depressive symptoms. This group also had significant decreases in fatigue severity, sleep disturbance and hot flashes.

"For women in their 30s and 40s, the experience with breast cancer and its treatments is substantially different from that of older women," said lead author Dr. Patricia Ganz, associate director for population science research at the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center and distinguished professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA as well as health policy & management at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. 

In collaboration with Dr. Julienne Bower, a professor of psychology and psychiatry/biobehavioral sciences at UCLA, and colleagues at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, developed two behavioral interventions to help reduce depressive symptoms in younger breast cancer survivors.

The mindfulness program, developed by the Mindful Awareness Research Center at UCLA, provided instruction in how to use mindfulness to work with difficult thoughts and emotions, manage pain, and cultivate loving kindness.

The survivorship education program covered topics including quality of life and medical management after breast cancer, relationships and work-life balance, sexual health, and physical activity.

"Younger breast cancer survivors are in need of targeted, effective programs to help manage stress, depression, and other residual side effects of diagnosis and treatment," said Bower, who is also a member of the Jonsson Cancer Center and the Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology.

[ref. 58]

Where: Columbia University

Study Confirms Breast Cancer Patients Benefit from Meditation

November 12, 2014

Women with breast cancer are among the highest users alternative, non-inventive therapies. The extremely thorough study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute Monographs (Oxford University Press), looked at 80 different alternative therapies and covered more than 4,900 clinical trials from the past 25 years, with therapies graded on their effectiveness in treating symptoms.

Meditation, yoga, and relaxation with imagery (often known as visualisation) were found to have the strongest evidence supporting their use.

They are highly recommended for routine use for anxiety and other mood disorders common to breast cancer patients. The same practices received a moderate recommendation for reducing stress, depression, and fatigue.

“Most breast cancer patients have experimented with integrative therapies to manage symptoms and improve quality of life. 

But of the dozens of products and practices marketed to patients, we found evidence that only a handful currently have a strong evidence base,” said lead researcher Dr. Heather Greenlee from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.

[ref. 61]

Prostate Cancer

Where: Northwestern University

Mindful Meditation Helps Men Deal Better with Prostate Cancer Uncertainty

May 26, 2016

Men with prostate cancer who are under medical surveillance reported significantly greater resilience and less anxiety after receiving mindfulness meditation, according to a published study from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

Psychologist David Victorson, the principal investigator of the study and an associate professor of medical social sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, researches the emotional stress of active surveillance and how mindfulness training helps alleviate the anxiety.

"It's very understandable that some men will feel concerned with the knowledge that they indeed have prostate cancer but are asked to NOT do anything to remove it," Victorson said. "For many men this can create a great deal of inner turmoil. This turmoil can build up over time and eventually lead to men seeking surgical intervention when it may not ultimately be necessary."

"I believe we have an opportunity to investigate and equip men with additional tools above and beyond surgical intervention that can help them manage cancer-related uncertainty intolerance," Victorson said.

[ref. 59]

Where: Support Care Cancer

Men with Advanced Prostate Cancer - and Mindfulness Meditation

June 20, 2012

Men diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer experience higher psychological distress and greater unmet supportive care needs than men with localized disease.

A mindfulness-based cognitive therapy group intervention was pilot tested - 19 men initially recruited to three groups and 12 completed final assessments.

Outcomes assessed included anxiety, depression, cancer-related distress, prostate cancer-specific quality of life, and mindfulness skills.

Significant improvements were observed for anxiety, avoidance, and mindfulness skills, with a trend for a reduction in fear of cancer recurrence.

[ref. 60]


Keck School of Medicine of USC:

Study Shows Improvement for Type 2 Diabetes

September 28, 2022

Mind and body-based practices, including mindfulness-based stress reduction, qigong and yoga, are associated with a reduction in HbA1c for adults with type 2 diabetes, according to findings from a systematic review and meta-analysis.

“Mind-and-body based practices appear to have uniform benefit for people with diabetes regardless of the type of practice,” Richard M. Watanabe, PhD, professor in the Department of Population and Public Health Sciences, Physiology and Neuroscience, and associate dean for health and population science programs at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, told Healio.

The meta-analysis included 28 studies. Yoga was the intervention used in 18 studies, mindfulness-based stress reduction in five studies, qigong in three studies and one study used Buddhist walking meditation.

Seven studies examined both HbA1c and FBG, eight reported on HbA1c alone and 13 reported on FBG alone. Participants in all studies were kept on standard care and were not treated with insulin. The findings were published in the Journal of Integrative and Complementary Medicine.

“The beneficial effect appears to be as strong as drug therapy coupled with lifestyle improvement, and the fact that the effect we observed is in addition to standard of care suggests these approaches may reduce risk for future diabetes in at-risk individuals,” Watanabe said.

[ref. 42]

Other Studies

Shanghai Mental Health Center, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China
Shanghai Key Laboratory of Psychotic Disorders, Shanghai, China
Shanghai Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine for Mental Health, Shanghai, China
Department of Pharmacology, Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Medical University, Islamabad, Pakistan

Study Finds Meditation May Improve Your Gut Health Over Time

January 22, 2023

The study was published in BMJ General Psychiatry, analyzing samples of 56 Tibetan Buddhist monks and local residents - and found two good forms of gut bacteria were boosted in the group who meditated regularly, and that they also had lower cholesterol levels than the control group.

The bacteria are linked with a lower risk of anxiety, depression, and heart disease, and has also been associated with an “enhanced immune function,” the researchers noted. “Overall, these results suggest that meditation plays a positive role in psychosomatic conditions and well-being.”

[ref. 64]

Universities of York, Reading and Surrey:

Research Shows Link Between Self-Identify and Environmental Concern

November 10, 2022

Techniques to improve mental health, such as meditation, walking, bird watching etc may encourage people to look after the environment, researchers have found. Researchers at the Universities of York, Reading and Surrey examined the link between ego and how people look after their surroundings, collating studies across a large range of research fields.

They discovered those with a strong sense of ego and individuality saw themselves as more isolated from the natural world, and it was observed their care for the environment, recycling, carbon footprint, plants, wildlife etc was reduced.

Professor Bob Doherty, from the University of York’s School for Business and Society, said: "At a time when world leaders are meeting for COP27, our research shows the crucial need for international cooperation between governments, business and civil society to develop new pro-environmental interventions to promote new behaviour and action".

[ref. 52]

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem:

Study Shows Link Between Mindfulness and Empathy

November 8, 2022

Researchers at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem investigated the relationship between brief exposure to mindfulness meditation and displaying helpful behavior toward a stranger.

It showed that approximately 20% more of the meditation group were willing to help a stranger, after just two brief mindfulness meditation sessions, than those who listened to music or lecture.

Published in Mindfulness, it supports the hypothesis that even brief exposure to mindfulness meditation increases prosocial behaviors, as well as has been shown to increase empathy.

Study authors Yael Malin and Thomas Gumpel were curious about the effects of short-term exposure, and recruited 189 participants between the ages of 18 and 30, with no experience with mindfulness.

[ref. 21]

Department of Clinical Medicine at Aarhus University:

Research Shows How Our Breathing Affects the Brain

November 8, 2022

Professor Micah Allen from the Department of Clinical Medicine at Aarhus University has headed a study analysing results from more than a dozen studies with human brain imaging, along with rodent and monkey, to create a model that explains how our breathing influences the brain.

Brain rhythms were shown to be closely tied to the rhythm of breath - with greater sensitivity to the outside world upon inhaling, while exhaling causes the brain to tune out, which is in keeping with how sports performance uses breath.

"It suggests that the brain and breathing are closely intertwined in a way that goes far beyond survival, to actually impact our emotions, our attention, and how we process the outside world. Our model suggests there is a common mechanism in the brain which links the rhythm of breathing to these events." Allen said.

This extends to understanding how breathing affects mood, thoughts, behaviours and mental health, as breathing difficulties are associated with a large increase in risk of anxiety and depression.

[ref. 24]

Maharishi University of Management:

Monetary Aspects

Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa. The first 100 days of a $12 million scientific study to monitor the effects of 1200 advanced meditators on aspects normally beyond our field of influence.

This included meditation of the money markets, showed that since the project began on July 23, the Dow Jones Industrial Index and the S&P 500 have posted total gains of approximately 12%, and the Nasdaq has climbed nearly 18%--with the Dow repeatedly hitting all-time record levels, the S&P reaching a 5.5-year high, and the Nasdaq climbing to a five-year high.

Panelists included:
* John Hagelin, Ph.D., director of the Institute of Science, Technology and Public Policy;
* Ken Cavanaugh, Ph.D., professor of applied statistics and senior research scientist at the Institute of Science, Technology and Public Policy;
* Fred Travis, Ph.D., director of the Center for Brain, Consciousness, and Cognition;
* Robert Schneider, M.D., F.A.C.C., director of the NIH-funded Institute of Natural Medicine and Prevention

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Cites / References

19 - Source: Samueli Foundation   Date: November 15, 2022   
Article: "Survey: Nearly two-thirds of cancer patients want to know about complementary therapies before treatment"

20 - Source: Yael Malin and Thomas Gumpel   Date: November 8, 2022   
Article: "Short Mindfulness Meditation Increases Help-Giving Intention Towards a Stranger in Distress"

21 - Source: Ria Mehta, Kirti Sharma, Louis Potters, A. Gabriella Wernicke, and Bhupesh Parashar - corresponding author American Society of Clinical Oncology   Date: May 9, 2019   
Article: "Evidence for the Role of Mindfulness in Cancer: Benefits and Techniques"

22 - Source: American Society of Clinical Oncology   Date: June 5, 2017   
Article: "Psychological intervention lowers survivors' fear of cancer recurrence"

23 - Source: Emily Henderson   Date: November 11, 2022   
Article: "Daily meditation may work as well as a popular drug to calm anxiety, study finds"

24 - Source: Emily Henderson   Date: November 8, 2022   
Article: "New research helps understand how breathing shapes our brain"

25 - Source: David W. Orme-Johnson, Robert H. Schneider, Young D. Son, Sanford Nidich, Zang-Hee Cho;  Date: August 21, 2006   
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34 - Source: University of Wisconsin-Madison    Date: September 2, 2003   
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35 - Source: Chu-Chung Huang,corresponding author, Ching-Po Lin, Kenji Toba, Duan Xu    Date: September 13, 2022   
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37 - Source: Charles Q. Choi     Date: May 8, 2007   
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41 - Source: Didier Moreau, University of Liege     Date: October 8, 2022   
Article: "Being Absent While Awake: How Mind Blanking Helps Us Understand Ongoing Thinking"

42 - Source: Hope Hamashige     Date: September 28, 2022   
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44 - Source: Robbie Berman     Date: June 20, 2020   
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46 - Author: University of Utah     Date: October 22, 2022    
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Article: "Hypnosis changes how the brain processes information"

50 - Source: University of Zurich     Date: June 2, 2014   
"Hypnosis extends restorative slow-wave sleep, research shows"

51 - Source University of North Carolina, Fadel Zeidan, Nakia S. Gordon, Junaid Merchant, Paula Goolkasian     Date: October 23, 2009   
"The Effects of Brief Mindfulness Meditation Training on Experimentally Induced Pain"

52 - Source: Universities of York, Reading and Surrey     Date: November 10, 2022   
"Mindfulness techniques could help improve health of environment"

53 - Source: Biospace     Date: June 9, 2009   
"Transcept Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Presents Data at SLEEP 2009 23rd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies"

54 - Source:     Date: November 06, 2022   
"Mindfulness shows promise as an effective intervention to lower blood pressure"

55 - Source: Mark Pettus,Beth Netter,Leonard Perlmutter,Jenness Cortez Perlmutter,Akiko S. Hosler     Date: November 07, 2022   
"The effects of mantra-based AMI Meditation on burnout, secondary traumatic stress, and compassion satisfaction levels in healthcare providers"

56 - Source: Alison C. McLeish, Ted Smith, Daniel W. Riggs, Joy L. Hart, Kandi L. Walker, Rachel J. Keith, Lauren Anderson, Israel Sithu, Javier Pinilla‐Baquero, Sanjay Srivastava and Aruni Bhatnagar     Date: November 29, 2022   
"Community‐Based Evaluation of the Associations Between Well‐Being and Cardiovascular Disease Risk"

57 - Source: University of Texas - a Ashley M.Henneghan, b Brandon G.Fico c Michelle L.Wright a d Shelli R.Keslerabe Michelle L.Harrisonc     Date: November 1, 2022   
"Effects of meditation compared to music listening on biomarkers in breast cancer survivors with cognitive complaints: secondary outcomes of a pilot randomized control trial"

58 - Source: UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA - LOS ANGELES HEALTH SCIENCES - Lead author Dr. Patricia Ganz, supported by Dr. Michael Irwin, Ms. Laura Petersen and Dr. Catherine Crespi of UCLA; Dr. Ann Partridge and Dr. Hadine Joffe of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; and Dr. Antonio Wolff and Ms. Elissa Thorner of John Hopkins University School of Medicine and Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center.    Date: December 9, 2020   
"Mindfulness meditation reduces symptoms of depression in younger breast cancer survivors"

59 - Source: Northwestern University - David Victorson, Vered Hankin, James Burns, Rebecca Weiland, Carly Maletich, Nathaniel Sufrin, Stephanie Schuette, Bruriah Gutierrez, Charles Brendler.    Date: May 26, 2016   
"Coping with active surveillance anxiety in prostate cancer. Mindful meditation helps men deal with uncertainty surrounding their cancer"

60 - Source: Support Care Cancer - Suzanne Kathleen Chambers 1, Elizabeth Foley, Elizabeth Galt, Megan Ferguson, Samantha Clutton.    Date: June 20, 2012   
"Mindfulness groups for men with advanced prostate cancer: a pilot study to assess feasibility and effectiveness and the role of peer support"

61 - Source: Journal of the National Cancer Institute Monographs No 50, pages 346-358 - Greenlee, H. et al. (2014).    Date: June 20, 2012   
“Clinical Practice Guidelines on the Use of Integrative Therapies as Supportive Care in Patients Treated for Breast Cancer”.

62 - Source: Baylor University - Gary Elkins, Ph.D    Date: June 20, 2012   
“Mindfulness combined with hypnotherapy aids highly stressed people, study finds”.

63 - Source: Springer Nature - Baez-Lugo, S., Deza-Araujo, Y.I., Maradan, C. et al.    Date: January 12, 2023   
“Exposure to negative socio-emotional events induces sustained alteration of resting-state brain networks in older adults”.

64 - Source: - Ying Sun1,2, Peijun Ju1,2,3, Ting Xue1,2, Usman Ali1,4, Donghong Cui1,2 and Jinghong Chen1,2.    Date: January 22, 2023   
“Study Finds Meditation May Improve Your Gut Health Over Time”.

65 - Source: Cell Reports Medicine - Melis Yilmaz Balban, Eric Neri, Manuela M. Kogon, Jamie M. Zeitzer, David Spiegel, Andrew D. Huberman     Date: January 10, 2023   
“Brief structured respiration practices enhance mood and reduce physiological arousal”.

66 - Source: Open University of Catalonia - Perla Kaliman     Date: January 23, 2023   
“Mindfulness can help adolescents overcome traumas”.

67 - Source: University of Freiburg - Luciana Besedovsky, Maren Cordi, Laura Wißlicen, Estefanía Martínez-Albert, Jan Born & Björn Rasch     Date: July 26, 2022   
“Hypnotic enhancement of slow-wave sleep increases sleep-associated hormone secretion and reduces sympathetic predominance in healthy humans”.