Definition of Meditation

Meditation: A self-directed practice for relaxing the body and calming the mind. Most meditative techniques have come to the West from Eastern religious practices, particularly India, China, and Japan, but can be found in all cultures of the world. Until recently, the primary purpose of meditation has…Read more

Explore Meditation research in the following databases: 

PubMed  Trip Cochrane*
*The Cochrane database requires users to enter the search term manually. Enter “meditation”


Research Spotlight

The databases often return hundreds of medical studies for a single wellness approach. This section summarizes a sampling of five studies – providing just a taste of the available research. 

  • A Week of Intense Meditation Caused Positive Changes to Immune System

    A 2022 University of Florida study found that meditation done at an intense level caused diverse positive changes in participants’ immune systems. The meditation experience studied was certainly intense: an 8-day retreat with 10-hour daily meditation sessions all conducted in silence. Those retreat participants saw robust activation of their immune systems, with positive changes in 220 immune-related genes–but without activating inflammatory signals.
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  • 6 Months of Meditation Training Significantly Reduces Cortisol Secretion and Systemic Stress

    A 2021 study from Germany’s Max Planck Institute showed that daily meditation training for 3 to 6 months significantly reduces the long-term stress load of healthy adults. The study was unique for measuring the levels of cortisone (the cortisol–stress hormone–accumulation in hair)–and found that after 6 months, the amount of cortisol in participants’ hair dropped 25%. The study also provides evidence that the typical 8-week training period of Western mindfulness-based stress reduction programs need to be longer.  
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  • “Spiritual Fitness” Reduces Alzheimer’s Risk

    A 2021 review of studies in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that “spiritual fitness,” a new concept in medicine interweaving psychological and spiritual wellbeing, reduces multiple risk factors for Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). Individuals with high scores on a “purpose in life” (PIL) were 2.4 times more likely to remain free of AD than individuals with low PIL—and Kirtan Kriya, a 12-minute meditative practice, has great potential in reducing AD risk factors.
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  • With Meditation, the Instructor and Group Outweigh Amount or Type Practiced

    An interesting new study from Brown University dispels any myth that positive outcomes from mindfulness-based meditation come exclusively from the practice because the more active ingredient seems to be the social factor of the instructor and the group. It’s one of the first studies to look at the role of relationships in meditation programs, and the person-to-person factors led to a more positive impact on depression and anxiety than the amount or type of meditation practiced. The researchers noted that it leads to questions about meditation programs offered via apps.
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  • Meditation Associated with Powerful Heart Benefits
    A large, 2020 observational study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that meditating was associated with a 35% lower risk of high cholesterol, a 14% lower risk of high blood pressure, a 30% lower risk of diabetes, a 24% lower risk of stroke, and a 49% lower risk of coronary artery disease.
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Read more study snapshots


Studies-in-Progress/Clinical Trials Underway

A clinical trial is any research study that assigns people to health-related interventions to evaluate the outcomes. “Interventions” include drugs, surgical procedures, devices, behavioral treatments, preventive care, etc.


Access all studies currently available for Meditation in these databases:

PubMed  Trip Cochrane*
*The Cochrane database requires users to enter the search term manually. Enter “meditation”