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Meditation and Psycho-Physiological Variables

Recently I attended the reading of a PhD thesis paper at the Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences in Ernakulam. The study was entitled: The effect of meditation on the psycho-physiological variables. During this experiment the subjects practiced the Amrita Integrated Meditation Technique for eight months amidst their day to day lives all the while remaining under scientific scrutiny. At the helm of the study is Vandana Balakrishnan, a bright young woman with a mind to make scientific sense out of the age-old tradition of meditation.

The objective of the study was based on the known fact that stress increases adrenaline as an immediate response whereas cortisol as a long term response. Relaxation techniques like meditation are found to be beneficial in reducing stress. The objective of the current study was specifically to find out the effect of IAM (Integrated Amrita Meditation Technique) on the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. The results indeed showed that cortisol values were reduced in the IAM group beginning from forty eight hours onwards and the fall was sustained for the whole eight months. Adrenaline values also decreased significantly in the study group.

So there you have it, one more reason to get your meditation practice going again. Even though I suppose most people who have made a lifestyle out of meditation would find this type of study a tad bit dry way of describing it. For most people meditation is a way of interacting with the divine within and around us all. Yet I do think, and I am sure most would agree with me, that this type of studies serve a purpose and increase our knowledge about so called mystical practices and help rational minds appreciate them also.

The above is of course only a highly simplified synopsis of the study. You have to excuse me as I was so preoccupied with the delicious fried snacks served to us during the reading that I didn’t manage to take notes all the time. I really wish Vandana Balakrishnan all the best in her endeavor and hope that the scientific world will take note of her studies. The paper is not yet published but when it is I will link to it here on granted that I get the permission to do so.

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One Response to “Meditation and Psycho-Physiological Variables”

  1. Nichola says:

    This blog posting presented me a full load of thoughts, thanks for sharing

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