Voluntary inhibition of reflex: Effects of consistent meditative practice

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Virginia Tech


The present study investigated the effects of meditative practices on the regulation of autonomic function. 74 subjects (38 women; 36 men) comprised from a range of experienced and non-experienced meditators, engaged in a series of psychophysiological tasks designed to generate specific autonomic states. Regression analyses revealed that experienced meditators, as predicted, displayed greater suppression of myocardial reactivity during a highly reflexive and stressful task. Meditative practice also predicted a rise in electrodermal activity during a relaxation task, contrary to expectations. These results support the concept that meditative practices may alter aspects of autonomic function. Further, these results inform an emerging mind-body paradigm and illustrate the potential consequences of meditative practices in specific disease states and prevention.



Anterior Regulation, Meditation, Autonomic Nervous System