Exaggerated heart rate oscillations during two meditation techniques

  • C.-K Peng
    Affiliations
    Margaret and H.A. Rey Laboratory for Nonlinear Dynamics in Medicine (Room GZ-435), Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, 330 Brookline Avenue, Boston, MA 02215, USA

    Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, 330 Brookline Avenue, Boston, MA 02215, USA
    Search for articles by this author
  • Joseph E Mietus
    Affiliations
    Margaret and H.A. Rey Laboratory for Nonlinear Dynamics in Medicine (Room GZ-435), Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, 330 Brookline Avenue, Boston, MA 02215, USA

    Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, 330 Brookline Avenue, Boston, MA 02215, USA
    Search for articles by this author
  • Yanhui Liu
    Affiliations
    Margaret and H.A. Rey Laboratory for Nonlinear Dynamics in Medicine (Room GZ-435), Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, 330 Brookline Avenue, Boston, MA 02215, USA
    Search for articles by this author
  • Gurucharan Khalsa
    Affiliations
    Margaret and H.A. Rey Laboratory for Nonlinear Dynamics in Medicine (Room GZ-435), Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, 330 Brookline Avenue, Boston, MA 02215, USA
    Search for articles by this author
  • Pamela S Douglas
    Affiliations
    Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, 330 Brookline Avenue, Boston, MA 02215, USA
    Search for articles by this author
  • Herbert Benson
    Affiliations
    Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, 330 Brookline Avenue, Boston, MA 02215, USA

    The Mind/Body Medical Institute, CareGroup Inc., 1 Deaconess Road, Boston, MA 02215, USA
    Search for articles by this author
  • Ary L Goldberger
    Correspondence
    Corresponding author
    Affiliations
    Margaret and H.A. Rey Laboratory for Nonlinear Dynamics in Medicine (Room GZ-435), Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, 330 Brookline Avenue, Boston, MA 02215, USA

    Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, 330 Brookline Avenue, Boston, MA 02215, USA

    The Mind/Body Medical Institute, CareGroup Inc., 1 Deaconess Road, Boston, MA 02215, USA
    Search for articles by this author

      Abstract

      We report extremely prominent heart rate oscillations associated with slow breathing during specific traditional forms of Chinese Chi and Kundalini Yoga meditation techniques in healthy young adults. We applied both spectral analysis and a novel analytic technique based on the Hilbert transform to quantify these heart rate dynamics. The amplitude of these oscillations during meditation was significantly greater than in the pre-meditation control state and also in three non-meditation control groups: i) elite athletes during sleep, ii) healthy young adults during metronomic breathing, and iii) healthy young adults during spontaneous nocturnal breathing. This finding, along with the marked variability of the beat-to-beat heart rate dynamics during such profound meditative states, challenges the notion of meditation as only an autonomically quiescent state.

      Keywords

      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Subscribe:

      Subscribe to International Journal of Cardiology
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect

      References

        • Corby J.C
        • Roth W.T
        • Zarcone Jr., V.P
        • Kopell B.S
        Psychophysiological correlates of the practice of Tantric Yoga meditation.
        Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1978; 35: 571-577
        • Gallois P
        Modifications neurophysiologiques et respiratoires lors de la pratique des techniques de relaxation.
        Encephale. 1984; 10: 139-144
        • Sakakibara M
        • Takeuchi S
        • Hayano J
        Effect of relaxation training on cardiac parasympathetic tone.
        Psychophysiology. 1994; 31: 223-228
        • Lipsitz L.A
        • Hashimoto F
        • Lubowsky L.P
        • Mietus J.E
        • Moody G.B
        • Appenzeller O
        • Goldberger A.L
        Heart rate and respiratory rhythm dynamics on ascent to high altitude.
        Br Heart J. 1995; 74: 390-396
        • Moody G.B
        • Mark R.G
        • Zoccola A
        • Vergani L
        Derivation of respiratory signals from multilead ECGs.
        Computers in Cardiology, IEEE. 1985; 12: 113-116
        • Press W.H
        • Teukolsky S.A
        • Vetterling W.T
        • Flannery B.P
        Numerical Recipes in C: the Art of Scientific Computing. 2nd edn. Cambridge University Press, New York1992
        • Cohen L
        Time Frequency Analysis. Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ1995
        • Ivanov P.Ch
        • Rosenblum M.G
        • Peng C.-K
        • Mietus J
        • Havlin S
        • Stanley H.E
        • Goldberger A.L
        Scaling behaviour of heartbeat intervals obtained by wavelet-based time-series analysis.
        Nature. 1996; 383: 323-327