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Complement Med Res. 2019;26(2):101-109. doi: 10.1159/000493124. Epub 2019 Mar 14.

Relationship between Meditation and Waking Salivary Cortisol Secretion among Long-Term MBSR Instructors.

Author information

1
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, College of Public Health, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, USA.
2
Knight Cancer Institute, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, Oregon, USA, haslama@ohsu.edu.
3
Cancer Prevention and Control Program and Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina, USA.
4
Connecting Health Innovations LLC, Columbia, South Carolina, USA.
5
Department of Health Promotion and Behavior, College of Public Health, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, USA.
6
Athens Regional Mind Body Institute, Athens, Georgia, USA.

Abstract

in English, German

BACKGROUND:

A potential relationship between long-term meditation practice and stress reduction remains virtually unexplored. The purpose of this study was to characterize stress using salivary waking cortisol in a group of long-term meditators with training in the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

Four salivary cortisol samples were collected from meditators (n = 84) during the first hour of awakening. The waking cortisol rhythm was summarized using cortisol area under the curve (AUC) with respect to increased secretion above baseline (AUCI) and cortisol AUC above ground (above zero, AUCG); data on meditation duration and depth, perceived stress, and other covariates were collected via self-reported questionnaire.

RESULTS:

Individuals in the highest quartile of years meditating (> 26 years) had statistically significantly elevated AUCG values (p = 0.01) as compared to individuals in the lowest quartile of years meditating (≤10 years). This relationship was more pronounced among individuals waking at or before 6: 30 a.m.

CONCLUSIONS:

Overall, an increasing number of years of meditation practice was related to a higher waking cortisol response. These intriguing findings warrant additional exploration, as the stress response can be complex.

KEYWORDS:

Cortisol; Meditation; Mindfulness; Stress

PMID:
30893675
DOI:
10.1159/000493124

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