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J Altern Complement Med. 2012 Aug;18(8):761-8. doi: 10.1089/acm.2010.0718. Epub 2012 Jul 9.

Pranic meditation affects phagocyte functions and hormonal levels of recent practitioners.

Author information

1
Laboratory of Cellular Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Brasília, Brasília, Brazil.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

Despite the recognized importance of phagocytes in the maintenance and recovery of health, the influence of meditation on their functions is not properly established. This investigation aimed at evaluating the influence of pranic meditation on the functions of phagocytes, and on the levels of hormones that influence them.

DESIGN:

A pre-post design was adopted.

SETTING:

The investigation was carried out at a university research laboratory.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS:

Twenty-nine (29) healthy individuals of both sexes, 24-67 years old (median 45), with no previous experience in meditation, received 3-hour-duration weekly training on pranic meditation during 10 weeks and agreed to engage in daily home practice for 20 minutes. Pranic meditation is a novel method of meditation, based on the Vedic tradition, which uses techniques of breathing and visualization for quieting the mind, and for capturing and intentionally directing prana ("vital energy") wherever necessary. For assessing phagocytosis, the production of hydrogen peroxide and nitric oxide by monocytes, and the concentrations of corticotrophin and cortisol, blood was collected at the beginning (week 1), at the middle (week 5), and by the end (week 10) of the practice period. At the same intervals, melatonin concentrations were evaluated in the saliva.

RESULTS:

Those who meditated for more than 980 minutes showed increased phagocytosis, their monocytes produced higher concentrations of hydrogen peroxide, and their plasma levels of corticotrophin were reduced. The production of nitric oxide by monocytes, and the levels of cortisol and melatonin were not modified by meditation.

CONCLUSIONS:

This is the first study to show that a short program of pranic meditation practice was able to upregulate the function and metabolism of phagocytes, in parallel with the reduction of the plasma levels of corticotrophin. The results of this study point to a possible causal effect between these events, and indicate that pranic meditation could be useful for stimulating the function and metabolism of phagocytes.

PMID:
22775473
DOI:
10.1089/acm.2010.0718
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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