Can Meditation Alter Heart Rate Variability Patterns?

Buddhists monks who meditate regularly have better heart health than men of similar age who do not meditate. One measure of heart health is Heart Rate Variability (HRV). HRV is defined in terms of how different the lengths of time between each heart beat is. The greater the difference in times between heart beats, the healthier is the heart thought to be. Individuals may be able to learn to increase their own HRV and become healthier by a daily meditation practice.

This feasibility study will determine if volunteers can be successfully recruited and are able to complete the research protocol. It will also assess if individuals can change certain aspects of their HRV by participating in a meditation training program and determine if doing daily meditation improves people’s ability to handle day-to-day stresses.

To analyze the results, researchers will do a “before and after” comparison of one aspect of the HRV measurement  called the “resonant peak in the power density spectrum”.  Results of three questionnaires from before and after meditation training will also be compared.