Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Mantra


Using data from the 2010 Baylor Religion Survey (N = 1714), this study investigates the prevalence and religious predictors of healing prayer use among US adults. Indicators include prayed for self (lifetime prevalence = 78.8 %), prayed for others (87.4 %), asked for prayer (54.1 %), laying-on-of-hands (26.1 %), and participated in a prayer group (53.0 %). Each was regressed onto eight religious measures, and then again controlling for sociodemographic variables and health. While all religious measures had net effects on at least one healing prayer indicator, the one consistent predictor was a four-item scale assessing a loving relationship with God. Higher scores were associated with more frequent healing prayer use according to every measure, after controlling for all other religious variables and covariates.

Concepts: Religion, Meditation, Spirituality, God, Prayer, Faith healing, Mantra, Mysticism


This follow-up pilot study tested whether Transcendental Meditation® ™ practice would significantly reduce symptoms of posttraumatic stress in Congolese refugees within 10 days after instruction. The Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist-Civilian (PCL-C) was administered to nonmatched waitlist controls from a previous study 3 times over a 90-day period. Within 8 days of the third baseline measure, 11 refugees were taught TM, then retested 10 days and 30 days after instruction. Average PCL-C scores dropped 29.9 points from 77.9 to 48.0 in 10 days, then dropped another 12.7 points to 35.3 at 30 days. Effect size at 10 days was high (d = 4.05). There were no adverse events. All participants completed the study and were able to practice TM.

Concepts: Statistical significance, Effect size, Stress, Meditation, Teacher, Vietnam War, Mantra, Transcendental Meditation


This article describes the various forms of meditation and provides an overview of research using these techniques for children, adolescents, and their families. The most researched techniques in children and adolescents are mindfulness-based stress reduction, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, yoga meditation, transcendental meditation, mind-body techniques (meditation, relaxation), and body-mind techniques (yoga poses, tai chi movements). Current data are suggestive of a possible value of meditation and mindfulness techniques for treating symptomatic anxiety, depression, and pain in youth. Clinicians must be properly trained before using these techniques.

Concepts: Psychology, Clinical psychology, Cognitive behavioral therapy, Meditation, Yoga, Mind-body interventions, Mantra, Transcendental Meditation


To introduce research that presents scientific evidence regarding the effects of mantra and mindfulness meditation techniques and yoga on decreasing blood pressure (BP) in patients who have hypertension.

Concepts: Scientific method, Systematic review, Meta-analysis, Meditation, Spiritual practice, Mind-body interventions, Mantra, Tantra


Purpose of the Study: Research has linked several aspects of religion-including service attendance, prayer, meditation, religious coping strategies, congregational support systems, and relations with God, among others-with positive mental health outcomes among older U.S. adults. This study examines a neglected dimension of religious life: listening to religious music.

Concepts: Religion, Personal life, Meditation, Christianity, Spirituality, Prayer, Mantra, Mysticism


Despite decades of research, effects of different types of meditation on electroencephalographic (EEG) activity are still being defined. We compared practitioners of three different meditation traditions (Vipassana, Himalayan Yoga and Isha Shoonya) with a control group during a meditative and instructed mind-wandering (IMW) block. All meditators showed higher parieto-occipital 60-110 Hz gamma amplitude than control subjects as a trait effect observed during meditation and when considering meditation and IMW periods together. Moreover, this gamma power was positively correlated with participants meditation experience. Independent component analysis was used to show that gamma activity did not originate in eye or muscle artifacts. In addition, we observed higher 7-11 Hz alpha activity in the Vipassana group compared to all the other groups during both meditation and instructed mind wandering and lower 10-11 Hz activity in the Himalayan yoga group during meditation only. We showed that meditation practice is correlated to changes in the EEG gamma frequency range that are common to a variety of meditation practices.

Concepts: Sleep, Electroencephalography, Electromyography, Meditation, Buddhist meditation, Binaural beats, Gamma wave, Mantra


Given evidence of the benefits of mindfulness for women’s sexual difficulties, we investigated the relationship between meditation experience and women’s sexual function. Women (n = 451) answered online survey questions about meditation experience, sexual function and desire, interoceptive awareness, health and mood. Women who meditated scored higher than non-meditators on measures of sexual function and desire, however there was no significant correlation between frequency/length of meditation experience and either of these domains. Global mental health was a significant predictor of both increased sexual function and desire in women who meditate. These findings suggest that, compared to women with no meditation experience, women who meditate to any extent have, on average, improved sexual function associated with better overall mental health.

Concepts: Meditation, Zen, Spirituality, Mantra


Trauma events are four times more prevalent in inmates than in the general public and are associated with increased recidivism and other mental and physical health issues.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Randomized controlled trial, Meditation, Mantra, Transcendental Meditation, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi


This study used a within group design to investigate blood flow patterns (fMRI) in 16 long-term practitioners of Transcendental Meditation (mean practice: 34.3 years with each having over 36,000 h of meditation practice). During Transcendental Meditation practice, blood flow patterns were significantly higher in executive and attention areas (anterior cingulate and dorsolateral prefrontal cortices) and significantly lower in arousal areas (pons and cerebellum). This pattern supports the understanding that Transcendental Meditation practice requires minimal effort. During Transcendental Meditation, the attentional system was active (heightened blood flow in anterior cingulate and dorsolateral prefrontal cortices) in an automatic manner-decreased blood flow in the pons and cerebellum. This pattern of heightened blood flow in attentional areas and decreased blood flow in arousal areas has not been reported during other meditation practices. Future research should investigate blood flow patterns in different meditation practices in the same study.

Concepts: Neuroanatomy, Attention, Cerebrum, Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, Meditation, Buddhist meditation, Mantra, Transcendental Meditation


The present study offers a cross-cultural examination of the effect of prayer on forgiveness. American (n = 51) and Indian (n = 100) participants either prayed for their romantic partner (prayer condition) or described their romantic partner’s physical attributes (control condition). Prayers were self-guided and lasted 3 minutes. Pre-test and post-test measures of retaliation were completed. Results showed that participants in the prayer group showed statistically significant decreases in retaliation motives from pre-test to post-test and the magnitude of this change was not different across cultures. Control groups in both cultures showed no change. Because of the religious diversity present in the Indian sample, the robustness of the effect of prayer on forgiveness was tested across Christian, Hindu and Muslim Indians. Religious affiliation did not moderate the effect of prayer on forgiveness in this sample. Results suggest that a brief prayer is capable of producing real change in forgiveness and this change is consistent across American and Indian cultures and across three different religious groups in India. Brief prayer for others that enhances forgiveness may be useful for individuals in close relationships, in certain counselling settings and for people in many different walks of life.

Concepts: India, Religion, Islam, Meditation, Spirituality, Prayer, Mantra, Mysticism