A Systematic Review of Associations between Amount of Meditation Practice and Outcomes in Interventions Using the Four Immeasurables Meditations.
ABSTRACT: Interventions using the "Four Immeasurables Meditations" (FIM) are effective for various outcomes; however, whether increased meditation practice in these interventions leads to better results has not been well investigated. This systematic review included 22 FIM interventions that reported associations between the amount of meditation practice and its outcomes. Despite the heterogeneity in intervention components and outcome variables, there were generally few significant associations between amount of meditation practice and its outcomes. Specifically, only five studies reported that more than half of the calculated results were significant. In comparison with correlations between total amount of practice and overall outcomes, the short-term influence of meditation practice was evaluated in fewer studies; however, it had a better association with outcomes. More studies are required that address the underlying mechanisms that elucidate how meditation practice leads to outcome changes in daily life. In this study, two promising mechanisms with initial evidence were discussed. This review also summarized common methodological issues including a lack of experimental manipulation and inaccurate measuring of meditation practice.
Project description:Mindfulness meditation interventions improve a variety of health conditions and quality of life, are inexpensive, easy to implement, have minimal if any side effects, and engage patients to take an active role in their treatment. However, the group format can be an obstacle for many to take structured meditation programs. Internet Mindfulness Meditation Intervention (IMMI) is a program that could make mindfulness meditation accessible to all people who want and need to receive it. However, the feasibility, acceptability, and ability of IMMI to increase meditation practice have yet to be evaluated.The primary objectives of this pilot randomized controlled study were to (1) evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of IMMIs in the general population and (2) to evaluate IMMI's ability to change meditation practice behavior. The secondary objective was to collect preliminary data on health outcomes.Potential participants were recruited from online and offline sources. In a randomized controlled trial, participants were allocated to IMMI or Access to Guided Meditation arm. IMMI included a 1-hour Web-based training session weekly for 6 weeks along with daily home practice guided meditations between sessions. The Access to Guided Meditation arm included a handout on mindfulness meditation and access to the same guided meditation practices that the IMMI participants received, but not the 1-hour Web-based training sessions. The study activities occurred through the participants' own computer and Internet connection and with research-assistant telephone and email contact. Feasibility and acceptability were measured with enrollment and completion rates and participant satisfaction. The ability of IMMI to modify behavior and increase meditation practice was measured by objective adherence of daily meditation practice via Web-based forms. Self-report questionnaires of quality of life, self-efficacy, depression symptoms, sleep disturbance, perceived stress, and mindfulness were completed before and after the intervention period via Web-based surveys.We enrolled 44 adults were enrolled and 31 adults completed all study activities. There were no group differences on demographics or important variables at baseline. Participants rated the IMMI arm higher than the Access to Guided Meditation arm on Client Satisfaction Questionnaire. IMMI was able to increase home practice behavior significantly compared to the Access to Guided Meditation arm: days practiced (P=.05), total minutes (P=.01), and average minutes (P=.05). As expected, there were no significant differences on health outcomes.In conclusion, IMMI was found to be feasible and acceptable. The IMMI arm had increased daily meditation practice compared with the Access to Guided Meditation control group. More interaction through staff and/or through built-in email or text reminders may increase daily practice even more. Future studies will examine IMMI's efficacy at improving health outcomes in the general population and also compare it directly to the well-studied mindfulness-based group interventions to evaluate relative efficacy.Clinicaltrials.gov NCT02655835; http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02655835 (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation/ 6jUDuQsG2).
Project description:Many people are starting to establish contemplative practices and Mindfulness-Based Interventions have become quite popular. While Mindfulness-Based Interventions positively impact well-being, drop-out and lack of practice-maintenance plagues these interventions. Such adherence issues may reveal a lack of fit between participant partiality for attentional anchors of meditative practice and the intervention's use of the breath as the anchor of attention. No study had yet compared partiality towards practices using anchors from different sensory modalities (e.g., auditory and visual) thus the present study examined such individual differences, sharing resources on the Open Science Framework. Participants (<i>N</i> = 82) engaged 10-min practices within three modalities (somatosensory, auditory, and visual) and partiality towards these meditations was modelled. Partiality differences did exist: 49% preferred the breath, 30% the auditory-phrase, and 21% the visual-image. Pre-practice motivation and anchor-modality predicted partiality while cardiac responses were also positively associated with partiality. Preferences were updated through experience and over half of participants left the experiment partial to a different anchor than their initial meditation-naïve bias. Tangible next-steps are discussed, including integrating additional anchor modalities into existing interventions by offering brief practices with a variety of anchors. Suggestions are made for increasing post-training contact using email-automation to answer central practice-maintenance questions, including whether and which contemplative benefits are predicated on continued practice.
Project description:Many philosophical and contemplative traditions teach that "living in the moment" increases happiness. However, the default mode of humans appears to be that of mind-wandering, which correlates with unhappiness, and with activation in a network of brain areas associated with self-referential processing. We investigated brain activity in experienced meditators and matched meditation-naive controls as they performed several different meditations (Concentration, Loving-Kindness, Choiceless Awareness). We found that the main nodes of the default-mode network (medial prefrontal and posterior cingulate cortices) were relatively deactivated in experienced meditators across all meditation types. Furthermore, functional connectivity analysis revealed stronger coupling in experienced meditators between the posterior cingulate, dorsal anterior cingulate, and dorsolateral prefrontal cortices (regions previously implicated in self-monitoring and cognitive control), both at baseline and during meditation. Our findings demonstrate differences in the default-mode network that are consistent with decreased mind-wandering. As such, these provide a unique understanding of possible neural mechanisms of meditation.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN) patients suffer from long-term symptoms and reduced quality of life. Mindfulness meditation is a complementary therapy shown to be beneficial for alleviating a range of cancer-related symptoms; however, in-person meditation interventions are difficult for cancer patients to attend. Meditation via a mobile phone app represents a novel approach in MPN patients for delivering meditation. OBJECTIVE:The study aimed to report MPN patients' (ie, naïve or nearly naïve meditators) perceptions of meditation and explore their experiences in the context of using a mobile phone for meditation after participation in an 8-week consumer-based meditation app feasibility study. METHODS:MPN patients (n=128) were recruited nationally through organizational partners and social media. Eligible and consented patients were enrolled into 1 of 4 groups, 2 that received varying orders of 2 consumer-based apps (10% Happier and Calm) and 2 that received one of the apps alone for the second 4 weeks of the 8-week intervention after an educational control condition. Participants were asked to perform 10 min per day of mobile phone-based meditation, irrespective of the app and order in which they received the apps. At the conclusion of the study, participants were asked whether they would like to participate in a 20-min phone interview comprising 9 to 10 questions to discuss their perceptions and experiences while using the mobile phone meditation apps. The interviews were transcribed verbatim and imported into NVivo 12 (QSR International) for coding and analysis, using a combination of deductive and inductive methods to organize the data, generate categories, and develop themes and subthemes. RESULTS:A total of 48 MPN patients completed postintervention interviews, of which 29% (14/48) of the patients only used the 10% Happier app, 21% (10/48) of the patients only used the Calm app, and 46% (22/48) of the patients used both apps during the 8-week intervention. Themes identified in the analysis of interview data related to (1) perceptions of meditation before, during, and after the study, (2) perceptions of the Calm app, (3) perceptions of the 10% Happier app, (4) perceived impacts of using the meditation apps, (5) overall experiences of participating in the study, (6) recommendations surrounding meditation for other MPN patients, and (7) plans to continue meditation. CONCLUSIONS:The qualitative findings of this study suggest that MPN patients who are naïve or nearly naïve meditators perceived mobile phone meditation as enjoyable, preferred the Calm app over the 10% Happier app, perceived the Calm app as more appealing (eg, narrator's voice and different meditations or background sounds offered), and perceived beneficial effects of meditation on mental health, sleep, fatigue, and pain. Future research is needed to better understand the efficacy of mobile phone meditation on MPN patient outcomes and meditation app design features that enhance uptake among its users.
Project description:The purpose of this study was to uncover the day-to-day emotional profiles and dose-response relations, both within-persons and between-persons, associated with initiating one of two meditation practices, either mindfulness meditation or loving-kindness meditation. Data were pooled across two studies of midlife adults (N = 339) who were randomized to learn either mindfulness meditation or loving-kindness meditation in a six-week workshop. The duration and frequency of meditation practice was measured daily for nine weeks, commencing with the first workshop session. Likewise, positive and negative emotions were also measured daily, using the modified Differential Emotions Scale (Fredrickson, 2013). Analysis of daily emotion reports over the targeted nine-week period showed significant gains in positive emotions and no change in negative emotions, regardless of meditation type. Multilevel models also revealed significant dose-response relations between duration of meditation practice and positive emotions, both within-persons and between-persons. Moreover, the within-person dose-response relation was stronger for loving-kindness meditation than for mindfulness meditation. Similar dose-response relations were observed for the frequency of meditation practice. In the context of prior research on the mental and physical health benefits produced by subtle increases in day-to-day experiences of positive emotions, the present research points to evidence-based practices - both mindfulness meditation and loving-kindness meditation - that can improve emotional wellbeing.
Project description:Introduction: There is limited research regarding the benefits of mind-body practices such as meditation in hospitalized patients with an active diagnosis of any cancer type. Methods: We conducted a prospective, randomized, clinical trial (NCT03445572) comparing 2 meditative practices-Isha Kriya (IK) and meditative slow breathing (MSB)-versus wait-list controls in hospitalized cancer patients. Our aim was to determine the feasibility of meditation practice in cancer inpatients. Feasibility was defined as recruitment of more than 50% of the eligible patients approached and at least 60% of the patients having meditated at least 4 days by day 7. Acceptability was assessed on day 7 as a positive response on at least 2 questions on the modified Global Symptom Evaluation (GSE) scale. Results: Forty patients (39% of the eligible patients approached) consented to participate in the study and were randomly assigned to the MSB (n = 13), IK (n = 14), or wait-list (n = 13) groups. Of the 27 patients assigned to receive MSB and IK meditations, day 7 data were available for 18 patients. Fifteen of the 18 patients meditated at least once in the first 7 days, and most (12/15) responded positively on the GSE. Conclusion: Both IK and MSB meditations were acceptable among the hospitalized cancer patients. Feasibility for enrollment and practice was likely not achieved due to limited uninterrupted time for daily meditation, high levels of morbidity in some participants, and limited research staff support. Shorter term outcomes should be explored in future meditation studies involving hospitalized cancer patients.
Project description:Adverse childhood experiences are linked to poor attentive behaviors during adolescence, as well as increased risk for mental health disorders in adults. However, no study has yet tested targeted interventions to optimize neurocognitive processes in this population. Here, we investigated closed-loop digital interventions in a double-blind randomized controlled study in adolescents with childhood neglect, and evaluated the outcomes using multimodal assessments of neuroimaging, cognitive, behavioral, and academic evaluations. In the primary neuroimaging results, we demonstrate that a closed-loop digital meditation intervention can strengthen functional connectivity of the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) in the cingulo-opercular network, which is critically developing during the adolescent period. Second, this intervention enhanced sustained attention and interference-resolution abilities, and also reduced behavioral hyperactivity at a 1-year follow-up. Superior academic performance was additionally observed in adolescents who underwent the digital meditation intervention. Finally, changes in dACC functional connectivity significantly correlated with improvements in sustained attention, hyperactivity, and academic performance. This first study demonstrates that closed-loop digital meditation practice can facilitate development of important aspects of neurocognition and real-life behaviors in adolescents with early childhood neglect.
Project description:BACKGROUND:A number of benefits have been described for the long-term practice of meditation, yet little is known regarding the immediate neurological and cardiovascular responses to meditation. Wireless sensor technology allows, for the first time, multi-parameter and quantitative monitoring of an individual's responses during meditation. The present study examined inter-individual variations to meditation through continuous monitoring of EEG, blood pressure, heart rate and its variability (HRV) in novice and experienced meditators. METHODS:Participants were 20 experienced and 20 novice meditators involved in a week-long wellness retreat. Monitoring took place during meditation sessions on the first and last full days of the retreat. All participants wore a patch that continuously streamed ECG data, while half of them also wore a wireless EEG headset plus a non-invasive continuous blood pressure monitor. RESULTS:Meditation produced variable but characteristic EEG changes, significantly different from baseline, even among novice meditators on the first day. In addition, although participants were predominately normotensive, the mean arterial blood pressure fell a small (2-3 mmHg) but significant (p < 0.0001) amount during meditation. The effect of meditation on HRV was less clear and influenced by calculation technique and respiration. No clear relationship between EEG changes, HRV alterations, or mean blood pressure during meditation was found. CONCLUSION:This is the first study to investigate neurological and cardiovascular responses during meditation in both novice and experienced meditators using novel, wearable, wireless devices. Meditation produced varied inter-individual physiologic responses. These results support the need for further investigation of the short- and long-term cardiovascular effects of mental calm and individualized ways to achieve it.
Project description:Among the various strategies for modulating the components of the emotional responses, the cognitive reappraisal and distraction are highlighted in current researches. As indicated in recent studies, the capacity for emotional regulation can be improved by mindfulness meditation practicing. This practice usually offers benefits to people's cognitive functioning and aims to improve a characteristic that is intrinsic to every human being: the ability to turn attention to the present moment. Importantly, positive emotions might also be effective on emotional regulation and several meditation practices make use of it. Thus, we aimed to compare two meditation modalities: one focused on attention only (mindfulness) and another focused-on attention toward positive emotions [Twin Hearts Meditation (THM)]. Ninety healthy subjects without any previous experience in meditation were enrolled in this experiment. Of these participants, 30 were submitted to the mindfulness practice with full attention on the observation of thoughts; 30 to the THM; and 30 to a control group (no meditation practice). After one session of meditation, all the participants completed emotional regulation task judging the valence and arousal of pictures with emotional content. In addition to the behavioral data, the participants' psychophysiological measures were recorded via electrocardiography (ECG). The results demonstrate a greater efficacy of THM in suppressing the negative valence of the negative pictures and amplifying the valence of the positive ones. No effect of meditation was observed for the ECG. Our findings indicate that contemplative meditation (THM) can positively influence the emotion regulation ability, even when performed by non-meditators and only once. However, in mindfulness meditation this same immediate effect was not found. Our findings reveal that faster effects of meditation practices can be obtained by practices that considers either the attentional processing and the positive emotions.
Project description:Despite the long-term use and evidence-based efficacy of meditation and mindfulness-based interventions, there is still a lack of data about the possible unwanted effects (UEs) of these practices. The aim of this study was to evaluate the occurrence of UEs among meditation practitioners, considering moderating factors such as the type, frequency, and lifetime duration of the meditation practices.An online survey was developed and disseminated through several websites, such as Spanish-, English- and Portuguese-language scientific research portals related to mindfulness and meditation. After excluding people who did not answer the survey correctly or completely and those who had less than two months of meditation experience, a total of 342 people participated in the study. However, only 87 reported information about UEs.The majority of the practitioners were women from Spain who were married and had a University education level. Practices were more frequently informal, performed on a daily basis, and followed by focused attention (FA). Among the participants, 25.4% reported UEs, showing that severity varies considerably. The information requested indicated that most of the UEs were transitory and did not lead to discontinuing meditation practice or the need for medical assistance. They were more frequently reported in relation to individual practice, during focused attention meditation, and when practising for more than 20 minutes and alone. The practice of body awareness was associated with UEs to a lesser extent, whereas focused attention was associated more with UEs.This is the first large-scale, multi-cultural study on the UEs of meditation. Despite its limitations, this study suggests that UEs are prevalent and transitory and should be further studied. We recommend the use of standardized questionnaires to assess the UEs of meditation practices.