Heart Rate Variability and Meditation:  A Meta-Analysis


Let us discuss the findings of the meta-analysis that examined the relationship between heart rate variability (HRV) and meditation practices.

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Heart Rate Variability (HRV) is an indicator of autonomic nervous system function related to both physical and mental health.[Source:ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]


Results from numerous studies claim that mindfulness- and meditation-based treatments (MBIs) are linked to improvements in HRV, but findings are mixed.[Source:ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]

HRV and Meditation:

To identify randomized controlled trials (RCTs), systematic literature searches were carried out using PsycINFO, Embase, Medline, CINAHL, ERIC, and Scopus.[Source:ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]


The study looked at various types of meditation, including mindfulness meditation, and moving meditations(yoga).

Types of Meditation:

This type of meditation involves paying attention to the present moment and is associated with improvements in stress and anxiety and has a positive effect on HRV.[Source:ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]

Mindfulness Meditation:

Yoga is a type of moving meditation that involves physical postures, breathing exercises, and meditation. Regular yoga practice has been found to improve HRV, and heart health and reduce stress.[Source:www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]

Moving Meditation:

After analyzing various studies, it was found that mindfulness-based interventions did not show significant improvement in vagally-mediated resting heart rate variability compared to control conditions.[Source:ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]

Study Results:

Other factors that affect HRV include age, sex, and physical activity levels.[Source:ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]

Factors That Affect HRV:

Improved HRV has been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, as well as improvements in mental health and overall well-being.[Source:ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]

Benefits of Improved HRV:

Short-term changes in HRV indices were observed during meditation, but there is limited evidence for significant long-term effects.[Source:ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]