Adverse effects of meditation – a new paper by LEVYNA & colleagues

In a single-group observational study published in the Journal of Religion and Health, S. Kotherová with J. Cigán and colleagues showed that one-fifth of their Samadhi meditation participants (first timers) got post-meditation nausea symptoms – this result indicates that meditation can cause adverse effects in some practitioners.

25 Jun 2024

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Meditation has been widely promoted as a pathway to wellbeing – but what if it also does the opposite? The authors observed 57 university students with no previous experience in meditation undergo a Samadhi meditation practice and assessed their autonomic system activity and nausea symptoms before, during, and after the practice. They observed that engaging in meditation and increased nausea during meditation were both associated with increased markers of heart-rate variability (HRV) parasympathetic activity, but 12 individuals with markedly higher nausea demonstrated increased HRV markers of sympathetic activity during meditation. The study thus shows the importance of monitoring the potential negative side-effects of meditation, as well as the mechanisms contributing to them.

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