A new study out of Michigan Technological University suggests that one session of mindfulness-based meditation can have long-term health benefits. This research specifically shows that a 60-minute meditation exercise can reduce anxiety and stress-related heart conditions.
In this study, researchers analyzed the heart rates and anxiety levels of 14 people before and after a 60-minute meditation session. Scientists found that all 14 meditators had healthier heartbeats, fewer signs of cardiovascular issues, and reduced stress immediately after the one-hour practice.
The 60-minute meditation was broken up into three sections. For the first 20 minutes, participants began with a simple introduction to meditation. After that, patients were instructed to scan each part of their body slowly from their toes to their head for 30 minutes. For the last 10 minutes, patients were allowed to meditate however they felt comfortable.
Interestingly, researchers discovered that the positive effects of this one session lasted at least one week. When investigators asked how study participants felt a week after the meditation, almost all patients responded that they felt a significant reduction in anxiety. Amazingly, one patient said he hasn’t felt so calm in decades.
While there have already been studies showing the benefits of meditation retreats and consistent meditation practice, this new study is one of the first to analyze the benefits of just one session.
John Durocher, who teaches biological sciences and exercise physiology at Michigan Tech, was the lead author of this study. The other major researchers on this project include Hannah Marti, Brigitte Morin, and Travis Wakeham.
In interviews with the press, Dr. Durocher said his former student Hannah Marti was responsible for the design of this study. Durocher hopes this experiment will encourage professors across the nation to let their students take the initiative in crafting scientific studies.
The official title of this study is, “Mindfulness Meditation Reduces Aortic Pulsatile Load and Anxiety in Mild to Moderately Anxious Adults.” Dr. Durocher revealed his findings at the 2018 Experimental Biology gathering in the San Diego Convention Center.