Comparative study of the impact of active meditation protocol and silence meditation on heart rate variability and mood in women

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Comparative study of the impact of active meditation protocol and silence meditation on heart rate variability and mood in women

Aim: The aim of this study was to understand the impact of an active meditation protocol on heart rate variability (HRV) and mood in women as compared to breath-focused silence meditation. Materials and Methods: Women experienced two different practices of 20 min each: (a) control group: silence meditation focusing on breath and (b) experiment group: active meditation that included four activities, each lasting for 5 minutes – (1) simple humming, (2) coherent heart-focused breathing with 5s of inhalation and 5s of exhalation, (3) coherent heart-focused breathing while invoking positive emotions, and (4) guided imagery about a preidentified goal. The silence meditation encouraged women to only focus on the breath. The Positive and Negative Affect Scale measured mood before/after the practice (n = 24), and emWavePro device measured HRV parameters for 5 min before/after the practices (n = 18). Statistical data analysis was done using a paired t-test. Results: HRV (specifically, parasympathetic nervous system [PNS]) parameters showed a statistically significant improvement in the experiment group as compared to the control group. There was a statistically significant reduction in negative affect after both the practices, and the increase in positive affect was observed only for the experiment group. Conclusions: The active meditation provides a significant enhancement in mood and HRV parameters related to PNS as compared to silence meditation where the changes in HRV were not consistent and the positive mood did not increase significantly. Future research in this area could explore the impact of such practice for a longer duration and understand the impact of each component of the meditative practices.

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