2008, Volume 4, Issue 1

Metabolic effects of a zen meditation and qigong training program in experienced meditation instructors

Alexander Kormanovski1, Eleazar Lara Padilla1, Jan Harasymowicz2

1Higher Medical School, National Polytechnic Institute, Mexico City, Mexico
2Paweł Włodkowic University College, Płock, Poland

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Background and Study Aim: The metabolic effects of meditation have previously been analyzed only with unqualifi ed people who practiced just one form of this discipline. The aim of this work was to analyze the metabolic effects in experienced meditation instructors involved in a program began with zen meditation (without exercise) and later combined this technique with qigong exercise program.
Material and Methods: This two-phased study was carried out on seven qualifi ed meditation instructors and ten people of a control group. The fi rst phase consisted of two parts, in which the instructors underwent a zen meditation program for six weeks (1.5 hours), then a program of combined meditation (zen + qigong exercise) for three weeks. The second phase began after a one-month rest period and consisted of six weeks of combined meditation. During both phases total cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol, triglycerides, total proteins, urea and creatine kinase were determined. The statistical analysis was carried out with variance analysis.
Results: In the fi rst part of the fi rst phase (zen meditation only), the different types of cholesterol increased approximately 20% (p<0.05) and the triglycerides 45% (p=0.047). However, all parameters decreased (p<0.01) during the second part of this phase (combined meditation). In the second phase (combined meditation only), the different types of cholesterol decreased more than 20% (p<0.05) from the third week on, the triglycerides decreased 30% (p<0.05) from the second week on and urea concentration decreased 15% (p<0.05) during fi rst four weeks.
Conclusions: It is probable that the decrease of the different types of cholesterol, triglycerides and urea observed during the combined meditation is due to the set of exercises (mainly isometrics) done during the qigong training program.

Key words: cholesterol, physical activity, qigong, triglycerides, zen meditation