Boston, Massachusetts 02129

  • Healthy


The purpose of this study is to use brain imaging technology to identify the parts of the brain that are activated during meditation and to compare these parts to those activated during other activities. This study will also determine the effects of meditation on involuntary functions, such as breathing.

Study summary:

Meditation and relaxation-based interventions are becoming more widely accepted in clinical settings because of their low cost, low risk, and proven effectiveness as a complementary intervention in a wide range of diseases. Despite the success and growing use of relaxation-based treatments, few studies have addressed the basic mechanism by which these treatments work. This study will use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to define the brain mechanisms underlying the meditative state, to differentiate this state from other states, and to determine how meditation-induced brain changes affect autonomic function. Participants in this study will have an fMRI brain scan. Brain activity, breathing rate, and heart rate will be measured while the participant engages in three different activities: lying quietly, meditating, and mentally generating numbers.


Inclusion Criteria: - Daily practice of Vipassana or Kundalini meditation for at least 1 year and participation in at least one 1-week meditation retreat Exclusion Criteria: - Current medical or psychological illness - Use of antidepressants, antianxiolytics, or compounds that alter cerebral blood flow - Claustrophobia - Pregnancy



Primary Contact:

Principal Investigator
Sara Lazar, PhD
Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Psychiatry

Backup Contact:


Location Contact:

Boston, Massachusetts 02129
United States

There is no listed contact information for this specific location.

Site Status: N/A

Data Source:

Date Processed: April 03, 2020

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