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Effect of meditation on immune cells

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The objective of this study was to assess the influence of long term meditation on runners' immune status at rest, after exercise and after 2 h recovery. Ten males, who had practised meditation for a long time and were participating in a half-marathon race, were studied in a case–control design. The control group was drawn from the pool of applicants to the race who did not practise meditation. Blood samples were taken before, immediately after and 2 h after the race. Immune and blood analysis were conducted. Runners practising meditation had lower lymphocyte counts at rest before the race (p<0.02). Just after the race, both groups more than doubled their white blood cell (wbc) counts (p<0.01); however, no significant effects were observed on the immune cells, neither was any difference between groups seen in the post-exercise period. Long term practice of meditation may influence absolute lymphocyte counts at rest. No effect was observed in the immune response to exercise stress. Copyright © 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Keywords: immunomodulation; lymphocytes; meditation; relaxation; running

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Ullevål University Hospital, Department of Medicine, Oslo, Norway 2: Voksentoppen Centre for Asthma and Allergy, Oslo, Norway 3: Department of Community Medicine and General Practice, NTNU, Trondheim, Norway

Publication date: April 1, 2000

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