Continuous Measurement of O2 Consumption and CO2 Elimination During a Wakeful Hypometabolic State

Authors
Herbert Benson, M.D., Roger F. Steinert, B.A., Martha M. Greenwood, B.A., Helen M. Klemchuk, B.A., Norman H. Peterson
Publication
Journal of Human Stress / Behavioral Medicine
Volume 1(1)
Abstract

A previous investigation has demonstrated that the practice of a meditational technique elicits a wakeful, hypometabolic state. Measurement of O2 consumption and CO2 elimination was made by sampling techniques; mean values of these parameters were calculated from 6–10 minute samples. The present study extends this investigation, using a recently developed method of continuous measurement of O2 consumption and CO2 elimination. Continuous measurement of these parameters permitted the determination of mean values for the entire experimental periods as well as for selected intervals and permitted the examination of the sequence of respiratory changes. The present study reports statistically significant decreases in O2 consumption of 5 percent and CO2 elimination of 6 percent for the entire 20 minutes of the meditation period. These are lower than the sample values of 16 percent and 15 percent reported in the previous study. However, when selected intervals of the meditation period are examined, decreases in O2 consumption and CO2 elimination are comparable to those previously reported. The results are consistent with the difference between the discontinuous sampling measurement method originally employed and the continuous measurement method of the present investigation.

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