Decreased Alcohol Intake Associated with the Practice of Meditation: A Retrospective Investigation

Herbert Benson
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Volume 233, Issue 1

A wakeful hypometabolic state accompanies the practice of a relaxational, meditation technique called Transcendental Meditation. The state is characterized by decreased oxygen consumption, carbon dioxide elimination, respiratory rate and minute ventilation, with no change in respiratory quotient. Arterial blood pH and base excess decrease slightly while arterial blood lactate markedly decreases. Systolic, diastolic, and mean arterial blood pressures remain unchanged. The electroencephelogram shows an increase in intensity of slow alpha waves and occasional theta wave activity. These physiologic changes differ from those occurring during sleep and are hypothesized to represent activation of an integrated hypothalmic response, which is associated with decreased sympathetic nervous system activity.

A previously reported retrospective investigation noted decreased drug abuse and alcoholic intake associated with the practice of meditation. A portion of these same data are again reported.

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