Tibetan and Himalayan Library - THL

THL Title Text
Title: Zazen and cardiac variability
Language of title: English
Author/Creator: P. Lehrer
Y. Sasaki
Y. Saito

Description: OBJECTIVE: This study examined the effects of "tanden breathing" by Zen practitioners on cardiac variability. Tanden breathing involves slow breathing into the lower abdomen. METHODS: Eleven Zen practitioners, six Rinzai and five Soto, were each studied during 20 minutes of tanden breathing, preceded and followed by 5-minute periods of quiet sitting. During this time, we measured heart rate and respiration rate. RESULTS: For most subjects, respiration rates fell to within the frequency range of 0.05 to 0.15 Hz during tanden breathing. Heart rate variability significantly increased within this low-frequency range but decreased in the high-frequency range (0.14-0.4 Hz), reflecting a shift of respiratory sinus arrhythmia from high-frequency to slower waves. Rinzai practitioners breathed at a slower rate and showed a higher amplitude of low-frequency heart rate waves than observed among Soto Zen participants. One Rinzai master breathed approximately once per minute and showed an increase in very-low-frequency waves (<0.05 Hz). Total amplitude of heart rate oscillations (across frequency spectra) also increased. More experienced Zen practitioners had frequent heart rhythm irregularities during and after the nadir of heart rate oscillations (ie, during inhalation). CONCLUSIONS: These data are consistent with the theory that increased oscillation amplitude during slow breathing is caused by resonance between cardiac variability caused by respiration and that produced by physiological processes underlying slower rhythms. The rhythm irregularities during inhalation may be related to inhibition of vagal modulation during the cardioacceleratory phase. It is not known whether they reflect cardiopathology.

Publisher Place: New York
Publisher: Elsevier
American Psychosomatic Society
Normalized publisher place: New York
Publisher country: United States
Publisher URL: http://www.psychosomatic.org/
Published Date: 1999
URL: http://www.psychosomaticmedicine.org/cgi/content/full/61/6/812
Subject: Zen
Psychosomatic medicine
Soto Zen
Breathing meditation
Japanese Buddhism
Rinzai Zen
Clinical study
Tanden breathing
Classification: Buddhism and Science -- Buddhism -- Contemplative Practices -- Zen Meditation/Zazen
Buddhism and Science -- Buddhism -- Zen/Ch’an Buddhism
Buddhism and Science -- Medicine -- International Medicine -- Clinical Studies on Meditation
Buddhism and Science -- Medicine -- International Medicine -- Cardiology
Buddhism and Science -- Medicine -- International Medicine -- Psychosomatic Medicine
Cultural Coverage: Japan
United States
Temporal coverage: 20th century CE
Language: English
Interface Language: English
Series 2 editor:
Source URL: http://www.psychosomaticmedicine.org
Source: Psychosomatic medicine
Source Editor: D.S. Sheps
Source Type: Journal
Source Volume: 61
Source Number: 6
Source Page Numbers: 812-821
Start Date: 1939
Frequency of publication: More than four times a year
Submissions: See the journal's instructions for authors.
ISBN/ISSN: 0033-3174
Location and access number: 10593633

Means of availability: Articles in this journal are available In print and online. Check the publisher's webpage for access to archived articles.

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Print media (print or manuscript, including PDFs)
Media type: Text
Resource Type: Article
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Date Of Record Creation: 2005-03-25 14:31:01
Date Last Modified: 2006-05-15 16:48:41
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