Effect of Buddhist meditation on serum cortisol and total protein levels, blood pressure, pulse rate, lung volume and reaction time

Physiol Behav. 1991 Sep;50(3):543-8. doi: 10.1016/0031-9384(91)90543-w.


Serum cortisol and total protein levels, blood pressure, heart rate, lung volume, and reaction time were studied in 52 males 20-25 years of age practicing Dhammakaya Buddhist meditation, and in 30 males of the same age group not practicing meditation. It was found that after meditation, serum cortisol levels were significantly reduced, serum total protein level significantly increased, and systolic pressure, diastolic pressure and pulse rate significantly reduced. Vital capacity, tidal volume and maximal voluntary ventilation were significantly lower after meditation than before. There were also significant decreases in reaction time after mediation practice. The percentage decrease in reaction time during meditation was 22%, while in subjects untrained in meditation, the percentage decrease was only 7%. Results from these studies indicate that practising Dhammakaya Buddhist meditation produces biochemical and physiological changes and reduces the reaction time.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Pressure / physiology*
  • Blood Proteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / blood*
  • Lung / physiology*
  • Lung Volume Measurements
  • Male
  • Pulse / physiology*
  • Reaction Time / physiology*
  • Relaxation Therapy*


  • Blood Proteins
  • Hydrocortisone