Molecular mechanisms of meditation

Mol Neurobiol. 2013 Dec;48(3):808-11. doi: 10.1007/s12035-013-8468-9. Epub 2013 Jun 5.


Meditation is a complex process involving change in cognition, memory, and social and emotional control, and causes improvement in various cardiovascular, neurological, autoimmune, and renal pathologies. Meditation also become widely used in medical and psychological treatment therapies for stress-related physical and mental disorders. But still, biological mechanisms in terms of effect on brain and body are poorly understood. This paper explains the basic changes due to meditation in cerebral cortex, prefrontal area, cingulate gyrus, neurotransmitters, white matter, autonomic nervous system, limbic system, cytokines, endorphins, hormones, etc. The following is a review of the current literature regarding the various neurophysiological mechanisms, neuro-endocrine mechanisms, neurochemical substrates, etc. that underlies the complex processes of meditation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autonomic Nervous System / metabolism
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Meditation*
  • Neurosecretory Systems / metabolism
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / metabolism


  • Cytokines
  • Neurotransmitter Agents