Effect of meditation on neurophysiological changes in stress mediated depression

Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2014 Feb;20(1):74-80. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2013.10.001. Epub 2013 Oct 18.


Meditation is a complex mental practice involving changes in sensory perception, cognition, hormonal and autonomic activity. It is widely used in psychological and medical practices for stress management as well as stress mediated mental disorders like depression. A growing body of literature has shown that meditation has profound effects on numerous physiological systems that are involved in the pathophysiology of major depressive disorder (MDD). Although meditation-based interventions have been associated with improvement in depressive symptoms and prevention of relapse, the physiological mechanisms underlying the therapeutic effects of meditation are not clearly defined and even paradoxical. This paper reviews many of the physiological abnormalities found in cytokine & stress mediated depression and the reversal of these anomalies by different meditation techniques.

Keywords: Cytokines; Depression; Meditation; Stress and neurophysiology.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Depression / physiopathology
  • Depression / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Meditation*
  • Stress, Psychological / physiopathology
  • Stress, Psychological / therapy*