Mind-body response and neurophysiological changes during stress and meditation: central role of homeostasis

J Biol Regul Homeost Agents. 2014 Oct-Dec;28(4):545-54.


Stress profoundly impacts quality of life and may lead to various diseases and conditions. Understanding the underlying physiological and neurological processes that take place during stress and meditation techniques may be critical for effectively treating stress-related diseases. The article examines a hypothetical physiological homeostatic response that compares and contrasts changes in central and peripheral oscillations during stress and meditation, and relates these to changes in the autonomic system and neurological activity. The authors discuss how cardiorespiratory synchronization, which occurs during the parasympathetic response and meditation, influences and modulates activity and oscillations of the brain and autonomic nervous system. Evidence is presented on how synchronization of cardiac and respiratory rates during meditation may lead to a homeostatic increase in cellular membrane potentials in neurons and other cells throughout the body. These potential membrane changes may underlie the reduced activity in the amygdala, and other cortical areas during meditation, and research examining these changes may foster better understanding of the restorative properties and health benefits of meditation.

Publication types

  • Editorial
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autonomic Nervous System / physiology
  • Heart Rate
  • Homeostasis*
  • Humans
  • Meditation*
  • Membrane Potentials
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Psychophysiology
  • Stress, Psychological / physiopathology*