Introduction: Dynamic meditation is one of the most popular active meditation, introduced by an Indian mystic Osho in 1970. This one hour meditation consists of five stages: Deep fast chaotic breathing, catharsis, using a mantra "Hoo", silence, and dancing. A previous study observed that Osho dynamic meditation causes decrease in several psychopathological variables such as aggressive behaviour, anxiety and depression. However, it is not objectively established that the dynamic meditation has an anti-stress effect.
Aim: To find out the effect of Osho dynamic meditation on the serum cortisol levels (cortisol is an indicator of stress) and therefore to observe whether it has any anti-stress effect.
Materials and methods: An experimental study was planned doing the dynamic meditation empty stomach in morning at 6 to 7 am every day for 21 days from 1st March 2015 to 21st March 2015 at Lucknow. Twenty healthy volunteers between 20 to 50 years (14 males and 6 females) participated in the study. Serum cortisol level was estimated from the blood samples collected in the morning one day prior (baseline) and post-meditation on the 21st day of the study. The difference between mean cortisol levels of the baseline and post-meditation groups were tested for significance by applying the paired t-test.
Results: Sixteen volunteers out of the 20 completed the study while four dropped out due to their health and personal reasons. The serum cortisol levels were decreased in all the 16 participants on 21st day as compared to the baseline levels and the decline in the mean cortisol level was highly significant (p<0.001).
Conclusion: The results of the study showed a significant reduction in plasma cortisol levels when the participants were tested after 21 days of meditation; it can be concluded that the Osho dynamic meditation produces anti-stress effects. The mechanism of action could primarily be attributed to the release of repressed emotions and psychological inhibitions and traumas. Thus, dynamic meditation could be recommended for the amelioration of stress and stress related physical and mental disorders. More clinical studies should be done on dynamic meditation to prove its efficacy and become an approved therapy in hospitals.
Keywords: Catharsis; Meditative therapy; Psychotherapy; Relaxation; Stress.