Adrenocortical activity during meditation

Horm Behav. 1978 Feb;10(1):54-60. doi: 10.1016/0018-506x(78)90024-7.


We studied acute plasma cortisol and testosterone concentration changes during the practice known as "transcendental meditation" (TM) and during control rest. Three groups of normal, young adult volunteers were studied: a group of controls, these same controls restudied as practitioners after 3 to 4 months of TM practice, and a group of long-term, regular TM practitioners (3 to 5 years of practice). No change was found in controls during rest. Cortisol declined, but not significantly, in restudied controls, while cortisol decreased significantly in long-term practitioners during meditation and remained somewhat low afterward. No change in testerone concentration was noted during either rest or TM. Apparently, the practice of TM becomes associated with psychophysiologic response(s) which acutely inhibit pituitary-adrenal activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex / physiology
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / blood
  • Hydrocortisone / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Relaxation Therapy*
  • Sleep / physiology
  • Testosterone / blood
  • Testosterone / metabolism*
  • Yoga*


  • Testosterone
  • Hydrocortisone