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Meditation for Health Purposes Workshop

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July 8–9, 2008

Bethesda, Maryland

View the Executive Summary

What is meditation?

The term meditation refers to a variety of techniques or practices intended to focus or control attention. Most of them are rooted in Eastern religious or spiritual traditions. These techniques have been used by many different cultures throughout the world for thousands of years.

Today, many people use meditation outside of its traditional religious or cultural settings as a form of mind-body medicine. Many claims have been made about its value in promoting or improving health and wellness. Research on these claims, as well as on how meditation might work, is important for NCCAM and other components of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Backgrounder: Meditation: An Introduction »

AHRQ Meditation Report — Review of the Literature

Meditation is used to treat a variety of health conditions. To clarify what is known about meditation practices for health, NCCAM funded a systematic review of available scientific literature. The report, published by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) in June 2007, highlighted strengths and limitations in existing meditation research and focused on three main areas of health:

  • Hypertension
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Substance abuse

The AHRQ Report found that “firm conclusions on the effects of meditation practices in healthcare cannot be drawn based on the available evidence. Future research on meditation practices must be more rigorous in the design and execution of studies and in the analysis and reporting of results.”

Meditation Practices for Health: State of the Research [2.74MB PDF] (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality)

Meditation for Health Purposes Workshop

July 2008

To move the field of meditation research forward, NCCAM co-sponsored a 2-day conference in July 2008 to assess current knowledge and identify opportunities for future research on the mechanisms and efficacy of meditation practices for health. This workshop brought together experts in the fields of meditation practices, research design and methodology, physiological mechanisms, and affective and cognitive processes and outcomes.

View the Workshop Agenda [78KB PDF] »

Invited Speakers [59KB PDF] »

View the Executive Summary »

Who sponsored the workshop?

Who were the additional participating organizations?

Follow Up

As a result of the conference, NCCAM developed a concept clearance entitled “Program for Translational Tools for CAM Clinical Research” which was approved by the NCCAM Advisory Council in September 2008. This concept seeks to enhance research on CAM interventions through the development and validation of translational tools that will improve comparability and generalizability of studies.

* Note: PDF files require a viewer such as the free Adobe Reader.

This page last modified September 24, 2017