Effect of rosary prayer and yoga mantras on autonomic cardiovascular rhythms: comparative study. Bernardi L, Sleight P, Bandinelli G, Cencetti S, Fattorini L, Wdowczyc-Szulc J, Lagi A.

BMJ 2001 Dec 22-29;323(7327):1446-9

Dipartimento di Medicina Interna, University of Pavia, 27100 Pavia, Italy.

OBJECTIVE: To test whether rhythmic formulas such as the rosary and yoga mantras can synchronise and reinforce inherent cardiovascular rhythms and modify baroreflex sensitivity. DESIGN: Comparison of effects of recitation of the Ave Maria (in Latin) or of a mantra, during spontaneous and metronome controlled breathing, on breathing rate and on spontaneous oscillations in RR interval, and on blood pressure and cerebral circulation. SETTING: Florence and Pavia, Italy. PARTICIPANTS: 23 healthy adults. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Breathing rate, regularity of breathing, baroreflex sensitivity, frequency of cardiovascular oscillations. RESULTS: Both prayer and mantra caused striking, powerful, and synchronous increases in existing cardiovascular rhythms when recited six times a minute. Baroreflex sensitivity also increased significantly, from 9.5 (SD 4.6) to 11.5 (4.9) ms/mm Hg, P<0.05. CONCLUSION: Rhythm formulas that involve breathing at six breaths per minute induce favourable psychological and possibly physiological effects.

Categories: Heart