06-06-2022 | ORIGINAL PAPER
The Adverse Effects of Meditation-Interventions and Mind–Body Practices: a Systematic Review
Gepubliceerd in: Mindfulness | Uitgave 8/2022Log in om toegang te krijgen
Studies that use meditation-interventions (MIs) and mind–body practices (MBPs) typically highlight health-enhancing benefits whereas health-inhibiting adverse effects (AEs) have been largely underreported. The primary aim of this review was to identify articles outlining health-inhibiting AEs and synthesize the findings narratively. Randomized control trials were excluded because this design often underreports AEs or does not include measures for monitoring them.
We conducted our search using four different databases (PubMed, PsychInfo, Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Collection, and Web of Science) from inception to March 2021. We used cited reference searching and conducted a gray literature search.
A total of 1,826 articles were identified through search strategies. Sixty-one studies met all inclusion criteria, and were separated by intervention/practice, with MIs being used most frequently (n = 41). The total sample size was 8,620. AEs were separated into two categories: somatic and mental distress. Nearly all studies (n = 57) mentioned some form of mental distress such as anxiety, while fewer studies (n = 21) reported somatic distress such as sleep disturbance. Individuals primarily engaged with MIs and MBPs face-to-face (n = 59).
This review suggests that AEs appear more frequently in research using MIs, and that mental distress is more common than somatic. These effects were primarily identified in studies delivering MIs and MBPs face-to-face, suggesting that future studies should aim to evaluate emerging technologies (i.e., apps). Easy access to apps disseminating MIs and/or MBPs could be problematic for users, considering the lack of supervision associated with technology.
Systematic review registration: PROSPERO ID#CRD42020167263