Physiological Effects of Meditation

With nearly 1000 participants’ data to collect, these researchers at UC San Diego were looking for a reliable and scalable solution for their study of the physiological effects of meditation on the body. After outfitting each of their participants with a Garmin Vivosmart 4, Labfront was used to monitor heart rate and HRV over the course of a 7-day retreat and an additional 6 months afterward.

About this study
Stanford WELL for Life Wearable Pilot Study
Metrics Collected Icon
Metrics Collected
Stress, Sleep, HRV
Device Used icon
Device Used
Vivosmart 4
Number of Participants Icon
# of Participants
120
Duration of study icon
Duration of study
60 days
Dr. Hemal Patel, PhD
Professor, UC San Diego School of Medicine
About this study
QUANTUM Study
Metrics Collected Icon
Metrics Collected
HR, Sleep, Activity, HRV, and Stress
Device Used icon
Device Used
Vivosmart 4
Number of Participants Icon
# of Participants
978
Duration of study icon
Duration of study
7-day workshop + 6 months after
Hemal Patel
Dr. Hemal Patel, PhD
Professor, UC San Diego School of Medicine

The Patel Laboratory

The Patel Laboratory is based in the Department of Anesthesiology at the University of California, San Diego. Its core focus has been stress adaptation in living systems, concentrating on membrane microdomain regulation of cellular metabolism and energetics. Over the last two years, they’ve been working on defining the molecular/biochemical/physiological signature induced by meditation with Garmin biometrics, as well as multi-omic analysis.

Introduction to the QUANTUM Study

For about a year, the lab had been using small cohorts to collect biometric data in their meditation research. Then in January 2022, the group launched a bold, first-of-its-kind study called QUANTUM (QUest to ANalyze a Thousand hUmans Meditating). The study enrolled 978 subjects who all wore Garmins at a week-long intensive meditation workshop hosted by Dr. Joe Dispenza. Subjects provided initial health status surveys before and after the event (including multiple follow-up surveys). Since the Patel Laboratory wanted to look at as many parameters as possible, they used the Garmin devices to capture heart rate, sleep, activity, heart rate variability, and stress as they evolved during and after the workshop. In addition to this, nearly 800 subjects provided pre and post stool for microbiome analysis and cheek scrapes for epigenetics. 

person meditation by a lake

Intensive Meditation Workshop

The unique utility of the workshop is that it is an extremely well-controlled environment; each participant is generally on the same sleep/wake schedule, eats the same food for breakfast, lunch, and breaks, and is exposed to the same external environment.

During a typical day at the meditation workshop, subjects get up around 5-6am with the day ending around 6-8pm. The day is divided into multiple meditation sessions (3-4 a day ranging from 30 mins to 4 hours), opportunities to learn via lecture on a variety of meditation related topics, two full meals, and multiple breaks. 

Why Labfront

Using Labfront for the Garmin devices’ analysis allowed them to look at various parameters in the various transitions of the days as well as the transformation of the individual over the week (multiplied by almost 1000 subjects). In addition to collecting data on those who participated in the week-long retreat, researchers continued to remotely collect data on those willing to continue in the study.

QUANTUM’s Potential Value 

QUANTUM represents a unique population of individuals that undertake a daily practice of meditation for health resilience and empowerment.   There are nearly 20 conditions represented, with at least 30 people involved (many with over 100).  By looking at biometric data, self-reported health, and unbiased omic analysis of this cohort, researchers will gain powerful insights and be able to make important conclusions about the health benefits of meditation. Additionally, the researchers will increase their understanding of the impact of meditation on physiology and biology of the human as they evolve their health, as many of those attending these intensive workshops have seen dramatic healings and changes in their health status.

Further Plans of The Patel Laboratory

The researchers will continue to use Garmins in a number of ongoing and planned studies which will include other measures such as deep phenotyping of blood, qEEG and fMRI measurements. In April 2022 they began looking at the meditative experience of twin sets (with the help of the Labfront Analytics team) and they’re also planning to launch QUANTUM-2 later this year. If all that weren’t enough, the lab has additional studies planned for 2023 that will probe unique elements of mind-body regulation where Garmins will be a core tool. 

We can’t see what The Patel Laboratory gets up to next! 

Last medically reviewed Date
Sep 19, 2022
Labfront
Labfront
All-In-One Research Solution for Real-World Data Capture

Labfront is a global startup specializing in health data analytics. It is currently disrupting academic health research through its Labfront platform, a code-free digital biomarker collection and analytics solution. With the recent explosion of sensors in the scientific community, Labfront is helping health researchers process the overwhelming amount of complex data and transition to the data-rich future.

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Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
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“The Labfront team was extremely responsive to our requests and made every effort to accommodate our unique needs.”
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Senior Lecturer of Psychology, Bar Ilan University
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"Labfront's analysts understood our needs as researchers and saved us weeks of work when they prepared our datasets for analysis."
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Bryan Edwards, Professor, Joe Synar Chair
Management Department, Oklahoma State University
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“The physiological data really helped provide deeper insights.  We recommend Labfront and will definitely be using it again!”
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Dr. Kristin Scott, PhD
Professor of Business, Clemson University
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