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Hair analysis shows: Meditation training reduces long-term stress

August 30, 2021

Mental training that promotes skills such as mindfulness, gratitude or compassion reduces the concentration of the stress hormone cortisol in the hair. This is what scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig and the Social Neuroscience Research Group of the Max Planck Society in Berlin have found out. The amount of cortisol in the hair provides information about how much a person is burdened by persistent stress. Earlier positive training effects had been shown in acute stress situations or on individual days - or were based on self-reporting by the study participants. The current study thus provides objective evidence for the first time that mental training reduces physical signs of long periods of stress, even in healthy people.

Cortisol is considered a good indicator of chronic stress; the longer the stress lasts, the longer an increased concentration of the hormone circulates in the body - and the more of it accumulates in the hair.

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