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The Health Benefits of Meditation
Article Critique Part two Paper
Rasheedah Long
Grand Canyon University
NSG 325: Evidence Based Practice

The purpose of composing this paper is to review one article that supports the PICOT statement. This paper will be written as an essay and will scrutinize major components of the study such as the introduction, the review of literature, the methods used, the findings, and lastly the discussion. This paper will provide an analytical view of the chosen article, determining the applicability of the findings, the clinical importance, the validity and the reliability of the issue addressed in the article.
There are many different types of mediation practices. Transcendental meditation and mindfulness based stress reduction meditation are two of the most commonly researched. Meditation is now widely accepted into mainstream and is being used as a way for maintaining health and wellness. Several medical and rehabilitation facilities have proved meditation to be a safe and effective tool for treating: “stress, fatigue, depression, anxiety, fibromyalgia, hypertension, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, tinnitus, congestive heart failure, general pain, as well as many other health ailments. (Natural Medicine Database, 2014)
Article Introduction The introduction to the study was clear and concise. It clearly identified what the researchers were looking to establish. The introduction explains that mindfulness meditation is defined as “paying attention on purpose, being in the present moment, and reacting non-judgmentally to the unfolding of experiences moment by moment.” It also educates the reader about mindfulness mediation and the many health benefits it can have on certain populations. The researchers had two purposes for this research study. The first purpose was to identify whether baseline anxiety levels were associated with the participants subjective rating of the effectiveness of a mediation program. The main purpose was identifying whether nursing students participating in the meditation group experienced reduced anxiety and depression levels, a reduction in heart rate, systolic blood pressure, and diastolic blood pressure compared with the control group. The study used a randomized sample, it included 105 Chinese nursing students. 60 students were recruited and broken into two groups, they were randomized into a mediation group or a control group. The intervention program was developed by nursing faculty from a medical university in Guangzhou, China.
Review of Literature
The review of literature contained several literature reviews. The researchers specified that the research study was done because of the growing concern of stress related burnout, which is mainly caused by the growing nursing shortage. This can be a serious problem for healthcare professionals and the study suggests that in order for nurses to be able to cope with the stress of the job, they should learn early on effective ways that help to manage stress, gain emotion regulation skills, and adaptive interpersonal capacities. (Irving et al. 2009). All of which can be developed through mindfulness mediation. In support of this theory a research conducted by Pipe et al (2009) found that a 4 week meditation program/intervention greatly improved burnout symptoms, increased relaxation, and improved life satisfaction. The study consisted of 16 nurses and nursing assistants the comparison group consisted of 14 waitlist control participants. The literature reviews used to support this research study are very pertinent to the problem of stress-related burnout in nurses, and in proving that mindfulness based meditation can reduce stress.
The literature review is organized in a way that is easy for readers to understand the methods used in the research study. Questionnaires were used to determine the level of stress and anxiety and autonomic nervous system activity was measured by assessing heart rate, blood pressure and respiratory rate. (Chen & Wang, 2013)

Methods The pre-intervention phase consisted of 60 nursing students who were randomly assigned to either the meditation group or to the control group. The meditation and the control group both completed the mood assessment questionnaires and the autonomic nervous system activity measures. Once the data was collected the intervention process began. Meditation training was implemented for 7 consecutive days in 30 minute intervals. The training was provided by a senior psychological counselor who was well experienced in mindfulness meditation. On the first day the students were taught how to focus on breathing while closing their eyes, and to non-critically become aware of their thoughts, sensations, and feelings. (Chen & Wang, 2013) For the remainder of the days the group practiced guided meditation and incorporated a concept used by the traditional Chinese Buddhist such as the use of the “internal eye” this represent the ability to scan bodily sensations. (Yank et al., 2011) Once the study was completed the researchers collected the post intervention data by using the Chinese version of the self-rating anxiety and depression scale (SAS and SDS) and the autonomic nervous system activity was taken by a trained research specialist using a digital arm sphygmomanometer. Pre and post assessment data can be useful in helping to prove the validity of a study. Results To help maintain the validity of the study, the participants were instructed to answer all question with truthfulness and honesty. All subjects participated in the pre, and post data collection but only the intervention group attended the seven days of mindfulness meditation training classes. The results of the study revealed an improvement in stress levels and a reduction in blood pressure comparing the pre and post SAS and the vital signs scores. There was a significant difference in the scores for pre intervention anxiety levels and blood pressure readings compared to post intervention anxiety and blood pressure levels, signifying a significant reduction post intervention. Blood pressure was reduced, with an average reduction of 2.2 mm Hg. There was a significant reduction in anxiety levels as confirmed by the SAS. However, depression scores were not affected by the intervention. The study also revealed that there is no relationship between pre-intervention levels and subjective effectiveness. The results did provide evidence to support the hypothesis. (Chen & Wang, 2013)

Discussion The researcher’s indicated that the one major limitation to the study was the that the control group lacked the social network and anticipatory effect that the mediation group had, this prevented the researchers from being able to determine if the effects were from meditation or simply a placebo effect. The researchers were unable to measure the level of mindfulness so they were unable to determine if it was increased by the mediation. The researchers stated that the intervention period was short and the participants did not continue to practice while at home, also follow up visits were not done. So the researcher were unable to determine if longer meditation regimes would have been more effective than shorter ones. Overall researchers concluded that mindfulness meditation reduces anxiety symptoms and lowers blood pressure and that it should be used as a stress-reduction intervention for nurses and nursing students. (Chen & Wang, 2013)

Chen, Y., Yang, X., Wang, L., & Zhang, X. (2013). A randomized controlled trial of the effects of brief mindfulness meditation on anxiety symptoms and systolic blood pressure in Chinese nursing students. Nurse Education Today, 33(10), 1166. Retrieved from

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