Church vs. Meditation Summary

Purpose: To compare the findings of non-secular meditation to Christian church attendance in physically healthy subjects to determine their effect on wellbeing and mental health.  Methods: We reviewed studies from 1966 to the present in peer-reviewed medical literature which evaluated meditation and church attendance in physically healthy populations. Results: This study included 37 articles meeting the inclusion criteria. This study showed that several types of meditation practices, and church attendance of a variety of denominations, provided improved general wellbeing and mental health among physically healthy subject populations. Although both techniques were evaluated mostly in Americans, and over a wide age range including youth and adult populations, meditation appeared to be studied more in Asians while church attendance was appraised more in older individuals and African Americans. Conclusion: This study suggests that church attendance may be considered potentially by medical personnel as a recommendation to patients needing enhanced mental health and/or wellbeing.