Modulation of the autonomic nervous system through mind and body practices as a treatment for atrial fibrillation

M. Usmaan Bashir, Anjali Bhagra, Suraj Kapa, Christopher J. McLeod

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Atrial fibrillation is the most common symptomatic arrhythmia that is associated with stroke. Contemporary management of the disease is focused on anticoagulation to prevent stroke, coupled with catheter ablation to limit symptoms and prevent deleterious cardiac remodeling. Emerging data highlights the importance of lifestyle modification by managing sleep apnea, increasing physical activity, and weight loss. There is significant data that supports a link between the autonomic nervous system, arrhythmia development, and atrial fibrillation therapy. It is likely that lifestyle modification through these techniques that are aimed to reduce stress may also mediate atrial fibrillation development through this mechanism. This review examines how mind and body practices such as meditation, yoga, and acupuncture may influence the autonomic nervous system and mitigate atrial fibrillation progression and regression. Available evidence from molecular and anatomical levels through to clinical observations and translational clinical trials were scrutinized and a case established for these interventions as potential powerful mediators of anti-arrhythmic benefit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-137
Number of pages9
JournalReviews in cardiovascular medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 30 2019


  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Autonomic nervous system
  • Meditation
  • Yoga

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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