Research: BIRX,

Listed in Issue 234


BIRX,  School of Nursing, Radford University, VA, USA.  analyzed and compared the concepts of centring and opening meditation processes in health care.


Centring and opening meditation processes are included in nursing theories and frequently recommended in health care for stress management. These meditation processes are integrated into emerging psychotherapy approaches and there is a rapidly expanding body of neuroscience research distinguishing brain activity associated with different types of meditation. Currently, there is a lack of theoretical and conceptual clarity needed to guide meditation research in health care.


A search of healthcare literature between 2006-2011 was conducted using Alt HealthWatch, CINAHL, PsychNET and PubMed databases using the keywords 'centring' and 'opening' alone and in combination with the term 'meditation.' For the concept centring, 10 articles and 11 books and for the concept opening 13 articles and 10 books were included as data sources. Rodgers' evolutionary method of concept analysis was used.


Centring and opening are similar in that they both involve awareness in the present moment; both use a gentle, effortless approach; and both have a calming effect. Key differences include centring's focus on the individual's inner experience compared with the non-dual, spacious awareness of opening.


Centring and opening are overlapping, yet distinct meditation processes. The term meditation cannot be used in a generic way in health care. The differences between centring and opening have important implications for the further development of unitary-transformative nursing theories.


Birx E. A comparative concept analysis of centring vs. opening meditation processes in health care. J Adv Nurs. 69(8):1895-904. doi: 10.1111/jan.12032. Aug 2013. Epub Oct 17 2012.

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