... References Bonadonna R. Meditation's impact on chronic illness . Holistic Nursing Practice . 2003;17(6):309–319. Cardoso ... and integrative medicine in lung cancer: diagnosis and management of lung cancer, 3 rd ed: American College ...
Descartes' Meditations on First Philosophy is often hailed as one of the great classics of western philosophy. First-time readers of the Meditations are often struck by Descartes' clear and accessible writing style. Within recent scholarship (e.g., most notably, Amelie Osksenberg Rorty's collection of Essays on Descartes' Meditations ), much attention has been focused toward examining the philosophical import of Descartes' literary techniques. In particular, discussion...
Rubin, Jeffrey B
Psychoanalysis and meditation not only compensate for the other's blind spots, but also, when practiced together, can provide a richer experience than either discipline pursued alone. After considering the way meditation cultivates heightened attentiveness, refines sensory clarity, lessens self-criticism, and increases affect tolerance, thereby deepening psychoanalytic listening, I'll examine how psychoanalytic perspectives on unconscious communication and meaning illuminate and transform the nearsightedness of meditation, aiding therapists and clients in understanding troubling thoughts, feelings, and behavior. This helps therapists deepen their capacity to help those people with whom they work. The paper also attempts to illuminate how the therapeutic relationship, conceived of in a freer and more empathic way--as the vehicle for both validating a person's experience and providing opportunities for new forms of relatedness and self-transformation--provides a crucible in which old and dysfunctional ways of caring for oneself and relating to other people emerge and new patterns of self-care and intimacy can be established. In the concluding section, I will delineate meditative psychoanalysis, my own integration of meditation and psychoanalysis. Clinical material will illustrate my theoretical reflections.
Grünenberg, Kristina; Walker, Hanne Kjærgaard; Knudsen, Jakob Skov
Meditation er ikke et nyt fænomen i det danske samfund. Det er den fokus som meditationsformen Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) har været genstand for i de senere år imidlertid. Inden for en sundhedssociologisk ramme undersøges nogle af grundene til, at netop MBSR er blevet populær både i...... en analyse af empirien, i hvilken forfatterne bl.a. argumenterer for, at opfattelsen af virkninger tilskrevet mindfulness meditation må ses i relation til to diskurser, som fremanalyseres og benævnes henholdsvis autenticitets- og e ektiviseringsdiskurserne. Disse diskurser udgør i artiklen...
Previous research on meditation and the EEG is described, and findings relating to EEG patterns during meditation are discussed. Comparisons of meditation with other altered states are reviewed and it is concluded that, on the basis of existing EEG evidence, there is some reason for differentiating between meditation and drowsing. Research on alpha-blocking and habituation of the blocking response during meditation is reviewed, and the effects of meditation on EEG patterns outside of meditati...
In Pascalian Meditations, Pierre Bourdieu counters Husserl’s disembodied, solipsistic Cartesian subjectivity with his well-known notion of habitus—that is, the self as embodied history, a history internalized as second nature and thus forgotten as history. Bourdieu turns to Blaise Pascal—the great anti-Cartesian—not only for inspiration but in order to establish a new interpretive ethos that transcends the seemingly intractable dilemma between objectivism and subjectivism. Bourdie...
Meditation has become popular in many Western nations, especially the USA. An increasing body of research shows various health benefits associated with meditation and these findings have sparked interest in the field of medicine. The practice of meditation originated in the ancient Vedic times of India and is described in the ancient Vedic texts. Meditation is one of the modalities used in Ayurveda (Science of Life), the comprehensive, natural health care system that originated in the ancient...
Meditation has become popular in many Western nations, especially the USA. An increasing body of research shows various health benefits associated with meditation and these findings have sparked interest in the field of medicine. The practice of meditation originated in the ancient Vedic times of India and is described in the ancient Vedic texts. Meditation is one of the modalities used in Ayurveda (Science of Life), the comprehensive, natural health care system that originated in the ancient Vedic times of India. The term "meditation" is now loosely used to refer to a large number of diverse techniques. According to Vedic science, the true purpose of meditation is to connect oneself to one's deep inner Self. Techniques which achieve that goal serve the true purpose of meditation. Neurological and physiological correlates of meditation have been investigated previously. This article describes the process of meditation at a more fundamental level and aims to shed light on the deeper underlying mechanism of the beneficial effects associated with meditation. Research on the effects of meditation is summarized.
Pokorski, Mieczyslaw; Suchorzynska, Anna
Meditation is an increasingly popular psychobehavioral therapy. Various meditation techniques in use make it hard to objectively scrutinize the psychological benefits. Therefore, in this study we set out to examine the effects of two fundamentally different meditative techniques, Zazen, 'seated meditation', in which the body and mind are calmed, and Tai Chi, 'meditation in motion', based on energetic martial art performance. The aim was to compare the effects of both techniques on personality structure, emotional intelligence, mood, and coping with stress. The study was conducted in 48 healthy volunteers, aged 39-50, divided into those practicing Zazen, Tai Chi, and the non-meditating controls, each group consisting of 16 persons. The psychometric tools consisted of Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations (CISS), the University of Wales Institute of Science and Technology Mood Adjective Checklist (UMACL), Emotional Intelligence Inventory (INTE), and the NEO Five-Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI). We found that both Zazen and Tai Chi meditations significantly enhanced openness to experience, one of the personality dimensions of the Big Five Model. The enhanced openness was associated with improved strategies for coping with stress. The meditators had less avoidance-oriented approaches to perceived stress. They also had improved mood compared with non-meditating controls. The findings suggest that enhanced openness to experience could shape one's desire to hold onto the meditation regimen. We conclude that both, diametrically different types of meditation, are conducive to mental health by improving the general well-being, counteracting stress, and leading to a better vigor of spirit. Meditation may thus be considered a complimentary, albeit rather modestly acting, adjunct to psychotherapy.
Mindfulness & meditation are gaining popularity in the Western psychological practice in the past 3-4 decades, especially within psychotherapeutic approaches, health promotion, and stress reduction. The origins and the broader context, however, seem to be overlooked in some of these practices......- mind, centrality of consciousness and meditation as a part of daily conduct are presented. The basic constructs of Buddhism, an integral part of Indian psychology, in relation to mindfulness and meditation, are also delineated as illustrations of these assumptions. The second part reflects...... on the application of the meditative practices through cognitive existential study of mindfulness (Kabat-Zinn, 2003) and a study on the phenomenology of meditation (Madsen, 2007). Both emphasise an experienced instructor, regular practice as a part of daily life, conceptual consciousness understandings...
Young, Mark E.; DeLorenzi, Leigh de Armas; Cunningham, Laura
Meditation has been studied as a way of reducing stress in counseling clients since the 1960s. Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and new wave behavior therapies incorporate meditation techniques in their programs. This article identifies meditation's curative factors and limitations when using meditation in addiction settings.
Brandmeyer, Tracy; Delorme, Arnaud
International audience; Dating back as far as 1957, the academic investigation of meditation and the Asian contemplative traditions have fascinated not only the likes of philosophers and religious scholars, but researchers in the fields of neuroscience, psychology and medicine. Over the last decade, we have witnessed an exponential increase in the interest in meditation research. While this is in part due to improvements in neuroimaging methods, it is also due to the variety of medical practi...
Kieran C R Fox
Full Text Available The accuracy of subjective reports, especially those involving introspection of one's own internal processes, remains unclear, and research has demonstrated large individual differences in introspective accuracy. It has been hypothesized that introspective accuracy may be heightened in persons who engage in meditation practices, due to the highly introspective nature of such practices. We undertook a preliminary exploration of this hypothesis, examining introspective accuracy in a cross-section of meditation practitioners (1-15,000 hrs experience. Introspective accuracy was assessed by comparing subjective reports of tactile sensitivity for each of 20 body regions during a 'body-scanning' meditation with averaged, objective measures of tactile sensitivity (mean size of body representation area in primary somatosensory cortex; two-point discrimination threshold as reported in prior research. Expert meditators showed significantly better introspective accuracy than novices; overall meditation experience also significantly predicted individual introspective accuracy. These results suggest that long-term meditators provide more accurate introspective reports than novices.
Khalsa, Sahib S; Rudrauf, David; Damasio, Antonio R; Davidson, Richard J; Lutz, Antoine; Tranel, Daniel
Attention to internal body sensations is practiced in most meditation traditions. Many traditions state that this practice results in increased awareness of internal body sensations, but scientific studies evaluating this claim are lacking. We predicted that experienced meditators would display performance superior to that of nonmeditators on heartbeat detection, a standard noninvasive measure of resting interoceptive awareness. We compared two groups of meditators (Tibetan Buddhist and Kundalini) to an age- and body mass index-matched group of nonmeditators. Contrary to our prediction, we found no evidence that meditators were superior to nonmeditators in the heartbeat detection task, across several sessions and respiratory modulation conditions. Compared to nonmeditators, however, meditators consistently rated their interoceptive performance as superior and the difficulty of the task as easier. These results provide evidence against the notion that practicing attention to internal body sensations, a core feature of meditation, enhances the ability to sense the heartbeat at rest.
Krisanaprakornkit, T; Krisanaprakornkit, W; Piyavhatkul, N; Laopaiboon, M
Anxiety disorders are characterised by long term worry, tension, nervousness, fidgeting and symptoms of autonomic system hyperactivity. Meditation is an age-old self regulatory strategy which is gaining more interest in mental health and psychiatry. Meditation can reduce arousal state and may ameliorate anxiety symptoms in various anxiety conditions. To investigate the effectiveness of meditation therapy in treating anxiety disorders Electronic databases searched include CCDANCTR-Studies and CCDANCTR-References, complementary and alternative medicine specific databases, Science Citation Index, Health Services/Technology Assessment Text database, and grey literature databases. Conference proceedings, book chapters and references were checked. Study authors and experts from religious/spiritual organisations were contacted. Types of studies: Randomised controlled trials. patients with a diagnosis of anxiety disorders, with or without another comorbid psychiatric condition. Types of interventions: concentrative meditation or mindfulness meditation. Comparison conditions: one or combination of 1) pharmacological therapy 2) other psychological treatment 3) other methods of meditation 4) no intervention or waiting list. Types of outcome: 1) improvement in clinical anxiety scale 2) improvement in anxiety level specified by triallists, or global improvement 3) acceptability of treatment, adverse effects 4) dropout. Data were independently extracted by two reviewers using a pre-designed data collection form. Any disagreements were discussed with a third reviewer, and the authors of the studies were contacted for further information. Two randomised controlled studies were eligible for inclusion in the review. Both studies were of moderate quality and used active control comparisons (another type of meditation, relaxation, biofeedback). Anti-anxiety drugs were used as standard treatment. The duration of trials ranged from 3 months (12 weeks) to 18 weeks. In one study
Stjernholm, Ole; Ehrensvärd, Martin Gustaf
The book gives an introduction to how death has been used and can be used in meditation, and it proceeds to describe very advanced stages of meditation on death......The book gives an introduction to how death has been used and can be used in meditation, and it proceeds to describe very advanced stages of meditation on death...
Nair, Ajay Kumar; Sasidharan, Arun; John, John P; Mehrotra, Seema; Kutty, Bindu M
Meditation induces a modified state of consciousness that remains under voluntary control. Can meditators rapidly and reversibly bring about mental state changes on demand? To check, we carried out 128 channel EEG recordings on Brahma Kumaris Rajayoga meditators (36 long term: median 14240h meditation; 25 short term: 1095h) and controls (25) while they tried to switch every minute between rest and meditation states in different conditions (eyes open and closed; before and after an engaging task). Long term meditators robustly shifted states with enhanced theta power (4-8Hz) during meditation. Short term meditators had limited ability to shift between states and showed increased lower alpha power (8-10Hz) during eyes closed meditation only when pre and post task data were combined. Controls could not shift states. Thus trained beginners can reliably meditate but it takes long term practice to exercise more refined control over meditative states. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Chan, Ka Po
Meditation is important in facilitating health. Pregnancy health has been shown to have significant consequences for infant behaviors. In view of limited studies on meditation and infant temperament, this study aims to explore the effects of prenatal meditation on these aspects. The conceptual framework was based on the postulation of positive relationships between prenatal meditation and infant health. A randomized control quantitative study was carried out at Obstetric Unit, Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Hong Kong. 64 pregnant Chinese women were recruited for intervention and 59 were for control. Outcome measures were cord blood cortisol, infant salivary cortisol, and Carey Infant Temperament Questionnaire. Cord blood cortisol level of babies was higher in the intervention group (pmeditation can influence fetal health. Carey Infant Temperament Questionnaire showed that the infants of intervention group have better temperament (pmeditation in relation to child health. Present study concludes the positive effects of prenatal meditation on infant behaviors and recommends that pregnancy care providers should provide prenatal meditation to pregnant women. Copyright © 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Darrin J. Lee
Full Text Available Objective: Meditation is one type of mental training that has been shown to produce many cognitive benefits. Meditation practice is associated with improvement in concentration and reduction of stress, depression, and anxiety symptoms. Furthermore, different forms of meditation training are now being used as interventions for a variety of psychological and somatic illnesses. These benefits are thought to occur as a result of neurophysiologic changes. The most commonly studied specific meditation practices are focused attention (FA, open-monitoring (OM, as well as transcendental meditation (TM, and loving-kindness (LK meditation. In this review, we compare the neural oscillatory patterns during these forms of meditation.Method: We performed a systematic review of neural oscillations during FA, OM, TM, and LK meditation practices, comparing meditators to meditation-naïve adults.Results: FA, OM, TM, and LK meditation are associated with global increases in oscillatory activity in meditators compared to meditation-naïve adults, with larger changes occurring as the length of meditation training increases. While FA and OM are related to increases in anterior theta activity, only FA is associated with changes in posterior theta oscillations. Alpha activity increases in posterior brain regions during both FA and OM. In anterior regions, FA shows a bilateral increase in alpha power, while OM shows a decrease only in left-sided power. Gamma activity in these meditation practices is similar in frontal regions, but increases are variable in parietal and occipital regions.Conclusions: The current literature suggests distinct differences in neural oscillatory activity among FA, OM, TM, and LK meditation practices. Further characterizing these oscillatory changes may better elucidate the cognitive and therapeutic effects of specific meditation practices, and potentially lead to the development of novel neuromodulation targets to take advantage of their
Full Text Available This paper is a pioneering attempt to draw attention to the connection between meditation and creativity. The author compares the creative process to the process of meditation. Meditation, just like the creative process, results in a piece of creative work, which informs us about the possibility of using meditation as a creative technique with the aim of improving our creativity. The first part of the paper defines the basic concepts: creativity and meditation. The paper goes on to inform us about the place that meditation takes in contemporary psychology. The author explains that various kinds of meditation techniques can be divided into two groups: concentration meditations and mindfulness (or vipassana meditations. The paper gives special attention to higher states of consciousness or the so called flow that can be described as the optimal state of consciousness in which levels of cognitive functioning are at the maximum. There are also examples illustrating how the skills that help us get into the flow state are developed. The conclusion is that meditation directly increases one’s ability to assess the quality of the content one is dealing with, whether it is by observing, using or creating it. Although this area has not been the subject of scientific studies so far, based on some case studies (involving meditation masters, it can be confidently stated that there is a clear connection between meditation and creativity, meaning that people who meditate regularly are at the same time increasing their creative abilities and creative output.
Bærentsen, Klaus B.
The definition of meditation (or yoga) by Patanjali as “restriction (or stilling) of the fluctuations of the mind” may be an appropriate starting point for research on meditation using fMRI. An operational definition of the neural substrate of meditation which is adequate to Patanjalis definition...
The study was based on the non-participant involvement of the researcher in four six-to-eight weeks' mindfulness meditation training courses led by chartered psychologists. The participants suffered from stress/sleeplessness, depression or agoraphobia in the presented cases. They were selected...... and practicing mindfulness meditation. It is not the intention to give evidence about the effectiveness of mindfulness meditation in general, but to present the whats and hows of cases where mindfulness meditation appears to improve quality of life, health and well-being. Keywords: Mindfulness meditation...
as I emerged out of them, and regained connection with my body. ... I began this research with the assumption that meditation occurs when I apply a ... did this with an open frame of mind, recording .... cognitive processing than the textural one. It ..... My daily experience is more accurately ..... phenomenological psychology.
Raja Amarnath G
Full Text Available Objective: To analyse and compare the effect of a 30-minute Heartfulness meditation session on vital parameters of experienced and new meditators. Methodology: The study conducted on a mixed group of participants include both experienced and new meditators of various age groups, Body Mass Index (BMI; patients with known illness as well as healthy volunteers. Variations in heart rate, respiratory rate and systolic blood pressure is recorded before and after a 30-minute heartfulness meditation session and analysed statistically. Results: At baseline, average heart rate (HR and systolic blood pressure (SBP is significantly lower in experienced meditators compared to new meditators. Heartfulness meditation is highly significant in moderating HR, RR and SBP. Conclusion: A 30-minute session of Heartfulness meditation produces significant relaxation of the autonomic nervous system and favourably moderates basic vital parameters across all groups. This influence is higher in New meditators particularly the younger group probably because stress is more amplified due to greater responsibilities in life and meditation is an effective tool in reducing stress. The enthusiasm and open mindedness of youth to try new things is also contributing factor for getting better benefits from the heartfulness meditation session. In the case of experienced meditators, the elderly group showed greater changes, probably because they put in the time and effort to pursue the practice of meditation seriously, and thus able to derive a greater benefit.
Hurk, P.A.M. van den; Giommi, F.; Gielen, S.C.A.M.; Speckens, A.E.M.; Barendregt, H.P.
In this study, attentional processing in relation to mindfulness meditation was investigated. Since recent studies have suggested that mindfulness meditation may induce improvements in attentional processing, we have tested 20 expert mindfulness meditators in the attention network test. Their
The practical action research study in this diploma thesis, Meditation in the English Language Classroom, was performed as a mini-experiment which was initially set up to explore meditation and assess its potential and use in education. Regarding English as a foreign language, language learning combined visual and auditory information, and it was based on visual and verbal memory. One of the objectives in the theoretical part was to find a ‘universal formula’ which could help bring meditation...
This paper discusses meditation from the unique perspective of the nondual approach and explores the possible relevance of this approach to applications of love and compassion meditation in clinical settings. It contrasts the nondual approach with the better known gradual or goal-oriented, dualistic view of meditation. This paper also introduces one of the central ideas of the nondual approach-that love and compassion, like other positive qualities that are ordinarily considered as goals of meditation practice, can be found to be already present within oneself as innate dimensions of one's authentic being. © 2016 New York Academy of Sciences.
Fingelkurts, Andrew A; Fingelkurts, Alexander A; Kallio-Tamminen, Tarja
The therapeutic potential of meditation for physical and mental well-being is well documented, however the possibility of adverse effects warrants further discussion of the suitability of any particular meditation practice for every given participant. This concern highlights the need for a personalized approach in the meditation practice adjusted for a concrete individual. This can be done by using an objective screening procedure that detects the weak and strong cognitive skills in brain function, thus helping design a tailored meditation training protocol. Quantitative electroencephalogram (qEEG) is a suitable tool that allows identification of individual neurophysiological types. Using qEEG screening can aid developing a meditation training program that maximizes results and minimizes risk of potential negative effects. This brief theoretical-conceptual review provides a discussion of the problem and presents some illustrative results on the usage of qEEG screening for the guidance of mediation personalization. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Song, Renliang; Bian, Chunhua; Ma, Qianli D. Y.
We investigate the multifractality of heartbeat dynamics during Chinese CHI meditation in healthy young adults. The results show that the range of multifractal singularity spectrum of heartbeat interval time series during meditation is significantly narrower than those in the pre-meditation state of the same subject, which indicates that during meditation the heartbeat becomes regular and the degree of multifractality decreases.
Barnes, L J; McArthur, G M; Biedermann, B A; de Lissa, P; Polito, V; Badcock, N A
Recent studies link meditation expertise with enhanced low-level attention, measured through auditory event-related potentials (ERPs). In this study, we tested the reliability and validity of a recent finding that the N1 ERP in first-time meditators is smaller during meditation than non-meditation - an effect not present in long-term meditators. In the first experiment, we replicated the finding in first-time meditators. In two subsequent experiments, we discovered that this finding was not due to stimulus-related instructions, but was explained by an effect of the order of conditions. Extended exposure to the same tones has been linked with N1 decrement in other studies, and may explain N1 decrement across our two conditions. We give examples of existing meditation and ERP studies that may include similar condition order effects. The role of condition order among first-time meditators in this study indicates the importance of counterbalancing meditation and non-mediation conditions in meditation studies that use event-related potentials. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Fennell, Alexander B; Benau, Erik M; Atchley, Ruth Ann
The goal of the present study was to explore how anger reduction via a single session of meditation might be measured using psychophysiological methodologies. To achieve this, 15 novice meditators (Experiment 1) and 12 practiced meditators (Experiment 2) completed autobiographical anger inductions prior to, and following, meditation training while respiration rate, heart rate, and blood pressure were measured. Participants also reported subjective anger via a visual analog scale. At both stages, the experienced meditators' physiological reaction to the anger induction reflected that of relaxation: slowed breathing and heart rate and decreased blood pressure. Naïve meditators exhibited physiological reactions that were consistent with anger during the pre-meditation stage, while after meditation training and a second anger induction they elicited physiological evidence of relaxation. The current results examining meditation training show that the naïve group's physiological measures mimicked those of the experienced group following a single session of meditation training. Copyright © 2016. Published by Elsevier Inc.
Goshvarpour, Ateke; Goshvarpour, Atefeh
The human heartbeat is one of the important examples of complex physiologic fluctuations. For the first time in this study higher order spectra of heart rate signals during meditation have explored. Specifically, the aim of this study was to analysis and compares the contribution of quadratic phase coupling of human heart rate variability during two forms of meditation: (1) Chinese Chi (or Qigong) meditation and (2) Kundalini Yoga meditation. For this purpose, Bispectrum was estimated by using biased, parametric and the direct (FFT) method. The results show that the mean Bispectrum magnitude of heart rate signals increased during Kundalini Yoga meditation, but it decreased significantly during Chi meditation. However, in both meditation techniques phase-coupled harmonics are shifted to the higher frequencies during meditation. In addition, it has shown that not only there are significant differences between rest and meditation states, but also heart rate patterns appear to be influenced by different types of meditation.
This article explores transcendental experiences during meditation practice and the integration of transcendental experiences and the unfolding of higher states of consciousness with waking, dreaming, and sleeping. The subject/object relationship during transcendental experiences is characterized by the absence of time, space, and body sense--the framework that gives meaning to waking experiences. Physiologically, transcendental experiences during Transcendental Meditation practice are marked by slow inhalation, along with autonomic orientation at the onset of breath changes and heightened α1 (8-10 Hz) frontal coherence. The integration of transcendental experiences with waking, dreaming, and sleeping is also marked by distinct subjective and objective markers. This integrated state, called Cosmic Consciousness in the Vedic tradition, is subjectively marked by inner self-awareness coexisting with waking, sleeping, and dreaming. Physiologically, Cosmic Consciousness is marked by the coexistence of α1 electroencephalography (EEG) with delta EEG during deep sleep, and higher brain integration, greater emotional stability, and decreased anxiety during challenging tasks. Transcendental experiences may be the engine that fosters higher human development. © 2013 New York Academy of Sciences.
Nesvold, Anders; Fagerland, Morten W; Davanger, Svend; Ellingsen, Øyvind; Solberg, Erik E; Holen, Are; Sevre, Knut; Atar, Dan
Meditation practices are in use for relaxation and stress reduction. Some studies indicate beneficial cardiovascular health effects of meditation. The effects on the autonomous nervous system seem to vary among techniques. The purpose of the present study was to identify autonomic nerve activity changes during nondirective meditation. Heart rate variability (HRV), blood pressure variability (BPV), and baroreflex sensitivity (BRS) were monitored in 27 middle-aged healthy participants of both genders, first during 20 min regular rest with eyes closed, thereafter practising Acem meditation for 20 min. Haemodynamic and autonomic data were collected continuously (beat-to-beat) and non-invasively. HRV and BPV parameters were estimated by power spectral analyses, computed by an autoregressive model. Spontaneous activity of baroreceptors were determined by the sequence method. Primary outcomes were changes in HRV, BPV, and BRS between rest and meditation. HRV increased in the low-frequency (LF) and high-frequency (HF) bands during meditation, compared with rest (p = 0.014, 0.013, respectively). Power spectral density of the RR-intervals increased as well (p = 0.012). LF/HF ratio decreased non-significantly, and a reduction of LF-BPV power was observed during meditation (p < 0.001). There was no significant difference in BRS. Respiration and heart rates remained unchanged. Blood pressure increased slightly during meditation. There is an increased parasympathetic and reduced sympathetic nerve activity and increased overall HRV, while practising the technique. Hence, nondirective meditation by the middle aged may contribute towards a reduction of cardiovascular risk.
Full Text Available Recent brain imaging studies using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI have implicated insula and anterior cingulate cortices in the empathic response to another's pain. However, virtually nothing is known about the impact of the voluntary generation of compassion on this network. To investigate these questions we assessed brain activity using fMRI while novice and expert meditation practitioners generated a loving-kindness-compassion meditation state. To probe affective reactivity, we presented emotional and neutral sounds during the meditation and comparison periods. Our main hypothesis was that the concern for others cultivated during this form of meditation enhances affective processing, in particular in response to sounds of distress, and that this response to emotional sounds is modulated by the degree of meditation training. The presentation of the emotional sounds was associated with increased pupil diameter and activation of limbic regions (insula and cingulate cortices during meditation (versus rest. During meditation, activation in insula was greater during presentation of negative sounds than positive or neutral sounds in expert than it was in novice meditators. The strength of activation in insula was also associated with self-reported intensity of the meditation for both groups. These results support the role of the limbic circuitry in emotion sharing. The comparison between meditation vs. rest states between experts and novices also showed increased activation in amygdala, right temporo-parietal junction (TPJ, and right posterior superior temporal sulcus (pSTS in response to all sounds, suggesting, greater detection of the emotional sounds, and enhanced mentation in response to emotional human vocalizations for experts than novices during meditation. Together these data indicate that the mental expertise to cultivate positive emotion alters the activation of circuitries previously linked to empathy and theory of mind in
Full Text Available The article scientifically substantiates the insights on the theory and the practice of using microchromatic in modern musical art, defines compositional and expressive possibilities of microtonal system in the works of composers of XXI century. It justifies the author's interpretation of the concept of “ultrahromatizm”, as a principle of musical thinking, which is connected with the sound space conception as the space-time continuum. The paper identifies the correlation of the notions “microchromatism” and “ultrahromatizm”. If microchromosome is understood, first and for most, as the technique of dividing the sound into microparticles, ultrahromatizm is interpreted as the principle of musical and artistic consciousness, as the musical focus of consciousness on the formation of the specific model of sound meditation and understanding of the world.
This exhibition presents an assessment of the notable influences experienced in Japan on the work of Ashley Howard. Howard's theme of interpretation over replication explores the notion of influence and dialogue between the Far Eastern and his own cultural background; in this case, through citing his work in a western architectural setting.
Iqbal, Naved; Singh, Archana; Aleem, Sheema
Although traditional meditation has been found to be effective in improving physical and mental health of subjects, there was a paucity of research of the effect of active or dynamic meditation on these variables. Therefore, the present study was aimed at studying the effect of dynamic meditation on mental health of the subjects. Total sample of the present study comprised 60 subjects, 30 each in experimental and control group. Subjects in experimental group were given 21-day training in dynamic meditation. Mental health of the experimental and control group subjects was measured in pre- and post-condition with the help of Mental Health Inventory developed by Jagadish and Srivastava (Mental Health inventory, Manovaigyanik Parikshan Sansthan, Varanasi, 1983). Obtained data were analyzed with the help of ANCOVA. In post-condition, experimental group scored better than control group on integration of personality, autonomy and environmental mastery. Effect sizes of dynamic meditation on these dimensions of mental health were large. However, experimental group and control group did not differ significantly on positive self-evaluation, perception of reality and group-oriented attitude dimensions of mental health in post-condition. Overall, dynamic meditation training was effective in improving mental health of the subjects.
Thomas, John W.; Cohen, Marc
Despite over 50 years of research into the states of consciousness induced by various meditation practices, no clear neurophysiological signatures of these states have been found. Much of this failure can be attributed to the narrow range of variables examined in most meditation studies, with the focus being restricted to a search for correlations between neurophysiological measures and particular practices, without documenting the content and context of these practices. We contend that more meaningful results can be obtained by expanding the methodological paradigm to include multiple domains including: the cultural setting (“the place”), the life situation of the meditator (“the person”), details of the particular meditation practice (‘the practice’), and the state of consciousness of the meditator (“the phenomenology”). Inclusion of variables from all these domains will improve the ability to predict the psychophysiological variables (“the psychophysiology”) associated with specific meditation states and thus explore the mysteries of human consciousness. PMID:25071607
Venkatesh, S; Raju, T R; Shivani, Y; Tompkins, G; Meti, B L
Twelve senior Kundalini (Chakra) meditators were assessed during meditation session and non-meditation or control session using Phenomenology of Consciousness Inventory. The data has been analyzed using structural analysis to measure the altered state of consciousness and the identity state by comparing meditative state with non-meditative state. The structural analysis of pattern of consciousness during the meditative state revealed altered experience in perception (percentile rank PR = 90), meaning (PR = 82) and time sense (PR = 87), while positive affect dimension showed increased joy (PR = 73) and love (PR = 67). The imagery vividness (PR = 72), self-awareness (PR = 77), rationality (PR = 73) and arousal (PR = 69) were found to be structurally different from the ordinary state. With regards to identity state meditative experience was found to produce statistically significant changes in terms of intensity in meaning (P < 0.05), time sense (P < 0.05), joy (P < 0.05), love (P < 0.05) and state of awareness (P < 0.01). Our results indicate that long term practice of meditation appears to produce structural as well as intensity changes in phenomenological experiences of consciousness.
Goyal, Madhav; Haythornthwaite, Jennifer; Levine, David; Becker, Diane; Vaidya, Dhananjay; Hill-Briggs, Felicia; Ford, Daniel
The objective of this study was to assess patient interest in intensive meditation training for chronic symptoms. This was a cross-sectional anonymous survey among six chronic disease clinics in Baltimore including Chronic Kidney Disease, Crohn's Disease, Headache, Renal Transplant Recipients, General Rheumatology, and lupus clinic. Subjects were 1119 consecutive patients registering for their appointments at these clinics. Outcome measures were 6-month pain, global symptomatology, four-item perceived stress scale, use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies, and attitudes toward use of meditation for managing symptoms. We then gave a scripted description of an intensive, 10-day meditation training retreat. Patient interest in attending such a retreat was assessed. Seventy-seven percent (77%) of patients approached completed the survey. Fifty-three percent (53%) of patients reported moderate to severe pain over the past 6 months. Eighty percent (80%) reported use of some CAM therapy in the past. Thirty-five percent (35%) thought that learning meditation would improve their health, and 49% thought it would reduce stress. Overall, 39% reported interest in attending the intensive 10-day meditation retreat. Among those reporting moderate to severe pain or stress, the percentages were higher (48% and 59%). In a univariate analysis, higher education, nonworking/disabled status, female gender, higher stress, higher pain, higher symptomatology, and any CAM use were all associated with a greater odds of being moderately to very interested in an intensive 10-day meditation retreat. A multivariate model that included prior use of CAM therapies as predictors of interest in the program fit the data significantly better than a model not including CAM therapies (p = 0.0013). Over 50% of patients followed in chronic disease clinics complain of moderate to severe pain. Patients with persistent pain or stress are more likely to be interested in intensive meditation.
Abrams, Allan I.; Siegel, Larry M.
Effects of the Transcendental Meditation program in a maximum security prison were studied via cross-validation design. Meditation and control groups indicated reduction in anxiety, neuroticism, hostility, and insomnia as a function of the treatment. (Author)
Conclusions: Mindfulness meditation may reduce pain intensity and is a promising treatment option for patients. Clinicians may consider mindfulness meditation as a viable complementary and alternative medical option for primary headache.
Nielsen, Kirsten Busch
En meditation over Lukasevangeliet 19,1-10 (Zakæus) med temaet usynlighed som omdrejningspunkt. Udgivelsesdato: 2007......En meditation over Lukasevangeliet 19,1-10 (Zakæus) med temaet usynlighed som omdrejningspunkt. Udgivelsesdato: 2007...
Kim, Dae-Keun; Lee, Kyung-Mi; Kim, Jongwha; Whang, Min-Cheol; Kang, Seung Wan
This study is aimed to determine significant physiological parameters of brain and heart under meditative state, both in each activities and their dynamic correlations. Electrophysiological changes in response to meditation were explored in 12 healthy volunteers who completed 8 weeks of a basic training course in autogenic meditation. Heart coherence, representing the degree of ordering in oscillation of heart rhythm intervals, increased significantly during meditation. Relative EEG alpha pow...
Faber, Pascal L; Lehmann, Dietrich; Tei, Shisei; Tsujiuchi, Takuya; Kumano, Hiroaki; Pascual-Marqui, Roberto D; Kochi, Kieko
Experienced Qigong meditators who regularly perform the exercises "Thinking of Nothing" and "Qigong" were studied with multichannel EEG source imaging during their meditations. The intracerebral localization of brain electric activity during the two meditation conditions was compared using sLORETA functional EEG tomography. Differences between conditions were assessed using t statistics (corrected for multiple testing) on the normalized and log-transformed current density values of the sLORETA images. In the EEG alpha-2 frequency, 125 voxels differed significantly; all were more active during "Qigong" than "Thinking of Nothing," forming a single cluster in parietal Brodmann areas 5, 7, 31, and 40, all in the right hemisphere. In the EEG beta-1 frequency, 37 voxels differed significantly; all were more active during "Thinking of Nothing" than "Qigong," forming a single cluster in prefrontal Brodmann areas 6, 8, and 9, all in the left hemisphere. Compared to combined initial-final no-task resting, "Qigong" showed activation in posterior areas whereas "Thinking of Nothing" showed activation in anterior areas. The stronger activity of posterior (right) parietal areas during "Qigong" and anterior (left) prefrontal areas during "Thinking of Nothing" may reflect a predominance of self-reference, attention and input-centered processing in the "Qigong" meditation, and of control-centered processing in the "Thinking of Nothing" meditation.
This paper critiques a negative 1984 review, "Meditation and Somatic Arousal Reduction" (Holmes), on the absolute effectiveness of meditation in reducing somatic arousal and reviews research on the relative effectiveness of meditation compared to techniques such as biofeedback, hypnosis, progressive muscle relaxation, and autogenics in…
Sedlmeier, Peter; Eberth, Juliane; Schwarz, Marcus; Zimmermann, Doreen; Haarig, Frederik; Jaeger, Sonia; Kunze, Sonja
In this meta-analysis, we give a comprehensive overview of the effects of meditation on psychological variables that can be extracted from empirical studies, concentrating on the effects of meditation on nonclinical groups of adult meditators. Mostly because of methodological problems, almost 3/4 of an initially identified 595 studies had to be…
Lee, Tatia M. C.; Leung, Mei-Kei; Hou, Wai-Kai; Tang, Joey C. Y.; Yin, Jing; So, Kwok-Fai; Lee, Chack-Fan; Chan, Chetwyn C. H.
This study examined the dissociable neural effects of ānāpānasati (focused-attention meditation, FAM) and mettā (loving-kindness meditation, LKM) on BOLD signals during cognitive (continuous performance test, CPT) and affective (emotion-processing task, EPT, in which participants viewed affective pictures) processing. Twenty-two male Chinese expert meditators (11 FAM experts, 11 LKM experts) and 22 male Chinese novice meditators (11 FAM novices, 11 LKM novices) had their brain activity monitored by a 3T MRI scanner while performing the cognitive and affective tasks in both meditation and baseline states. We examined the interaction between state (meditation vs. baseline) and expertise (expert vs. novice) separately during LKM and FAM, using a conjunction approach to reveal common regions sensitive to the expert meditative state. Additionally, exclusive masking techniques revealed distinct interactions between state and group during LKM and FAM. Specifically, we demonstrated that the practice of FAM was associated with expertise-related behavioral improvements and neural activation differences in attention task performance. However, the effect of state LKM meditation did not carry over to attention task performance. On the other hand, both FAM and LKM practice appeared to affect the neural responses to affective pictures. For viewing sad faces, the regions activated for FAM practitioners were consistent with attention-related processing; whereas responses of LKM experts to sad pictures were more in line with differentiating emotional contagion from compassion/emotional regulation processes. Our findings provide the first report of distinct neural activity associated with forms of meditation during sustained attention and emotion processing. PMID:22905090
Salhofer, Ines; Will, Andrea; Monsef, Ina; Skoetz, Nicole
Malignant neoplasms of the lymphoid or myeloid cell lines including lymphoma, leukaemia and myeloma are referred to as haematological malignancies. Complementary and alternative treatment options such as meditation practice or yoga are becoming popular by treating all aspects of the disease including physical and psychological symptoms. However, there is still unclear evidence about meditation's effectiveness, and how its practice affects the lives of haematologically-diseased patients. This review aims to assess the benefits and harms of meditation practice as an additional treatment to standard care for adults with haematological malignancies. We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL, Issue 8, 2015), MEDLINE (1950 to August 2015), databases of ongoing trials, the metaRegister of Controlled Trials (mRCT) (http://www.controlled-trials.com/mrct/), conference proceedings of annual meetings of: the American Society of Hematology; American Society of Clinical Oncology; European Hematology Association; European Congress for Integrative Medicine; and Global Advances in Health and Medicine (2010 to 2015). We included randomised controlled trials (RCTs) using meditation practice for adult patients with haematological malignancies. Two review authors independently extracted data from eligible studies and assessed the risk of bias according to predefined criteria. We evaluated quality of life and depression. The other outcomes of overall survival, anxiety, fatigue, quality of sleep and adverse events could not be evaluated, because they were not assessed in the included trial. We included only one small trial published as an abstract article. The included study investigated the effects of meditation practice on patients newly hospitalised with acute leukaemia. Ninety-one participants enrolled in the study, but only 42 participants remained in the trial throughout the six-month follow-up period and were eligible for analysis. There was no
van Lutterveld, Remko; van Dellen, Edwin; Pal, Prasanta; Yang, Hua; Stam, Cornelis Jan; Brewer, Judson
This study aims to identify novel quantitative EEG measures associated with mindfulness meditation. As there is some evidence that meditation is associated with higher integration of brain networks, we focused on EEG measures of network integration. Sixteen novice meditators and sixteen experienced meditators participated in the study. Novice meditators performed a basic meditation practice that supported effortless awareness, which is an important quality of experience related to mindfulness practices, while their EEG was recorded. Experienced meditators performed a self-selected meditation practice that supported effortless awareness. Network integration was analyzed with maximum betweenness centrality and leaf fraction (which both correlate positively with network integration) as well as with diameter and average eccentricity (which both correlate negatively with network integration), based on a phase-lag index (PLI) and minimum spanning tree (MST) approach. Differences between groups were assessed using repeated-measures ANOVA for the theta (4-8 Hz), alpha (8-13 Hz) and lower beta (13-20 Hz) frequency bands. Maximum betweenness centrality was significantly higher in experienced meditators than in novices (P = 0.012) in the alpha band. In the same frequency band, leaf fraction showed a trend toward being significantly higher in experienced meditators than in novices (P = 0.056), while diameter and average eccentricity were significantly lower in experienced meditators than in novices (P = 0.016 and P = 0.028 respectively). No significant differences between groups were observed for the theta and beta frequency bands. These results show that alpha band functional network topology is better integrated in experienced meditators than in novice meditators during meditation. This novel finding provides the rationale to investigate the temporal relation between measures of functional connectivity network integration and meditation quality, for example using
Lavallee, Christina F; Koren, Stanley A; Persinger, Michael A
The study objective was to determine the quantitative electroencephalographic correlates of meditation, as well as the effects of hindering (15 Hz) and facilitative (7 Hz) binaural beats on the meditative process. The study was a mixed design, with experience of the subject as the primary between-subject measure and power of the six classic frequency bands (δ, θ, low α, high α, β, γ), neocortical lobe (frontal, temporal, parietal, occipital), hemisphere (left, right), and condition (meditation only, meditation with 7-Hz beats, meditation with 15-Hz beats) as the within-subject measures. The study was conducted at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada. The subjects comprised novice (mean of 8 months experience) and experienced (mean of 18 years experience) meditators recruited from local meditation groups. Experimental manipulation included application of hindering and facilitative binaural beats to the meditative process. Experienced meditators displayed increased left temporal lobe δ power when the facilitative binaural beats were applied, whereas the effect was not observed for the novice subjects in this condition. When the hindering binaural beats were introduced, the novice subjects consistently displayed more γ power than the experienced subjects over the course of their meditation, relative to baseline. Based on the results of this study, novice meditators were not able to maintain certain levels of θ power in the occipital regions when hindering binaural beats were presented, whereas when the facilitative binaural beats were presented, the experienced meditators displayed increased θ power in the left temporal lobe. These results suggest that the experienced meditators have developed techniques over the course of their meditation practice to counter hindering environmental stimuli, whereas the novice meditators have not yet developed those techniques.
Guaraci Ken Tanaka
Full Text Available Acute and long-term effects of mindfulness meditation on theta-band activity are not clear. The aim of this study was to investigate frontal theta differences between long- and short-term mindfulness practitioners before, during, and after mindfulness meditation. Twenty participants were recruited, of which 10 were experienced Buddhist meditators. Despite an acute increase in the theta activity during meditation in both the groups, the meditators showed lower trait frontal theta activity. Therefore, we suggested that this finding is a neural correlate of the expert practitioners’ ability to limit the processing of unnecessary information (e.g., discursive thought and increase the awareness of the essential content of the present experience. In conclusion, acute changes in the theta band throughout meditation did not appear to be a specific correlate of mindfulness but were rather related to the concentration properties of the meditation. Notwithstanding, lower frontal theta activity appeared to be a trait of mindfulness practices.
Full Text Available Meditation advances positivity but how these behavioral and psychological changes are brought can be explained by understanding neurophysiological effects of meditation. In this paper, a broad spectrum of neural mechanics under a variety of meditation styles has been reviewed. The overall aim of this study is to review existing scientific studies and future challenges on meditation effects based on changing EEG brainwave patterns. Albeit the existing researches evidenced the hold for efficacy of meditation in relieving anxiety and depression and producing psychological well-being, more rigorous studies are required with better design, considering client variables like personality characteristics to avoid negative effects, randomized controlled trials, and large sample sizes. A bigger number of clinical trials that concentrate on the use of meditation are required. Also, the controversial subject of epileptiform EEG changes and other adverse effects during meditation has been raised.
Kozhevnikov, Maria; Louchakova, Olga; Josipovic, Zoran; Motes, Michael A
This study examined the effects of meditation on mental imagery, evaluating Buddhist monks' reports concerning their extraordinary imagery skills. Practitioners of Buddhist meditation were divided into two groups according to their preferred meditation style: Deity Yoga (focused attention on an internal visual image) or Open Presence (evenly distributed attention, not directed to any particular object). Both groups of meditators completed computerized mental-imagery tasks before and after meditation. Their performance was compared with that of control groups, who either rested or performed other visuospatial tasks between testing sessions. The results indicate that all the groups performed at the same baseline level, but after meditation, Deity Yoga practitioners demonstrated a dramatic increase in performance on imagery tasks compared with the other groups. The results suggest that Deity meditation specifically trains one's capacity to access heightened visuospatial processing resources, rather than generally improving visuospatial imagery abilities.
Full Text Available Background. There are few studies devoted to assessing the impact of meditation-intensive retreats on the well-being, positive psychology and personality of experienced meditators. We aimed to assess whether a 1-month Vipassana retreat: a would increase mindfulness and well-being; b would increase prosocial personality traits; and c whether psychological changes would be mediated and/or moderated by non-attachment.Method. A controlled, non-randomized, pre-post-intervention trial was used. The intervention group was a convenience sample (n=19 of experienced meditators who participated in a 1-month Vipassana meditation retreat. The control group (n=19 comprised matched experienced meditators who did not take part in the retreat. During the retreat, the mean duration of daily practice was 8-9 hours, the diet was vegetarian and silence was compulsory. The Experiences Questionnaire (EQ, Non-Attachment Scale (NAS, Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS, Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS, Temperament Character Inventory Revised (TCI-R-67, Five Facets Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ, Self-Other Four Immeasurables (SOFI and the MINDSENS Composite Index were administered. ANCOVAs and linear regression models were used to assess pre-post changes and mediation/moderation effects.Results. Compared to controls, retreatants showed increases in non-attachment, observing, MINDSENS, positive-affect, balance-affect and cooperativeness; and decreases in describing, negative-others, reward-dependence and self-directedness. Non-attachment had a mediating role in decentring, acting aware, non-reactivity, negative-affect, balance-affect and self-directedness; and a moderating role in describing and positive others, with both mediating and moderating effects on satisfaction with life.Conclusions. A 1-month Vipassana meditation retreat seems to yield improvements in mindfulness, well-being and personality, even in experienced meditators. Non-attachment might
Full Text Available FMRI data described here was recorded during resting-state in Mindfulness Meditators (MM and control participants (see “Task-induced activity and resting-state fluctuations undergo similar alterations in visual and DMN areas of long-term meditators” Berkovich-Ohana et al. (2016  for details. MM participants were also scanned during meditation. Analyses focused on functional connectivity within and between the default mode network (DMN and visual network (Vis. Here we show data demonstrating that: 1 Functional connectivity within the DMN and the Visual networks were higher in the control group than in the meditators; 2 Data show an increase for the functional connectivity between the DMN and the Visual networks in the meditators compared to controls; 3 Data demonstrate that functional connectivity both within and between networks reduces during meditation, compared to the resting-state; and 4 A significant negative correlation was found between DMN functional connectivity and meditation expertise. The reader is referred to Berkovich-Ohana et al. (2016  for further interpretation and discussion.
Frewen, Paul; Hargraves, Heather; DePierro, Jonathan; D'Andrea, Wendy; Flodrowski, Les
Meditation Breath Attention Scores (MBAS) represent a self-report, state measure of focused attention (FA) during the practice of meditation. The MBAS assessment procedure involves sounding a bell at periodic intervals during meditation practice, at which times participants indicate if they were attending toward breathing (scored 1) or if instead they had become distracted (e.g., by mind wandering; scored 0); scores are then tallied to yield participants' MBAS for that meditation. The current study developed and evaluated a fully automated and Internet-based version of MBAS in 1,101 volunteers. Results suggested that: (a) MBAS are internally consistent across bell rings; (b) MBAS total scores exhibit a non-normal distribution identifying subgroups of participants with particularly poor or robust FA during meditation; (c) MBAS decrease linearly with the duration of meditation practices, indicating that participants tend to experience less FA later as opposed to earlier in the meditation; (d) in the case of eyes-open meditation, MBAS are higher when the amount of time between bells is shorter; (e) MBAS correlate with various self-reported subjective experiences occurring during meditation; and (f) MBAS are weakly associated with higher trait mindful "acting with awareness," lesser ADHD-related symptoms of inattentiveness, and estimated minutes of meditation practiced in the past month. In sum, results provide further support for the construct validity of MBAS and serve to further characterize the dynamics of individual differences in FA during meditation. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved).
Emerson, Nichole M.; Farris, Suzan R.; Ray, Jenna N.; Jung, Youngkyoo; McHaffie, John G.; Coghill, Robert C.
Mindfulness meditation reduces pain in experimental and clinical settings. However, it remains unknown whether mindfulness meditation engages pain-relieving mechanisms other than those associated with the placebo effect (e.g., conditioning, psychosocial context, beliefs). To determine whether the analgesic mechanisms of mindfulness meditation are different from placebo, we randomly assigned 75 healthy, human volunteers to 4 d of the following: (1) mindfulness meditation, (2) placebo conditioning, (3) sham mindfulness meditation, or (4) book-listening control intervention. We assessed intervention efficacy using psychophysical evaluation of experimental pain and functional neuroimaging. Importantly, all cognitive manipulations (i.e., mindfulness meditation, placebo conditioning, sham mindfulness meditation) significantly attenuated pain intensity and unpleasantness ratings when compared to rest and the control condition (p Mindfulness meditation reduced pain intensity (p = 0.032) and pain unpleasantness (p Mindfulness meditation also reduced pain intensity (p = 0.030) and pain unpleasantness (p = 0.043) ratings more than sham mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness-meditation-related pain relief was associated with greater activation in brain regions associated with the cognitive modulation of pain, including the orbitofrontal, subgenual anterior cingulate, and anterior insular cortex. In contrast, placebo analgesia was associated with activation of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and deactivation of sensory processing regions (secondary somatosensory cortex). Sham mindfulness meditation-induced analgesia was not correlated with significant neural activity, but rather by greater reductions in respiration rate. This study is the first to demonstrate that mindfulness-related pain relief is mechanistically distinct from placebo analgesia. The elucidation of this distinction confirms the existence of multiple, cognitively driven, supraspinal mechanisms for pain
De Benedittis, Giuseppe
Hypnosis has been an elusive concept for science for a long time. However, the explosive advances in neuroscience in the last few decades have provided a "bridge of understanding" between classical neurophysiological studies and psychophysiological studies. These studies have shed new light on the neural basis of the hypnotic experience. Furthermore, an ambitious new area of research is focusing on mapping the core processes of psychotherapy and the neurobiology/underlying them. Hypnosis research offers powerful techniques to isolate psychological processes in ways that allow their neural bases to be mapped. The Hypnotic Brain can serve as a way to tap neurocognitive questions and our cognitive assays can in turn shed new light on the neural bases of hypnosis. This cross-talk should enhance research and clinical applications. An increasing body of evidence provides insight in the neural mechanisms of the Meditative Brain. Discrete meditative styles are likely to target different neurodynamic patterns. Recent findings emphasize increased attentional resources activating the attentional and salience networks with coherent perception. Cognitive and emotional equanimity gives rise to an eudaimonic state, made of calm, resilience and stability, readiness to express compassion and empathy, a main goal of Buddhist practices. Structural changes in gray matter of key areas of the brain involved in learning processes suggest that these skills can be learned through practice. Hypnosis and Meditation represent two important, historical and influential landmarks of Western and Eastern civilization and culture respectively. Neuroscience has beginning to provide a better understanding of the mechanisms of both Hypnotic and Meditative Brain, outlining similarities but also differences between the two states and processes. It is important not to view either the Eastern or the Western system as superior to the other. Cross-fertilization of the ancient Eastern meditation techniques
Manna, Antonietta; Raffone, Antonino; Perrucci, Mauro Gianni; Nardo, Davide; Ferretti, Antonio; Tartaro, Armando; Londei, Alessandro; Del Gratta, Cosimo; Belardinelli, Marta Olivetti; Romani, Gian Luca
Meditation refers to a family of complex emotional and attentional regulatory practices, which can be classified into two main styles - focused attention (FA) and open monitoring (OM) - involving different attentional, cognitive monitoring and awareness processes. In a functional magnetic resonance study we originally characterized and contrasted FA and OM meditation forms within the same experiment, by an integrated FA-OM design. Theravada Buddhist monks, expert in both FA and OM meditation forms, and lay novices with 10 days of meditation practice, participated in the experiment. Our evidence suggests that expert meditators control cognitive engagement in conscious processing of sensory-related, thought and emotion contents, by massive self-regulation of fronto-parietal and insular areas in the left hemisphere, in a meditation state-dependent fashion. We also found that anterior cingulate and dorsolateral prefrontal cortices play antagonist roles in the executive control of the attention setting in meditation tasks. Our findings resolve the controversy between the hypothesis that meditative states are associated to transient hypofrontality or deactivation of executive brain areas, and evidence about the activation of executive brain areas in meditation. Finally, our study suggests that a functional reorganization of brain activity patterns for focused attention and cognitive monitoring takes place with mental practice, and that meditation-related neuroplasticity is crucially associated to a functional reorganization of activity patterns in prefrontal cortex and in the insula. Copyright 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Kurth, Florian; MacKenzie-Graham, Allan; Toga, Arthur W; Luders, Eileen
Previous studies have revealed an increased fractional anisotropy and greater thickness in the anterior parts of the corpus callosum in meditation practitioners compared with control subjects. Altered callosal features may be associated with an altered inter-hemispheric integration and the degree of brain asymmetry may also be shifted in meditation practitioners. Therefore, we investigated differences in gray matter asymmetry as well as correlations between gray matter asymmetry and years of meditation practice in 50 long-term meditators and 50 controls. We detected a decreased rightward asymmetry in the precuneus in meditators compared with controls. In addition, we observed that a stronger leftward asymmetry near the posterior intraparietal sulcus was positively associated with the number of meditation practice years. In a further exploratory analysis, we observed that a stronger rightward asymmetry in the pregenual cingulate cortex was negatively associated with the number of practice years. The group difference within the precuneus, as well as the positive correlations with meditation years in the pregenual cingulate cortex, suggests an adaptation of the default mode network in meditators. The positive correlation between meditation practice years and asymmetry near the posterior intraparietal sulcus may suggest that meditation is accompanied by changes in attention processing. © The Author (2014). Published by Oxford University Press. For Permissions, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Background This study investigates measures of mindfulness meditation (MM) as a mental practice, in which a resting but alert state of mind is maintained. A population of older people with high stress level participated in this study, while electroencephalographic (EEG) and respiration signals were recorded during a MM intervention. The physiological signals during meditation and control conditions were analyzed with signal processing. Methods EEG and respiration data were collected and analyzed on 34 novice meditators after a 6-week meditation intervention. Collected data were analyzed with spectral analysis, phase analysis and classification to evaluate an objective marker for meditation. Results Different frequency bands showed differences in meditation and control conditions. Furthermore, we established a classifier using EEG and respiration signals with a higher accuracy (85%) at discriminating between meditation and control conditions than a classifier using the EEG signal only (78%). Conclusion Support vector machine (SVM) classifier with EEG and respiration feature vector is a viable objective marker for meditation ability. This classifier should be able to quantify different levels of meditation depth and meditation experience in future studies. PMID:24939519
Kruis, Ayla; Slagter, Heleen A; Bachhuber, David R W; Davidson, Richard J; Lutz, Antoine
A rapidly growing body of research suggests that meditation can change brain and cognitive functioning. Yet little is known about the neurochemical mechanisms underlying meditation-related changes in cognition. Here, we investigated the effects of meditation on spontaneous eyeblink rates (sEBR), a noninvasive peripheral correlate of striatal dopamine activity. Previous studies have shown a relationship between sEBR and cognitive functions such as mind wandering, cognitive flexibility, and attention-functions that are also affected by meditation. We therefore expected that long-term meditation practice would alter eyeblink activity. To test this, we recorded baseline sEBR and intereyeblink intervals (IEBI) in long-term meditators (LTM) and meditation-naive participants (MNP). We found that LTM not only blinked less frequently, but also showed a different eyeblink pattern than MNP. This pattern had good to high degree of consistency over three time points. Moreover, we examined the effects of an 8-week course of mindfulness-based stress reduction on sEBR and IEBI, compared to an active control group and a waitlist control group. No effect of short-term meditation practice was found. Finally, we investigated whether different types of meditation differentially alter eyeblink activity by measuring sEBR and IEBI after a full day of two kinds of meditation practices in the LTM. No effect of meditation type was found. Taken together, these findings may suggest either that individual difference in dopaminergic neurotransmission is a self-selection factor for meditation practice, or that long-term, but not short-term meditation practice induces stable changes in baseline striatal dopaminergic functioning. © 2016 Society for Psychophysiological Research.
Colzato, Lorenza S; Sellaro, Roberta; Samara, Iliana; Baas, Matthijs; Hommel, Bernhard
Meditation is becoming an increasingly popular topic for scientific research and various effects of extensive meditation practice (ranging from weeks to several years) on cognitive processes have been demonstrated. Here we show that extensive practice may not be necessary to achieve those effects. Healthy adult non-meditators underwent a brief single session of either focused attention meditation (FAM), which is assumed to increase top-down control, or open monitoring meditation (OMM), which is assumed to weaken top-down control, before performing an Attentional Blink (AB) task - which assesses the efficiency of allocating attention over time. The size of the AB was considerably smaller after OMM than after FAM, which suggests that engaging in meditation immediately creates a cognitive-control state that has a specific impact on how people allocate their attention over time. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Peng, C K; Mietus, J E; Liu, Y; Khalsa, G; Douglas, P S; Benson, H; Goldberger, A L
We report extremely prominent heart rate oscillations associated with slow breathing during specific traditional forms of Chinese Chi and Kundalini Yoga meditation techniques in healthy young adults. We applied both spectral analysis and a novel analytic technique based on the Hilbert transform to quantify these heart rate dynamics. The amplitude of these oscillations during meditation was significantly greater than in the pre-meditation control state and also in three non-meditation control groups: i) elite athletes during sleep, ii) healthy young adults during metronomic breathing, and iii) healthy young adults during spontaneous nocturnal breathing. This finding, along with the marked variability of the beat-to-beat heart rate dynamics during such profound meditative states, challenges the notion of meditation as only an autonomically quiescent state.
Dae-Keun eKim; Dae-Keun eKim; Jyoo-Hi eRhee; Seung Wan eKang; Seung Wan eKang
The underlying changes in heart coherence that are associated with reported EEG changes in response to meditation have been explored. We measured EEG and heart rate variability (HRV) before and during autogenic meditation. Fourteen subjects participated in the study. Heart coherence scores were significantly increased during meditation compared to the baseline. We found near significant decrease in high beta absolute power, increase in alpha relative power and significant increases in lower(a...
Kim, Dae-Keun; Rhee, Jyoo-Hi; Kang, Seung Wan
The underlying changes in heart coherence that are associated with reported EEG changes in response to meditation have been explored. We measured EEG and heart rate variability (HRV) before and during autogenic meditation. Fourteen subjects participated in the study. Heart coherence scores were significantly increased during meditation compared to the baseline. We found near significant decrease in high beta absolute power, increase in alpha relative power and significant increases in lower (...
Jiang, Sen; Bian, Chunhua; Ning, Xinbao; Ma, Qianli D. Y.
We apply the visibility graph analysis to human heartbeat dynamics by constructing the complex networks of heartbeat interval time series and investigating the statistical properties of the network before and during chi and yoga meditation. The experiment results show that visibility graph analysis can reveal the dynamical changes caused by meditation training manifested as regular heartbeat, which is closely related to the adjustment of autonomous neural system, and visibility graph analysis is effective to evaluate the effect of meditation.
Zeidan, Fadel; Emerson, Nichole M; Farris, Suzan R; Ray, Jenna N; Jung, Youngkyoo; McHaffie, John G; Coghill, Robert C
Mindfulness meditation reduces pain in experimental and clinical settings. However, it remains unknown whether mindfulness meditation engages pain-relieving mechanisms other than those associated with the placebo effect (e.g., conditioning, psychosocial context, beliefs). To determine whether the analgesic mechanisms of mindfulness meditation are different from placebo, we randomly assigned 75 healthy, human volunteers to 4 d of the following: (1) mindfulness meditation, (2) placebo conditioning, (3) sham mindfulness meditation, or (4) book-listening control intervention. We assessed intervention efficacy using psychophysical evaluation of experimental pain and functional neuroimaging. Importantly, all cognitive manipulations (i.e., mindfulness meditation, placebo conditioning, sham mindfulness meditation) significantly attenuated pain intensity and unpleasantness ratings when compared to rest and the control condition (p pain intensity (p = 0.032) and pain unpleasantness (p pain intensity (p = 0.030) and pain unpleasantness (p = 0.043) ratings more than sham mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness-meditation-related pain relief was associated with greater activation in brain regions associated with the cognitive modulation of pain, including the orbitofrontal, subgenual anterior cingulate, and anterior insular cortex. In contrast, placebo analgesia was associated with activation of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and deactivation of sensory processing regions (secondary somatosensory cortex). Sham mindfulness meditation-induced analgesia was not correlated with significant neural activity, but rather by greater reductions in respiration rate. This study is the first to demonstrate that mindfulness-related pain relief is mechanistically distinct from placebo analgesia. The elucidation of this distinction confirms the existence of multiple, cognitively driven, supraspinal mechanisms for pain modulation. Recent findings have demonstrated that mindfulness meditation
Petitmengin, Claire; Beek, Martijn van; Bitbol, Michel
associated with contemplative practice: what it is like to meditate – from moment to moment, at different stages of practice – remains almost invisible in contemporary contemplative science. Recently, "micro-phenomenological" interview methods have been developed to help us become aware of lived experience......In our society where interest in Buddhist meditation is expanding enormously, numerous scientific studies are now conducted on the neurophysiological effects of meditation practices and on the neural correlates of meditative states. However, very few studies have been conducted on the experience...... and describe it with rigor and precision. The present article presents the results of a pilot project aiming at applying these methods to the description of meditative experience. The first part of the article describes these methods and their adjustment for the investigation of meditative experience...
Kim, Dae-Keun; Lee, Kyung-Mi; Kim, Jongwha; Whang, Min-Cheol; Kang, Seung Wan
This study is aimed to determine significant physiological parameters of brain and heart under meditative state, both in each activities and their dynamic correlations. Electrophysiological changes in response to meditation were explored in 12 healthy volunteers who completed 8 weeks of a basic training course in autogenic meditation. Heart coherence, representing the degree of ordering in oscillation of heart rhythm intervals, increased significantly during meditation. Relative EEG alpha power and alpha lagged coherence also increased. A significant slowing of parietal peak alpha frequency was observed. Parietal peak alpha power increased with increasing heart coherence during meditation, but no such relationship was observed during baseline. Average alpha lagged coherence also increased with increasing heart coherence during meditation, but weak opposite relationship was observed at baseline. Relative alpha power increased with increasing heart coherence during both meditation and baseline periods. Heart coherence can be a cardiac marker for the meditative state and also may be a general marker for the meditative state since heart coherence is strongly correlated with EEG alpha activities. It is expected that increasing heart coherence and the accompanying EEG alpha activations, heart brain synchronicity, would help recover physiological synchrony following a period of homeostatic depletion. PMID:23914165
Levenson, Robert W; Ekman, Paul; Ricard, Matthieu
The effects of two kinds of meditation (open presence and focused) on the facial and physiological aspects of the defensive response to an aversive startle stimulus were studied in a Buddhist monk with approximately 40 years of meditation experience. The participant was exposed to a 115-db, 100-ms acoustic startle stimulus under the 2 meditation conditions, a distraction condition (to control for cognitive and attentional load) and an unanticipated condition (startle presented without warning or instruction). A completely counterbalanced 24-trial, single-subject design was used, with each condition repeated 6 times. Most aspects of the participant's responses in the unanticipated condition did not differ from those of a comparison group of 12 age-matched male controls. Both kinds of meditation produced physiological and facial responses to the startle that were smaller than in the distraction condition. Within meditation conditions, open presence meditation produced smaller physiological and facial responses than focused meditation. These results from a single highly expert meditator indicate that these 2 kinds of meditation can differentially alter the magnitude of a primitive defensive response.
Full Text Available Meditation is an umbrella term that encompasses a family of practices. In state of meditation there is total relaxation of body & mind. Control of breathing & doing nothing are the basic steps. The practice of meditation creates a balanced, rhythmic & naturally flowing pulsation of life through every part of the body. It transfers the struggling- stressful & exhausted life into a peaceful one. That life is full of health, creativity, love & compassion. Such type of greatest adventure only ′human mind′ can undertake. For meditation, there is no need to escape from the life. It is a simple technique that does not require sophisticated or complicated amenities.
Levenson, Robert W.; Ekman, Paul; Ricard, Matthieu
The effects of two kinds of meditation (open presence and focused) on the facial and physiological aspects of the defensive response to an aversive startle stimulus were studied in a Buddhist monk with approximately 40 years of meditation experience. The participant was exposed to a 115 db, 100 ms acoustic startle stimulus under the two meditation conditions, a distraction condition (to control for cognitive and attentional load) and an unanticipated condition (startle presented without warning or instruction). A completely counterbalanced 24-trial single-subject design was used, with each condition repeated six times. Most aspects of the participant’s responses in the unanticipated condition did not differ from those of a comparison group of 12 age-matched male controls. Both kinds of meditation produced physiological and facial responses to the startle that were smaller than in the distraction condition. Within meditation conditions, open presence meditation produced smaller physiological and facial responses than focused meditation. These results from a single highly expert meditator indicate that these two kinds of meditation can differentially alter the magnitude of a primitive defensive response. PMID:22506498
Morone, Natalia E; Moore, Charity G; Greco, Carol M
To describe estimates of the number and characteristics of persons who had used mindfulness meditation in the U.S. Data from 108,131 adults from the 2012 National Health Interview Survey were weighted to produce national estimates representative of the U.S. Persons who used mindfulness meditation were identified by their response to the question "During the past 12 months, did you use mindfulness meditation?" An estimated 2,029,720 adults had used mindfulness meditation. Compared with those who did not meditate, more meditators endorsed moderate exercise (79.6% vs. 54.8%; p meditators had low-back and neck pain and headache (36.7% vs. 28.9 [p = 0.0002]; 26.4% vs. 14.7% [pmeditators reported being nervous or feeling sad at least a little of the time (60.4% vs. 37.8% and 34% vs. 23.5%, respectively; pmeditation was used by an estimated 2,029,720 adults in the United States in 2012. More meditators than nonmeditators reported more pain and reported feeling nervous or sad and being stressed, suggesting a reason for using mindfulness meditation.
Li, Jin; Hu, Jing; Zhang, Yinhong; Zhang, Xiaofeng
Detection of dynamical complexity changes in natural and man-made systems has deep scientific and practical meaning. We use the base-scale entropy method to analyze dynamical complexity changes for heart rate variability (HRV) series during specific traditional forms of Chinese Chi and Kundalini Yoga meditation techniques in healthy young adults. The results show that dynamical complexity decreases in meditation states for two forms of meditation. Meanwhile, we detected changes in probability distribution of m-words during meditation and explained this changes using probability distribution of sine function. The base-scale entropy method may be used on a wider range of physiologic signals.
Full Text Available This study is aimed to determine significant physiological parameters of brain and heart under meditative state, both in each activities and their dynamic correlations. Electrophysiological changes in response to meditation were explored in 12 healthy volunteers who completed 8 weeks of a basic training course in autogenic meditation. Heart coherence, representing the degree of ordering in oscillation of heart rhythm intervals, increased significantly during meditation. Relative EEG alpha power and alpha lagged coherence also increased. A significant slowing of parietal peak alpha frequency was observed. Parietal peak alpha power increased with increasing heart coherence during meditation, but no such relationship was observed during baseline. Average alpha lagged coherence also increased with increasing heart coherence during meditation, but, again, no significant relationship was observed at baseline. Relative alpha power increased with increasing heart coherence during both meditation and baseline periods. Heart coherence can be a cardiac marker for the meditative state and also may be a general marker for the meditative state since heart coherence is strongly correlated with EEG alpha activities. It is expected that increasing heart coherence and the accompanying EEG alpha activations, heart brain synchronicity, would help recover physiological synchrony following a period of homeostatic depletion.
Kim, Dae-Keun; Lee, Kyung-Mi; Kim, Jongwha; Whang, Min-Cheol; Kang, Seung Wan
This study is aimed to determine significant physiological parameters of brain and heart under meditative state, both in each activities and their dynamic correlations. Electrophysiological changes in response to meditation were explored in 12 healthy volunteers who completed 8 weeks of a basic training course in autogenic meditation. Heart coherence, representing the degree of ordering in oscillation of heart rhythm intervals, increased significantly during meditation. Relative EEG alpha power and alpha lagged coherence also increased. A significant slowing of parietal peak alpha frequency was observed. Parietal peak alpha power increased with increasing heart coherence during meditation, but no such relationship was observed during baseline. Average alpha lagged coherence also increased with increasing heart coherence during meditation, but weak opposite relationship was observed at baseline. Relative alpha power increased with increasing heart coherence during both meditation and baseline periods. Heart coherence can be a cardiac marker for the meditative state and also may be a general marker for the meditative state since heart coherence is strongly correlated with EEG alpha activities. It is expected that increasing heart coherence and the accompanying EEG alpha activations, heart brain synchronicity, would help recover physiological synchrony following a period of homeostatic depletion.
la Cour, Peter; Petersen, Marian
OBJECTIVE: This randomized controlled clinical trial investigated the effects of mindfulness meditation on chronic pain. DESIGN: A total of 109 patients with nonspecific chronic pain were randomized to either a standardized mindfulness meditation program (mindfulness-based stress reduction [MBSR...... randomized patients completed the mindfulness program, while 47 remained in the control group. Data were compared at three time points: at baseline, after completion of the course/waiting period, and at the 6-month follow-up. RESULTS: Significant effect (Cohen's d = 0.39) was found on the primary outcome...... (nonsignificant) effect sizes were found for pain measures. There were no significant differences in the measures just after the intervention vs the 6-month follow-up. CONCLUSION: A standardized mindfulness program (MBSR) contributes positively to pain management and can exert clinically relevant effects...
mounted in bringing meditation to the West. It has after all, received the blessings of prominent figures as diverse as the Beatles , Ram Das. Hans Selye...Samuel R. Connally DAJA45-84-M-0439 . 9. PERFORMING ORGANIZATION NAME AND ADDRESS SO. PROGRAM ELEMENT, PROJECT, TASK AREA & WORK UNIT NUMBERS The ...different from Controlling Office) IS. SECURITY CLASS. (of this report) US Army Research Institute for the Behavioral Unclassified and Social Sciences
It has been proposed that cultivating calm will increase altruism and decrease parochialism, where altruism is defined as self-sacrifice in support of others, regardless of group affiliation or identity, and parochialism is defined as prosocial self-sacrifice restricted to fellow members of a group. Such could be the case with a calming meditation practice. An alternate hypothesis, coming from the study of ritual, proposes that shared practices lead to bonding, increasing parochialism, but no...
Lumma, Anna-Lena; Kok, Bethany E; Singer, Tania
Meditation is often associated with a relaxed state of the body. However, meditation can also be regarded as a type of mental task and training, associated with mental effort and physiological arousal. The cardiovascular effects of meditation may vary depending on the type of meditation, degree of mental effort, and amount of training. In the current study we assessed heart rate (HR), high-frequency heart rate variability (HF-HRV) and subjective ratings of effort and likeability during three types of meditation varying in their cognitive and attentional requirements, namely breathing meditation, loving-kindness meditation and observing-thoughts meditation. In the context of the ReSource project, a one-year longitudinal mental training study, participants practiced each meditation exercise on a daily basis for 3 months. As expected HR and effort were higher during loving-kindness meditation and observing-thoughts meditation compared to breathing meditation. With training over time HR and likeability increased, while HF-HRV and the subjective experience of effort decreased. The increase in HR and decrease in HF-HRV over training was higher for loving-kindness meditation and observing-thoughts meditation compared to breathing meditation. In contrast to implicit beliefs that meditation is always relaxing and associated with low arousal, the current results show that core meditations aiming at improving compassion and meta-cognitive skills require effort and are associated with physiological arousal compared to breathing meditation. Overall these findings can be useful in making more specific suggestions about which type of meditation is most adaptive for a given context and population. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Strick, M.A.; Noorden, T.H.J. van; Ritskes, R.R.; Ruiter, J.R. de; Dijksterhuis, A.J.
In two experiments and two different research paradigms, we tested the hypothesis that Zen meditation increases access to accessible but unconscious information. Zen practitioners who meditated in the lab performed better on the Remote Associate Test (RAT; Mednick, 1962) than Zen practitioners who
Müller, B.C.N.; Gerasimova, A.; Ritter, S.M.
Given the great importance of creativity in society, it is worth investigating how creative thinking can be enhanced. The link between meditation and enhanced creativity has been proposed by a number of authors; however, the reason why meditation leads to an increase in creativity is not clear. The
Wong, Martin R.; And Others
Studied a non-self-selected sample of chemically dependent people instructed in meditation techniques. Differences established upon training termination were no longer evident in the instructed group after six months. Subjects who reported continuing at least minimal meditative practices, however, showed differences in social adjustment, work…
Banks, Jonathan B; Welhaf, Matthew S; Srour, Alexandra
Mindfulness meditation has gained a great deal of attention in recent years due to the variety of physical and psychological benefits, including improved working memory, decreased mind wandering and reduced impact of stress on working memory. The current study examined a 1-week at home mindfulness meditation intervention compared to an active control intervention. Results suggest that mindfulness meditation does not increase working memory or decrease mind wandering but does prevent stress related working memory impairments. Mindfulness meditation appears to alter the factors that impair working memory such that the negative impact of mind wandering on working memory was only evident at higher levels of negative affect. The use of cognitive mechanism words in narratives of stressful events did not differ by condition but predicted poorer working memory in the control condition. The results support the use of an at home mindfulness meditation intervention for reducing stress-related impairments. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Schoormans, Dounya; Nyklíček, Ivan
This study examined whether practitioners of two meditation types differ on self-reported mindfulness skills and psychologic well-being. This was a cross-sectional study comparing two convenience meditation groups drawn from local meditation centers, one group practicing mindfulness meditation (MM),
Zeidan, F.; Martucci, K.T.; Kraft, R.A.; Gordon, N.S.; McHaffie, J.G.; Coghill, R.C.
The subjective experience of one’s environment is constructed by interactions among sensory, cognitive, and affective processes. For centuries, meditation has been thought to influence such processes by enabling a non-evaluative representation of sensory events. To better understand how meditation influences the sensory experience, we employed arterial spin labeling (ASL) functional magnetic resonance imaging to assess the neural mechanisms by which mindfulness meditation influences pain in healthy human participants. After four-days of mindfulness meditation training, meditating in the presence of noxious stimulation significantly reduced pain-unpleasantness by 57% and pain-intensity ratings by 40% when compared to rest. A two factor repeated measures analysis of variance was used to identify interactions between meditation and pain-related brain activation. Meditation reduced pain-related activation of the contra lateral primary somatosensory cortex. Multiple regression analysis was used to identify brain regions associated with individual differences in the magnitude of meditation-related pain reductions. Meditation-induced reductions in pain intensity ratings were associated with increased activity in the anterior cingulate cortex and anterior insula, areas involved in the cognitive regulation of nociceptive processing. Reductions in pain unpleasantness ratings were associated with orbitofrontal cortex activation, an area implicated in reframing the contextual evaluation of sensory events. Moreover, reductions in pain unpleasantness also were associated with thalamic deactivation, which may reflect a limbic gating mechanism involved in modifying interactions between afferent in put and executive-order brain areas. Taken together, these data indicate that meditation engages multiple brain mechanisms that alter the construction of the subjectively available pain experience from afferent information. PMID:21471390
The aim of this study was to investigate the Effects of Muslim Praying Meditation (MPM) and Transcendental Meditation (TM) Program on Mindfulness among the University of Nizwa students. The sample of the study consisted of (354) students. The questionnaires of MPM (Al-Kushooa) and Kentucky Inventory of Mindfulness Skills (KIMS) were applied before…
Chan, Roxane Raffin; Larson, Janet L
The rapidly growing body of research regarding the use of meditation interventions in chronic disease presents an opportunity to compare outcomes based on intervention content. For this review, meditation interventions were described as those interventions delivered to persons with chronic disease where sitting meditation was the main or only content of the intervention with or without the addition of mindful movement. This systematic review identified 45 individual research studies that examined meditations effect on levels of anxiety, depression, and chronic disease symptoms in persons with chronic disease. Individual studies were assessed based on interventional content, the consistency with which interventions were applied, and the research quality. This study identified seven categories of meditation interventions based on the meditation skills and mindful movement practices that were included in the intervention. Overall, half of the interventions had clearly defined and specific meditation interventions (25/45) and half of the studies were conducted using randomized control trials (24/45). © The Author(s) 2015.
Full Text Available Background: Poincare plots are commonly used to study the nonlinear behavior of physiologic signals. The aim of this study is to evaluate the Poincare plot indices of human heart rate signals during meditation. Methods: For this purpose, heart rate time series of eight Chi meditators available in Physionet database were used. Poincare plots with lags of 1 and 6 were constructed, and the ratio of the minor axis to major axis (SD1/SD2 and the area of Poincare plots were calculated for each lag. Results: The results show that the SD1/SD2 ratio increased significantly during meditation compared to that before meditation, especially the index measured from Poincare plots reconstructed with a lag of 6 (p < 0.05. In addition, in both lags, the area of Poincare plots decreased significantly during meditation compared to before meditation (p < 0.05. Conclusion: The comparative dynamic measures of the Poincare plot indices during and before meditation give more insight of the heart rate signals in a specific psychophysiological state.
Full Text Available This review focuses on Meditative Movement (MM and its effects on anxiety, depression and other affective states. MM is a term identifying forms of exercise that use movement in conjunction with meditative attention to body sensations, including proprioception, interoception and kinesthesis. MM includes the traditional Chinese methods of Qigong (Chi Kung and Taijiquan (Tai Chi, some forms of Yoga and other Asian practices, as well as Western Somatic practices; however this review focuses primarily on Qigong and Taijiquan. We clarify the differences between MM and conventional exercise, present descriptions of several of the key methodologies of MM, and suggest how research into these practices may be approached in a systematic way. We also present evidence for possible mechanisms of the effects of MM on affective states, including the roles of posture, rhythm, coherent breathing, and the involvement of specific cortical and subcortical structures. We survey research outcomes summarized in reviews published since 2007. Results suggest that MM may be at least as effective as conventional exercise or other interventions in ameliorating anxiety and depression; however, study quality is generally poor and there are many confounding factors. This makes it difficult to draw definitive conclusions at this time. We suggest, however, that more research is warranted, and we offer specific suggestions for ensuring high-quality and productive future studies.
James Matthew Wilson
Full Text Available Elizabeth Bishop’s poetry has won the admiration of a number of Christian poets and scholars. This essay argues that one reason for this is Bishop’s subtle engagement with the work of the poet-divines Gerard Manley Hopkins and, especially, George Herbert; through their influence, she enters into the guiding western poetic tradition of the meditative lyric, which is rooted in the Platonic and Christian accounts of the human person as an image of the Triune God in virtue of the mind as a trinity of memory, understanding, and will. Bishop practiced poetry as a moral act open to a divinity it cannot account for or even name, but traces of whose significance run through the world her poems depict. By considering her work, and her poem “The Weed” in particular, in the context of Herbert, the historical studies of Louis L. Martz, and the literary theory of Yvor Winters, we see that Bishop the unbeliever cannot properly be understood as a “secular” poet, but as one who recognizes the meditative lyric as a way of arriving at understanding of a truth that transcends us.
Jao, Tun; Li, Chia-Wei; Vértes, Petra E; Wu, Changwei Wesley; Achard, Sophie; Hsieh, Chao-Hsien; Liou, Chien-Hui; Chen, Jyh-Horng; Bullmore, Edward T
Meditation induces a distinct and reversible mental state that provides insights into brain correlates of consciousness. We explored brain network changes related to meditation by graph theoretical analysis of resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging data. Eighteen Taoist meditators with varying levels of expertise were scanned using a within-subjects counterbalanced design during resting and meditation states. State-related differences in network topology were measured globally and at the level of individual nodes and edges. Although measures of global network topology, such as small-worldness, were unchanged, meditation was characterized by an extensive and expertise-dependent reorganization of the hubs (highly connected nodes) and edges (functional connections). Areas of sensory cortex, especially the bilateral primary visual and auditory cortices, and the bilateral temporopolar areas, which had the highest degree (or connectivity) during the resting state, showed the biggest decrease during meditation. Conversely, bilateral thalamus and components of the default mode network, mainly the bilateral precuneus and posterior cingulate cortex, had low degree in the resting state but increased degree during meditation. Additionally, these changes in nodal degree were accompanied by reorganization of anatomical orientation of the edges. During meditation, long-distance longitudinal (antero-posterior) edges increased proportionally, whereas orthogonal long-distance transverse (right-left) edges connecting bilaterally homologous cortices decreased. Our findings suggest that transient changes in consciousness associated with meditation introduce convergent changes in the topological and spatial properties of brain functional networks, and the anatomical pattern of integration might be as important as the global level of integration when considering the network basis for human consciousness.
Atchley, R; Klee, D; Memmott, T; Goodrich, E; Wahbeh, H; Oken, B
This cross-sectional study evaluated event-related potentials (ERPs) across three groups: naïve, novice, and experienced meditators as potential physiological markers of mindfulness meditation competence. Electroencephalographic (EEG) data were collected during a target tone detection task and a Breath Counting task. The Breath Counting task served as the mindfulness meditation condition for the novice and experienced meditator groups. Participants were instructed to respond to target tones with a button press in the first task (Tones), and then ignore the primed tones while Breath Counting. The primary outcomes were ERP responses to target tones, namely the N2 and P3, as markers of stimulus discrimination and attention, respectively. As expected, P3 amplitudes elicited by target tones were attenuated within groups during the Breath Counting task in comparison to the Tones task (pmeditator groups displayed greater change in peak-to-trough P3 amplitudes, with higher amplitudes during the Tones condition and more pronounced reductions in P3 amplitudes during the Breath Counting meditation task in comparison to the naïve group. Meditators had stronger P3 amplitude responses to target tones when instructed to attend to the tones, and a greater attenuation of P3 amplitudes when instructed to ignore the same tones during the Breath Counting task. This study introduces the idea of identifying ERP markers as a means of measuring mindfulness meditation competence, and results suggest this may be a valid approach. This information has the potential to improve mindfulness meditation interventions by allowing objective assessment of mindfulness meditation quality. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Garrison, Kathleen A; Scheinost, Dustin; Constable, R Todd; Brewer, Judson A
Loving kindness is a form of meditation involving directed well-wishing, typically supported by the silent repetition of phrases such as “may all beings be happy,” to foster a feeling of selfless love. Here we used functional magnetic resonance imaging to assess the neural substrate of loving kindness meditation in experienced meditators and novices. We first assessed group differences in blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) signal during loving kindness meditation. We next used a relatively novel approach, the intrinsic connectivity distribution of functional connectivity, to identify regions that differ in intrinsic connectivity between groups, and then used a data-driven approach to seed-based connectivity analysis to identify which connections differ between groups. Our findings suggest group differences in brain regions involved in self-related processing and mind wandering, emotional processing, inner speech, and memory. Meditators showed overall reduced BOLD signal and intrinsic connectivity during loving kindness as compared to novices, more specifically in the posterior cingulate cortex/precuneus (PCC/PCu), a finding that is consistent with our prior work and other recent neuroimaging studies of meditation. Furthermore, meditators showed greater functional connectivity during loving kindness between the PCC/PCu and the left inferior frontal gyrus, whereas novices showed greater functional connectivity during loving kindness between the PCC/PCu and other cortical midline regions of the default mode network, the bilateral posterior insula lobe, and the bilateral parahippocampus/hippocampus. These novel findings suggest that loving kindness meditation involves a present-centered, selfless focus for meditators as compared to novices. PMID:24944863
Jain, Felipe A; Nazarian, Nora; Lavretsky, Helen
Family dementia caregivers are at high risk of depression and burnout. We assessed the feasibility of Central Meditation and Imagery Therapy for Caregivers (CMIT-C), a novel 8-week group meditation and guided imagery group therapy program, for dementia caregivers reporting stress because of caregiving responsibilities. Twelve family dementia caregivers enrolled in CMIT-C. Primary outcomes included depression and anxiety, and secondary outcomes included insomnia, quality of life, and mindfulness. Changes over the study and 3 month follow-up were analyzed with non-parametric related samples tests. Correlations of feeling state changes from meditation diaries at 1 week were made with symptom changes post meditation training. Ten participants completed the study. Completers came to an average of 7 ± 1 sessions out of a possible 8 sessions, and turned in home practice logs of 90 ± 10% of the time. Anxiety, depression, and insomnia symptoms decreased, and mindfulness ratings improved with large effects (all p meditation practice was associated with subsequent home meditation practice, anxiety change at 8 weeks, and endpoint satisfaction with CMIT-C. Central Meditation and Imagery Therapy for Caregivers is a feasible intervention for dementia caregivers. Results suggest that this therapeutic technique can reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression, and insomnia, and increase levels of mindfulness. Early response to meditation practice predicted those with the greatest short-term benefits, and this may inform future studies of meditation. Larger controlled efficacy studies of CMIT-C for dementia caregivers are warranted. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Zeng, Xianglong; Chio, Floria H N; Oei, Tian P S; Leung, Freedom Y K; Liu, Xiangping
Interventions using the "Four Immeasurables Meditations" (FIM) are effective for various outcomes; however, whether increased meditation practice in these interventions leads to better results has not been well investigated. This systematic review included 22 FIM interventions that reported associations between the amount of meditation practice and its outcomes. Despite the heterogeneity in intervention components and outcome variables, there were generally few significant associations between amount of meditation practice and its outcomes. Specifically, only five studies reported that more than half of the calculated results were significant. In comparison with correlations between total amount of practice and overall outcomes, the short-term influence of meditation practice was evaluated in fewer studies; however, it had a better association with outcomes. More studies are required that address the underlying mechanisms that elucidate how meditation practice leads to outcome changes in daily life. In this study, two promising mechanisms with initial evidence were discussed. This review also summarized common methodological issues including a lack of experimental manipulation and inaccurate measuring of meditation practice.
Annells, S.; Kho, K.; Bridge, P.
Introduction: Depression is a debilitating psychiatric disorder that affects a large proportion of the population. The current treatment for depression involves anti-depressant medication which is associated with side effects and a heightened risk of relapse. Methods: A systematic literature review was performed to determine the value of medical imaging studies in measuring the impact of meditation on depression. Results: Medical imaging studies have successfully demonstrated that meditation may counteract or prevent the physiological cause of depression by decreasing amygdala activity and increasing grey matter volume and activity of the hippocampus, prefrontal cortex and other brain regions associated with attention and emotional self-regulation. Recent advances in functional imaging have enabled visualisation of neural plasticity within the brain. This has shown that for meditators, practice-induced alterations could be due to micro-anatomical processes that may represent an increased functional capacity within the brain regions activated. These changes within brain physiology in association with the skills gained during meditation such as self-regulation, mental processing of negative information and relaxation techniques could potentially lead to a permanent cure for depression and thus prevent relapse. Conclusions: The results of this review suggest that medical imaging has a valuable role to play in evidencing the physiological changes within the brain caused by meditation that counteract those that cause depression. These studies indicate that meditation is a viable alternative to medication for clinical treatment of patients with depression. More rigorous longitudinal imaging studies are proposed to enhance understanding of the neural pathways and mechanisms of meditation. - Highlights: • Medical imaging demonstrates physiological changes that counteract those that cause depression. • Meditation is an alternative to medication for clinical treatment of
While there is a growing body of research to expand our theoretical and conceptual understanding of the multi-faceted construct mindfulness, the majority of studies have thus far focused on the efficacy of short-term mindfulness-based interventions to mitigate symptoms associated with myriad physiological and psychological conditions. Research investigating the relational effects of mindfulness within families is limited. This qualitative study examined eight long-term meditators' perceptions...
Sperduti, Marco; Makowski, Dominique; Blondé, Philippe; Piolino, Pascale
Life expectancy is constantly increasing in the developed countries due to medical, hygiene and socio-economic advances. Unfortunately, a longer life not always corresponds to a healthier life. Indeed, aging is associated with growing risk factors for illness associated with societal conditions (isolation, maltreatment), and neurodegenerative diseases. Even normal aging is associated with a cognitive decline that can hinder independence and quality of life of elderly. Thus, one major societal challenge is to build policies that support people of all ages to maintain a maximum health and functional capacity throughout their lives. Meditation could be a promising intervention in contrasting the negative effects of aging. Indeed, it has been shown to enhance cognitive efficiency in several domains, such as attention and executive functions in young adults. Nevertheless, whether these effects extend to old participants is still a matter of debate. Few studies have directly investigated this issue, reporting encouraging results in a large panel of cognitive functions, such as: attention, executive functions and memory. However, a final conclusion about the causal role of meditation and the generalization of these results is made difficult due to several methodological limitations. We propose a roadmap for future studies to pass these limitations with the hope that the present work would contribute to the development of the young research field of meditation in gerontology.
Sampaio, Cynthia Vieira Sanches; Lima, Manuela Garcia; Ladeia, Ana Marice
A growing number of people are seeking health recovery treatments with a holistic approach to the human being. Meditation is a mental training capable of producing connection between the mind, body and spirit. Its practice helps people to achieve balance, relaxation and self-control, in addition to the development of consciousness. At present, meditation is classified as a complementary and integrative technique in the area of health. The purpose of this review of the literature was to describe what meditation is, its practices and effects on health, demonstrated by consistent scientific investigations. Recently, the advances in researches with meditation, the discovery of its potential as an instrument of self-regulation of the human body and its benefits to health have shown that it is a consistent alternative therapy when associated with conventional medical treatments.
van Vugt, Marieke K.; van den Hurk, Paul M.
Training in meditation has been shown to affect functioning of several attentional subsystems, most prominently conflict monitoring, and to some extent orienting. These previous findings described the effects of cueing and manipulating stimulus congruency on response times and accuracies. However,
... Legislation Advisory Council Job Opportunities All About NCCIH Health Topics A-Z ... to a recent study, exercising or practicing meditation may be effective in reducing acute respiratory infections. Acute respiratory infections, ...
Natalie T. Y. Leung
Full Text Available Affective dysregulation is at the root of many psychopathologies, including stress induced disorders, anxiety disorders, and depression. The root of these disorders appears to be an attenuated, top-down cognitive control from the prefrontal cortices over the maladaptive subcortical emotional processing. A form of mental training, long-term meditation practice can trigger meditation-specific neuroplastic changes in the brain regions underlying cognitive control and affective regulation, suggesting that meditation can act as a kind of mental exercise to foster affective regulation and possibly a cost-effective intervention in mood disorders. Increasing research has suggested that the cultivation of awareness and acceptance along with a nonjudgmental attitude via meditation promotes adaptive affective regulation. This review examined the concepts of affective regulation and meditation and discussed behavioral and neural evidence of the potential clinical application of meditation. Lately, there has been a growing trend toward incorporating the “mindfulness” component into existing psychotherapeutic treatment. Promising results have been observed thus far. Future studies may consider exploring the possibility of integrating the element of “compassion” into current psychotherapeutic approaches.
Kim, Dae-Keun; Rhee, Jyoo-Hi; Kang, Seung Wan
The underlying changes in heart coherence that are associated with reported EEG changes in response to meditation have been explored. We measured EEG and heart rate variability (HRV) before and during autogenic meditation. Fourteen subjects participated in the study. Heart coherence scores were significantly increased during meditation compared to the baseline. We found near significant decrease in high beta absolute power, increase in alpha relative power and significant increases in lower (alpha) and higher (above beta) band coherence during 3~min epochs of heart coherent meditation compared to 3~min epochs of heart non-coherence at baseline. The coherence and relative power increase in alpha band and absolute power decrease in high beta band could reflect relaxation state during the heart coherent meditation. The coherence increase in the higher (above beta) band could reflect cortico-cortical local integration and thereby affect cognitive reorganization, simultaneously with relaxation. Further research is still needed for a confirmation of heart coherence as a simple window for the meditative state.
Full Text Available The underlying changes in heart coherence that are associated with reported EEG changes in response to meditation have been explored. We measured EEG and heart rate variability (HRV before and during autogenic meditation. Fourteen subjects participated in the study. Heart coherence scores were significantly increased during meditation compared to the baseline. We found near significant decrease in high beta absolute power, increase in alpha relative power and significant increases in lower(alpha and higher(above beta band coherence during 3 minute epochs of heart coherent meditation compared to 3 minute epochs of heart noncoherence at baseline. The coherence and relative power increase in alpha band and absolute power decrease in high beta band could reflect relaxation state during the heart coherent meditation. The coherence increase in the higher(above beta band could reflect cortico-cortical local integration and thereby affect cognitive reorganization, simultaneously with relaxation. Further research is still needed for a confirmation of heart coherence as a simple window for the meditative state.
Adam B. Levin
Full Text Available Background. Multiple sclerosis (MS disease course is known to be adversely affected by several factors including stress. A proposed mechanism for decreasing stress and therefore decreasing MS morbidity and improving quality of life is meditation. This review aims to critically analyse the current literature regarding meditation and MS. Methods. Four major databases were used to search for English language papers published before March 2014 with the terms MS, multiple sclerosis, meditation, and mindfulness. Results. 12 pieces of primary literature fitting the selection criteria were selected: two were randomised controlled studies, four were cohort studies, and six were surveys. The current literature varies in quality; however common positive effects of meditation include improved quality of life (QOL and improved coping skills. Conclusion. All studies suggest possible benefit to the use of meditation as an adjunct to the management of multiple sclerosis. Additional rigorous clinical trials are required to validate the existing findings and determine if meditation has an impact on disease course over time.
Terrell, M. [Wildrose Wholistic Clinic, Calgary, AB (Canada); Stripling, T.E. [KBR, Houston, TX (United States)
This paper described the significant impact that meditation can have on a pipeline project and company management in general. It was noted that project managers tend to address organization and mechanical issues in promoting innovation and creativity. As such, the use of meditation is a leading edge concept in advanced management tools. This paper presented a practical and functional meditation approach. The foundation of meditation was described as being a mind-body state where there is alert awareness, sensory inversion, coherence in the brain and deep relaxation that give individual's access to the subconscious mind where the well of creativity is to be found. It was suggested that the use of meditation can be used in the pipeline industry as an effective tool to address soft management issues such as project team stress reduction, enhanced teamwork, increased innovation and improved decision making. It was concluded that as a soft technology, meditation has great potential to become more prominent as progressive industries look for ways to promote creativity and well-being. 14 refs.
Montero-Marin, Jesus; Puebla-Guedea, Marta; Herrera-Mercadal, Paola; Cebolla, Ausias; Soler, Joaquim; Demarzo, Marcelo; Vazquez, Carmelo; Rodríguez-Bornaetxea, Fernando; García-Campayo, Javier
Background: There are few studies devoted to assessing the impact of meditation-intensive retreats on the well-being, positive psychology, and personality of experienced meditators. We aimed to assess whether a 1-month Vipassana retreat: (a) would increase mindfulness and well-being; (b) would increase prosocial personality traits; and (c) whether psychological changes would be mediated and/or moderated by non-attachment. Method: A controlled, non-randomized, pre-post-intervention trial was used. The intervention group was a convenience sample ( n = 19) of experienced meditators who participated in a 1-month Vipassana meditation retreat. The control group ( n = 19) comprised matched experienced meditators who did not take part in the retreat. During the retreat, the mean duration of daily practice was 8-9 h, the diet was vegetarian and silence was compulsory. The Experiences Questionnaire (EQ), Non-attachment Scale (NAS), Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS), Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS), Temperament Character Inventory Revised (TCI-R-67), Five Facets Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ), Self-Other Four Immeasurables (SOFI) and the MINDSENS Composite Index were administered. ANCOVAs and linear regression models were used to assess pre-post changes and mediation/moderation effects. Results: Compared to controls, retreatants showed increases in non-attachment, observing, MINDSENS, positive-affect, balance-affect, and cooperativeness; and decreases in describing, negative-others, reward-dependence and self-directedness. Non-attachment had a mediating role in decentring, acting aware, non-reactivity, negative-affect, balance-affect and self-directedness; and a moderating role in describing and positive others, with both mediating and moderating effects on satisfaction with life. Conclusions: A 1-month Vipassana meditation retreat seems to yield improvements in mindfulness, well-being, and personality, even in experienced meditators. Non-attachment might
Park, Young Chin; Pyszczynski, Tom
Three studies investigated the effects of meditation on responses to reminders of death. Study 1 took a quasi-experimental approach, comparing defensive responses to mortality salience (MS) of South Korean participants with varying levels of experience with Buddhism and meditation. Whereas non-Buddhists without meditation showed the typical increase in worldview defense after mortality salience (MS), this effect was not found among non-Buddhists immediately after an initial meditation experience, nor among lay Buddhists who meditated regularly or Buddhist monks with intensive meditation experience. Study 2, a fully randomized experiment, showed that MS increased worldview defense among South Koreans at a meditation training who were assessed before meditating but not among participants assessed after their first meditation experience. Study 3 showed that whereas American students without prior meditation experience showed increased worldview defense and suppression of death-related thoughts after MS, these effects were eliminated immediately after an initial meditation experience. Death thought accessibility mediated the effect of MS on worldview defense without meditation, but meditation eliminated this mediation. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved).
Kao H SR
Full Text Available Henry SR Kao,1 Lin Zhu,2 An An Chao,3 Hao Yi Chen,4 Ivy CY Liu,5 Manlin Zhang6 1Department of Social Work and Social Administration, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong; 2Department of Psychology, Renmin University of China, Beijing, 3International Society of Calligraphy Therapy, Hong Kong; 4Department of Business Administration, National Chengchi University, Taipei, Taiwan, 5Department of Psychology, Fu Jen Catholic University, Taipei, Taiwan; 6Department of Psychology, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, People's Republic of China Background: Chinese calligraphic handwriting (CCH has demonstrated a new role in health and therapy. Meanwhile, meditation is an traditional and effective method for coping with stress and staying healthy. This study compared the effectiveness of CCH and meditation as distinctive and parallel stress reduction interventions. Methods: Thirty graduate students and academic staff members in Taiwan who suffered from stress were selected by the General Health Questionnaire and randomly assigned to one of three treatment groups, ie, a CCH group, a meditation group, or a control group, for 8 consecutive weeks. Changes in physiological parameters were measured before, during, and after treatment. Results: CCH and meditation showed their strength in the respective indices of stress. There was a significant difference in respiratory rate, heart rate, and electromyographic scores between the groups. Comparing pre- and post-effects, a decrease in heart rate and an increase in skin temperature was seen in subjects who practiced CCH. Increased skin temperature and decreased respiratory rate were also seen in subjects who practiced meditation, along with reduced muscle tension and heart rate. Conclusion: CCH and meditation have good effects in stress reduction. CCH is a particularly promising new approach to reducing stress.Keywords: calligraphic handwriting, meditation, stress reduction, intervention
Full Text Available Despite growing evidence for demonstrated efficacy of mindfulness in various disorders, there is a continuous concern about the relationship between mindfulness practice and psychosis. As schizotypy is part of the psychosis spectrum, we examined the relationship between long-term mindfulness practice and schizotypy in two independent studies. Study 1 included 24 experienced mindfulness practitioners (19 males from the Buddhist tradition (meditators and 24 meditation-naïve individuals (all males. Study 2 consisted of 28 meditators and 28 meditation-naïve individuals (all males. All participants completed the Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire (Raine, 1991, a self-report scale containing 9 subscales (ideas of reference, excessive social anxiety, magical thinking, unusual perceptual experiences, odd/eccentric behavior, no close friends, odd speech, constricted affect, suspiciousness. Participants of study 2 also completed the Five-Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire which assesses observing (Observe, describing (Describe, acting with awareness (Awareness, non-judging of (Non-judgment and non-reactivity to inner experience (Non-reactivity facets of trait mindfulness. In both studies, meditators scored significantly lower on suspiciousness and higher on magical thinking compared to meditation-naïve individuals and showed a trend towards lower scores on excessive social anxiety. Excessive social anxiety correlated negatively with Awareness and Non-judgment; and suspiciousness with Awareness, Non-judgment and Non-reactivity facets across both groups. The two groups did not differ in their total schizotypy score. We conclude that mindfulness practice is not associated with an overall increase in schizotypal traits. Instead, the pattern suggests that mindfulness meditation, particularly with an emphasis on the Awareness, Non-judgment and Non-reactivity aspects, may help to reduce suspiciousness and excessive social anxiety.
Full Text Available Experienced meditators typically report that they experience time slowing down in meditation practise as well as in everyday life. Conceptually this phenomenon may be understood through functional states of mindfulness, i.e. by attention regulation, body awareness, emotion regulation, and enhanced memory. However, hardly any systematic empirical work exists regarding the experience of time in meditators. In the current cross-sectional study, we investigated whether 42 experienced mindfulness meditation practitioners (with on average 10 years of experience showed differences in the experience of time as compared to 42 controls without any meditation experience matched for age, sex and education. The perception of time was assessed with a battery of psychophysical tasks assessing the accuracy of prospective time judgments in duration discrimination, duration reproduction and time estimation in the milliseconds to minutes range as well with several psychometric instruments related to subjective time such as the Zimbardo Time Perspective Inventory, the Barrett Impulsivity Scale and the Freiburg Mindfulness Inventory. In addition, subjective time judgments on the current passage of time and retrospective time ranges were assessed. While subjective judgements of time were found to be significantly different between the two groups on several scales, no differences in duration estimates in the psychophysical tasks were detected. Regarding subjective time, mindfulness meditators experienced less time pressure, more time dilation, and a general slower passage of time. Moreover, they felt that the last week and the last month passed more slowly. Overall, although no intergroup differences in psychophysical tasks were detected, the reported findings demonstrate a close association between mindfulness meditation and the subjective feeling of the passage of time captured by psychometric instruments.
Dentico, Daniela; Ferrarelli, Fabio; Riedner, Brady A; Smith, Richard; Zennig, Corinna; Lutz, Antoine; Tononi, Giulio; Davidson, Richard J
We have recently shown higher parietal-occipital EEG gamma activity during sleep in long-term meditators compared to meditation-naive individuals. This gamma increase was specific for NREM sleep, was present throughout the entire night and correlated with meditation expertise, thus suggesting underlying long-lasting neuroplastic changes induced through prolonged training. The aim of this study was to explore the neuroplastic changes acutely induced by 2 intensive days of different meditation practices in the same group of practitioners. We also repeated baseline recordings in a meditation-naive cohort to account for time effects on sleep EEG activity. High-density EEG recordings of human brain activity were acquired over the course of whole sleep nights following intervention. Sound-attenuated sleep research room. Twenty-four long-term meditators and twenty-four meditation-naïve controls. Two 8-h sessions of either a mindfulness-based meditation or a form of meditation designed to cultivate compassion and loving kindness, hereafter referred to as compassion meditation. We found an increase in EEG low-frequency oscillatory activities (1-12 Hz, centered around 7-8 Hz) over prefrontal and left parietal electrodes across whole night NREM cycles. This power increase peaked early in the night and extended during the third cycle to high-frequencies up to the gamma range (25-40 Hz). There was no difference in sleep EEG activity between meditation styles in long-term meditators nor in the meditation naïve group across different time points. Furthermore, the prefrontal-parietal changes were dependent on meditation life experience. This low-frequency prefrontal-parietal activation likely reflects acute, meditation-related plastic changes occurring during wakefulness, and may underlie a top-down regulation from frontal and anterior parietal areas to the posterior parietal and occipital regions showing chronic, long-lasting plastic changes in long-term meditators.
Zeidan, Fadel; Adler-Neal, Adrienne L; Wells, Rebecca E; Stagnaro, Emily; May, Lisa M; Eisenach, James C; McHaffie, John G; Coghill, Robert C
Mindfulness meditation, a cognitive practice premised on sustaining nonjudgmental awareness of arising sensory events, reliably attenuates pain. Mindfulness meditation activates multiple brain regions that contain a high expression of opioid receptors. However, it is unknown whether mindfulness-meditation-based analgesia is mediated by endogenous opioids. The present double-blind, randomized study examined behavioral pain responses in healthy human volunteers during mindfulness meditation and a nonmanipulation control condition in response to noxious heat and intravenous administration of the opioid antagonist naloxone (0.15 mg/kg bolus + 0.1 mg/kg/h infusion) or saline placebo. Meditation during saline infusion significantly reduced pain intensity and unpleasantness ratings when compared to the control + saline group. However, naloxone infusion failed to reverse meditation-induced analgesia. There were no significant differences in pain intensity or pain unpleasantness reductions between the meditation + naloxone and the meditation + saline groups. Furthermore, mindfulness meditation during naloxone produced significantly greater reductions in pain intensity and unpleasantness than the control groups. These findings demonstrate that mindfulness meditation does not rely on endogenous opioidergic mechanisms to reduce pain. Endogenous opioids have been repeatedly shown to be involved in the cognitive inhibition of pain. Mindfulness meditation, a practice premised on directing nonjudgmental attention to arising sensory events, reduces pain by engaging mechanisms supporting the cognitive control of pain. However, it remains unknown if mindfulness-meditation-based analgesia is mediated by opioids, an important consideration for using meditation to treat chronic pain. To address this question, the present study examined pain reports during meditation in response to noxious heat and administration of the opioid antagonist naloxone and placebo saline. The results
Full Text Available We have recently shown higher parietal-occipital EEG gamma activity during sleep in long-term meditators compared to meditation-naive individuals. This gamma increase was specific for NREM sleep, was present throughout the entire night and correlated with meditation expertise, thus suggesting underlying long-lasting neuroplastic changes induced through prolonged training. The aim of this study was to explore the neuroplastic changes acutely induced by 2 intensive days of different meditation practices in the same group of practitioners. We also repeated baseline recordings in a meditation-naive cohort to account for time effects on sleep EEG activity.High-density EEG recordings of human brain activity were acquired over the course of whole sleep nights following intervention.Sound-attenuated sleep research room.Twenty-four long-term meditators and twenty-four meditation-naïve controls.Two 8-h sessions of either a mindfulness-based meditation or a form of meditation designed to cultivate compassion and loving kindness, hereafter referred to as compassion meditation.We found an increase in EEG low-frequency oscillatory activities (1-12 Hz, centered around 7-8 Hz over prefrontal and left parietal electrodes across whole night NREM cycles. This power increase peaked early in the night and extended during the third cycle to high-frequencies up to the gamma range (25-40 Hz. There was no difference in sleep EEG activity between meditation styles in long-term meditators nor in the meditation naïve group across different time points. Furthermore, the prefrontal-parietal changes were dependent on meditation life experience.This low-frequency prefrontal-parietal activation likely reflects acute, meditation-related plastic changes occurring during wakefulness, and may underlie a top-down regulation from frontal and anterior parietal areas to the posterior parietal and occipital regions showing chronic, long-lasting plastic changes in long-term meditators.
Sai eSun; Ziqing eYao; Jiaxin eWei; Rongjun eYu
Over the past two decades, there has been a growing interest in the use of meditation to improve cognitive performance, emotional balance, and well-being. As a consequence, research into the psychological effects and neural mechanisms of meditation has been accumulating. Whether and how meditation affects decision making is not yet clear. Here, we review evidence from behavioral and neuroimaging studies and summarize the effects of meditation on social and nonsocial economic decision making. ...
Sun, Sai; Yao, Ziqing; Wei, Jaixin; Yu, Rongjun
Over the past two decades, there has been a growing interest in the use of meditation to improve cognitive performance, emotional balance, and well-being. As a consequence, research into the psychological effects and neural mechanisms of meditation has been accumulating. Whether and how meditation affects decision making is not yet clear. Here, we review evidence from behavioral and neuroimaging studies and summarize the effects of meditation on social and non-social economic decision making....
Adler-Neal, Adrienne L; Zeidan, Fadel
Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread pain and a spectrum of psychological comorbidities, rendering treatment difficult and often a financial burden. Fibromyalgia is a complicated chronic pain condition that requires a multimodal therapeutic approach to optimize treatment efficacy. Thus, it has been postulated that mind-body techniques may prove fruitful in treating fibromyalgia. Mindfulness meditation, a behavioral technique premised on non-reactive sensory awareness, attenuates pain and improves mental health outcomes. However, the impact of mindfulness meditation on fibromyalgia-related outcomes has not been comprehensively characterized. The present review delineates the existing evidence supporting the effectiveness and hypothesized mechanisms of mindfulness meditation in treating fibromyalgia-related outcomes. Mindfulness-based interventions premised on cultivating acceptance, non-attachment, and social engagement may be most effective in decreasing fibromyalgia-related pain and psychological symptoms. Mindfulness-based therapies may alleviate fibromyalgia-related outcomes through multiple neural, psychological, and physiological processes. Mindfulness meditation may provide an effective complementary treatment approach for fibromyalgia patients, especially when combined with other reliable techniques (exercise; cognitive behavioral therapy). However, characterizing the specific analgesic mechanisms supporting mindfulness meditation is a critical step to fostering the clinical validity of this technique. Identification of the specific analgesic mechanisms supporting mindfulness-based pain relief could be utilized to better design behavioral interventions to specifically target fibromyalgia-related outcomes.
Kiran; Girgla, Kawalinder K; Chalana, Harsh; Singh, Harjot
Chronic tension-type headache (CTTH) is the most common type of headache with no truly effective treatment. This study was designed to correlate the additive effect of meditation on CTTH patients receiving medical treatment. 50 patients (aged 18-58 years) presenting with a clinical diagnosis of CCTH, were divided in 2 groups. Group 1 (n=30) received 8 lessons and practical demonstration of Brahmakumaris spiritual based meditation known as Rajyoga meditation for relaxation therapy, in addition to routine medical treatment (analgesics and muscle relaxants). Group 2 (n=20) patients received analgesics and muscle relaxants twice a day but no relaxation therapy in the form of meditation. Both groups were followed up for 8 weeks period. The parameters studied were severity, frequency and duration of CCTH, and their headache index calculated. Patients in both groups showed a highly significant reduction in headache variables (Pheadache, duration & frequency in Group 1 was 94%, 91% and 97% respectively whereas in Group 2 it was 36%, 36% and 49% respectively. Headache relief as calculated by headache index was 99% in Group 1 as compared to 51% in Group 2. Even Short term spiritual based relaxation therapy (Rajyoga meditation) was highly effective in causing earlier relief in chronic tension headache as measured by headache parameter.
Kjaer, Troels W; Bertelsen, Camilla; Piccini, Paola
This is the first in vivo demonstration of an association between endogenous neurotransmitter release and conscious experience. Using 11C-raclopride PET we demonstrated increased endogenous dopamine release in the ventral striatum during Yoga Nidra meditation. Yoga Nidra is characterized by a dep......This is the first in vivo demonstration of an association between endogenous neurotransmitter release and conscious experience. Using 11C-raclopride PET we demonstrated increased endogenous dopamine release in the ventral striatum during Yoga Nidra meditation. Yoga Nidra is characterized...... the frontal cortex to striatal neurons, which in turn project back to the frontal cortex via the pallidum and ventral thalamus. The present study was designed to investigate whether endogenous dopamine release increases during loss of executive control in meditation. Participants underwent two 11C......-raclopride PET scans: one while attending to speech with eyes closed, and one during active meditation. The tracer competes with endogenous dopamine for access to dopamine D2 receptors predominantly found in the basal ganglia. During meditation, 11C-raclopride binding in ventral striatum decreased by 7...
Schimchowitsch, Sarah; Rohmer, Odile
The present research further extends recent data revealing implicit attitude towards persons with disability, with the aim to explore if meditation practice can reduce automatic mental processes initiating prejudice. Forty adult experienced meditators and 34 meditation-naïve individuals performed an evaluative priming task. None of them presented…
Shapiro, Shauna L.; Brown, Kirk Warren; Astin, John A.
Context: There is growing interest in the integration of meditation in higher education. Purpose: Here, we review evidence bearing on the utility of meditation to facilitate the achievement of traditional educational goals and to enhance education of the "whole person." Research Design: We examine how meditation practices may help foster important…
Schoormans, D.; Nyklicek, I.
Objectives: This study examined whether practitioners of two meditation types differ on self-reported mindfulness skills and psychologic well-being. Design: This was a cross-sectional study comparing two convenience meditation groups drawn from local meditation centers, one group practicing
prevention. Meditation is an alternative and non- pharmacological practice that has great promise as a protective factor against suicide and...prevention. Meditation is an alternative and non- pharmacological practice that has great promise as a protective factor against suicide and suicidal...CT) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging ( MRI ) show regional brain functioning in people with suicidal behaviors and those practicing meditation. Computed
Laures-Gore, Jacqueline; Marshall, Rebecca Shisler
Despite the potential behavioral and neurological benefits of Mindfulness Meditation (MM), its use in treating stroke related communication disabilities appears to be underexplored. Specifically, aphasia, a language disorder resulting from stroke, may be amenable to the benefits of MM because of the observed attention problems often underlying the language symptoms. The current paper presents a case report of an adult with aphasia who was trained in MM. An adult with aphasia completed a five-day mindfulness training, and was assessed on measures of language, attention, and physiological measures of cortisol and heart rate variability. She completed four assessments: two baseline measures, immediately post training, and one week post training (maintenance). Overall, changes were observed in both psychophysiological measures (heart rate and heart rate variability) and behavioral measures (word productivity, phrase length, word generation, decreased impulsivity, and increased attention). Given the psychophysiological and behavioral changes observed in this individual, further exploration of the influence of MM in the treatment of post-stroke aphasia is warranted.
Hypnosis and meditation, as a whole, form a heterogeneous complex of psychosomatic techniques able to control mind and body regulation. Hypnosis has been pragmatically used for limited therapeutic targets, while Eastern meditation has much wider philosophical and existential implications, aiming for a radical liberation from all illusions, attachments, suffering and pain. The available data on the history, phenomenology, and neuropsychology of hypnosis and meditation show several common features, such as the following: (a) induction based on focused attention; (b) capability to reach an intentional control of both biologic-somatic activities and conscious-unconscious processes; (c) activation/deactivation of several brain areas and circuits (e.g., the default modality network and pain neuromatrix) with a relevant overlapping between the two.
Dahl, Cortland J.; Lutz, Antoine; Davidson, Richard J.
Scientific research highlights the central role of specific psychological processes, in particular those related to the self, in various forms of human suffering and flourishing. This view is shared by Buddhism and other contemplative and humanistic traditions, which have developed meditation practices to regulate these processes. Building on a previous paper in this journal, we propose a novel classification system that categorizes specific styles of meditation into attentional, constructive, and deconstructive families based on their primary cognitive mechanisms. We suggest that meta-awareness, perspective taking and cognitive reappraisal, and self-inquiry may be important mechanisms in specific families of meditation and that alterations in these processes may be used to target states of experiential fusion, maladaptive self-schema, and cognitive reification. PMID:26231761
Dahl, Cortland J; Lutz, Antoine; Davidson, Richard J
Scientific research highlights the central role of specific psychological processes, in particular those related to the self, in various forms of human suffering and flourishing. This view is shared by Buddhism and other contemplative and humanistic traditions, which have developed meditation practices to regulate these processes. Building on a previous paper in this journal, we propose a novel classification system that categorizes specific styles of meditation into attentional, constructive, and deconstructive families based on their primary cognitive mechanisms. We suggest that meta-awareness, perspective taking and cognitive reappraisal, and self-inquiry may be important mechanisms in specific families of meditation and that alterations in these processes may be used to target states of experiential fusion, maladaptive self-schema, and cognitive reification. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Full Text Available The article explores some of the effects of a creative meditation centered on a natural element (fire on different aspects of cognitive functioning, commonly associated with well-being, either positively (self-esteem, or negatively (automatic negative thinking and thought suppression. The results showed that while self-esteem improves after the creative meditation, automatic negative thinking and thought suppression do not decrease significantly. The conclusion is that the creative meditation helps in getting in touch with Self, supporting a healthy self-esteem when taking into consideration the social standards, but this also means accepting both positive and negative aspects of self, including the automatic negative thinking and thought suppression. This recommends the technique as a useful tool for psychotherapeutic and personal development use, as the vulnerabilities may become the focus without unnecessary self-blame, but with an intuitive solution in mind to turn them into personal resources.
Tan, Lucy B G; Lo, Barbara C Y; Macrae, C Neil
The ability to infer and understand the mental states of others (i.e., Theory of Mind) is a cornerstone of human interaction. While considerable efforts have focused on explicating when, why and for whom this fundamental psychological ability can go awry, considerably less is known about factors that may enhance theory of mind. Accordingly, the current study explored the possibility that mindfulness-based meditation may improve people's mindreading skills. Following a 5-minute mindfulness induction, participants with no prior meditation experience completed tests that assessed mindreading and empathic understanding. The results revealed that brief mindfulness meditation enhanced both mental state attribution and empathic concern, compared to participants in the control group. These findings suggest that mindfulness may be a powerful technique for facilitating core aspects of social-cognitive functioning.
Singla, Rashmi; Jordanov, Daniel; Autrup, Mads
This presentation focuses on the genesis of meditation and mindfulness in the East for comprehension of these phenomena, which are increasingly applied and adapted in the current Western context. Their very origin from the East, particularly Buddhism and Yoga practices, directs our attention...... to the three major assumptions about human nature; the monoism between mind and body, the centrality of consciousness and meditation as a part of daily conduct. The mainstream Western understandings promoting the body-mind dualism are challenged by invoking the bodily experiences and consciousness emphasising...... is perceived as a way of resisting dualisms and binaries regarding psychological, physical, social and spiritual realities. We conclude that without a holistic, integrated understanding of the basic principles and assumptions in which meditation and mindfulness are embedded, there is a risk for these phenomena...
Chan, Roxane Raffin; Giardino, Nicholas; Larson, Janet L
Living well with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) requires people to manage disease-related symptoms in order to participate in activities of daily living. Mindfulness practice is an intervention that has been shown to reduce symptoms of chronic disease and improve accurate symptom assessment, both of which could result in improved disease management and increased wellness for people with COPD. A randomized controlled trial was conducted to investigate an 8-week mindful meditation intervention program tailored for the COPD population and explore the use of breathing timing parameters as a possible physiological measure of meditation uptake. Results demonstrated that those randomized to the mindful meditation intervention group (N=19) had a significant increase in respiratory rate over time as compared to those randomized to the wait-list group (N=22) (P=0.045). It was also found that the mindful meditation intervention group demonstrated a significant decrease in level of mindfulness over time as compared to the wait-list group (P=0.023). When examining participants from the mindful meditation intervention who had completed six or more classes, it was found that respiratory rate did not significantly increase in comparison to the wait-list group. Furthermore, those who completed six or more classes (N=12) demonstrated significant improvement in emotional function in comparison to the wait-list group (P=0.032) even though their level of mindfulness did not improve. This study identifies that there may be a complex relationship between breathing parameters, emotion, and mindfulness in the COPD population. The results describe good feasibility and acceptability for meditation interventions in the COPD population. PMID:25767382
Hilton, Lara; Maher, Alicia Ruelaz; Colaiaco, Benjamin; Apaydin, Eric; Sorbero, Melony E; Booth, Marika; Shanman, Roberta M; Hempel, Susanne
We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis that synthesized evidence from randomized controlled trials of meditation interventions to provide estimates of their efficacy and safety in treating adults diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This review was based on an established protocol (PROSPERO: CRD42015025782) and is reported according to PRISMA guidelines. Outcomes of interest included PTSD symptoms, depression, anxiety, health-related quality of life, functional status, and adverse events. Meta-analyses were conducted using the Hartung-Knapp-Sidik-Jonkman method for random-effects models. Quality of evidence was assessed using the Grade of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) approach. In total, 10 trials on meditation interventions for PTSD with 643 participants met inclusion criteria. Across interventions, adjunctive meditation interventions of mindfulness-based stress reduction, yoga, and the mantram repetition program improve PTSD and depression symptoms compared with control groups, but the findings are based on low and moderate quality of evidence. Effects were positive but not statistically significant for quality of life and anxiety, and no studies addressed functional status. The variety of meditation intervention types, the short follow-up times, and the quality of studies limited analyses. No adverse events were reported in the included studies; only half of the studies reported on safety. Meditation appears to be effective for PTSD and depression symptoms, but in order to increase confidence in findings, more high-quality studies are needed on meditation as adjunctive treatment with PTSD-diagnosed participant samples large enough to detect statistical differences in outcomes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved).
Kane, Kathleen E
An existential-phenomenological methodology was utilized to investigate the experience of meditation for female survivors of intimate partner violence. Six coresearchers were taught a form of concentrative meditation and were asked to meditate daily and to attend a weekly group meditation for 6 weeks. Semistructured interviews were utilized to gather the data. The essence of the experience that was revealed was the emergence of a centered awareness that is distinctly different from the usual mode of being in the world. Findings suggest the value of meditation as an intervention strategy with survivors and demonstrate the need for further research in this area.
Walsh, Roger; Victor, Bruce; Bitner, Robin
Use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors continues to increase, as does concern about previously unrecognized, subtle side effects and questions about whether these drugs produce effects on healthy subjects. The authors report novel emotional effects identified by an experienced, psychologically healthy meditator who is a psychiatrist and researcher. On a meditation retreat, the subject identified a specific profile of emotional changes related to sertraline use. In particular, cognitive abilities and the emotions of fear and anger seemed unaffected. However, the emotions of sadness, happiness, rapture, and love were dramatically reduced in intensity and duration. 2006 APA, all rights reserved
Abstract This master thesis examines individual experiences regarding “Christian Meditation” of John Main and cultural encounters. Through qualitative interviews with Christian meditators the thesis aims to understand the subjective meanings of Christian Meditation from the informant’s point of view. The purpose of the thesis is to explore the subjective experiences of Christian Meditation and cultural encounters; and to explore the subjective experiences of the meaning of Chri...
Full Text Available Despite decades of research, effects of different types of meditation on electroencephalographic (EEG activity are still being defined. We compared practitioners of three different meditation traditions (Vipassana, Himalayan Yoga and Isha Shoonya with a control group during a meditative and instructed mind-wandering (IMW block. All meditators showed higher parieto-occipital 60-110 Hz gamma amplitude than control subjects as a trait effect observed during meditation and when considering meditation and IMW periods together. Moreover, this gamma power was positively correlated with participants meditation experience. Independent component analysis was used to show that gamma activity did not originate in eye or muscle artifacts. In addition, we observed higher 7-11 Hz alpha activity in the Vipassana group compared to all the other groups during both meditation and instructed mind wandering and lower 10-11 Hz activity in the Himalayan yoga group during meditation only. We showed that meditation practice is correlated to changes in the EEG gamma frequency range that are common to a variety of meditation practices.
van Lutterveld, Remko; Houlihan, Sean D; Pal, Prasanta; Sacchet, Matthew D; McFarlane-Blake, Cinque; Patel, Payal R; Sullivan, John S; Ossadtchi, Alex; Druker, Susan; Bauer, Clemens; Brewer, Judson A
Meditation is increasingly showing beneficial effects for psychiatric disorders. However, learning to meditate is not straightforward as there are no easily discernible outward signs of performance and thus no direct feedback is possible. As meditation has been found to correlate with posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) activity, we tested whether source-space EEG neurofeedback from the PCC followed the subjective experience of effortless awareness (a major component of meditation), and whether participants could volitionally control the signal. Sixteen novice meditators and sixteen experienced meditators participated in the study. Novice meditators were briefly trained to perform a basic meditation practice to induce the subjective experience of effortless awareness in a progressively more challenging neurofeedback test-battery. Experienced meditators performed a self-selected meditation practice to induce this state in the same test-battery. Neurofeedback was provided based on gamma-band (40-57Hz) PCC activity extracted using a beamformer algorithm. Associations between PCC activity and the subjective experience of effortless awareness were assessed by verbal probes. Both groups reported that decreased PCC activity corresponded with effortless awareness (Pneurofeedback to link an objective measure of brain activity with the subjective experience of effortless awareness, and suggest potential utility of this paradigm as a tool for meditation training. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
E. Baron Short
Full Text Available Meditation involves attentional regulation and may lead to increased activity in brain regions associated with attention such as dorsal lateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC and anterior cingulate cortex (ACC. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we examined whether DLPFC and ACC were activated during meditation. Subjects who meditate were recruited and scanned on a 3.0 Tesla scanner. Subjects meditated for four sessions of 12 min and performed four sessions of a 6 min control task. Individual and group t-maps were generated of overall meditation response versus control response and late meditation response versus early meditation response for each subject and time courses were plotted. For the overall group (n = 13, and using an overall brain analysis, there were no statistically significant regional activations of interest using conservative thresholds. A region of interest analysis of the entire group time courses of DLPFC and ACC were statistically more active throughout meditation in comparison to the control task. Moreover, dividing the cohort into short (n = 8 and long-term (n = 5 practitioners (>10 years revealed that the time courses of long-term practitioners had significantly more consistent and sustained activation in the DLPFC and the ACC during meditation versus control in comparison to short-term practitioners. The regional brain activations in the more practised subjects may correlate with better sustained attention and attentional error monitoring. In summary, brain regions associated with attention vary over the time of a meditation session and may differ between long- and short-term meditation practitioners.
Jonathan David Nash
Full Text Available One of the well-documented concerns confronting scholarly discourse about meditation is the plethora of semantic constructs and the lack of a unified definition and taxonomy. In recent years there have been several notable attempts to formulate new lexicons in order to define and categorize meditation methods. While these constructs have been useful and have encountered varying degrees of acceptance, they have also been subject to misinterpretation and debate, leaving the field devoid of a consensual paradigm. This paper attempts to influence this ongoing discussion by proposing two new models which hold the potential for enhanced scientific reliability and acceptance. Regarding the quest for a universally acceptable taxonomy, we suggest a paradigm shift away from the fabrication of categories based exclusively on first-person perspectives. As an alternative, we propose a new taxonomic system based on a third-person paradigm borrowed, in part, from the psychological and cognitive sciences. With regard to the elusive definitional problem, we propose a model of meditation as a dynamic process composed of several related but distinct stages. The overall goal is to provide researchers with a reliable nomenclature with which to categorize and classify diverse meditation methods, and a conceptual framework which can provide direction for their research and a theoretical basis for their findings.
An analysis of the underlying similarities between the Eastern meditation tradition and attention restoration theory (ART) provides a basis for an expanded framework for studying directed attention. The focus of the analysis is the active role the individual can play in the preservation and recovery of the directed attention capacity. Two complementary strategies are...
David O. Black
Full Text Available Anecdotal reports suggest that Transcendental Meditation (TM may be helpful for some children and young adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs. In this perspective piece, we present six carefully evaluated individuals with diagnosed ASDs, who appear to have benefitted from TM, and offer some thoughts as to how this technique might help such individuals.
Jose R Infante
Conclusions: The technique of meditation studied seems to have a significant effect on immune cells, manifesting in the different circulating levels of lymphocyte subsets analyzed. The significant effect of TM on the neuroendocrine axis and its relationship with the immune system may partly explain our results.
Nash, Jonathan D.; Newberg, Andrew
One of the well-documented concerns confronting scholarly discourse about meditation is the plethora of semantic constructs and the lack of a unified definition and taxonomy. In recent years there have been several notable attempts to formulate new lexicons in order to define and categorize meditation methods. While these constructs have been useful and have encountered varying degrees of acceptance, they have also been subject to misinterpretation and debate, leaving the field devoid of a consensual paradigm. This paper attempts to influence this ongoing discussion by proposing two new models which hold the potential for enhanced scientific reliability and acceptance. Regarding the quest for a universally acceptable taxonomy, we suggest a paradigm shift away from the norm of fabricatIng new terminology from a first-person perspective. As an alternative, we propose a new taxonomic system based on the historically well-established and commonly accepted third-person paradigm of Affect and Cognition, borrowed, in part, from the psychological and cognitive sciences. With regard to the elusive definitional problem, we propose a model of meditation which clearly distinguishes “method” from “state” and is conceptualized as a dynamic process which is inclusive of six related but distinct stages. The overall goal is to provide researchers with a reliable nomenclature with which to categorize and classify diverse meditation methods, and a conceptual framework which can provide direction for their research and a theoretical basis for their findings. PMID:24312060
Helber, Casey; Zook, Nancy A.; Immergut, Matthew
We predicted that students in a sociology course that included contemplative practices (i.e., mindfulness meditation) would show an increase in performance on higher level cognitive abilities (executive functions) over the semester compared to a control group of students. Change in executive functions performance was not significantly different…
Due to the impact of Confucianism on Taiwanese society, Taiwanese married women play multiple family roles including being a daughter-in-law, wife, mother, and working woman. Having to play multiple roles usually brings Taiwanese married women burdens and stress. It is reported that Zen meditation improves people's physical and mental wellbeing.…
Irwin, Michèle; Miller, John P.
This article presents the results of a study into the effects of meditation practice on the lives of professional educators, specifically educators who either began or continued such practice during course work led by Professor Miller at the University of Toronto. The study incorporates semistructured interviews with 12 participants to track their…
Shi, Lu; Zhang, Donglan; Wang, Liang; Zhuang, Junyang; Cook, Rebecca; Chen, Liwei
We meta-analyzed the effect of meditation on blood pressure (BP), including both transcendental meditation and non-transcendental meditation interventions. We identified randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that examined the BP responses to meditation interventions through a systematic literature search of the PubMed, ABI/INFORM, MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, and CINAHL databases (from January 1980 to October 2015). We meta-analyzed the change in SBP and DBP, stratified by type of meditation (transcendental meditation vs. non-transcendental meditation intervention) and by type of BP measurement [ambulatory BP monitoring (ABPM) vs. non-ABPM measurement]. Nineteen studies met the eligibility criteria. Among the studies using the ABPM measurement, the pooled SBP effect estimate was -2.49 mmHg [95% confidence interval (CI): -7.51, 2.53] for transcendental meditation intervention (statistically insignificant) and -3.77 mmHg (95% CI: -5.33, -2.21) for non-transcendental meditation interventions, whereas the pooled DBP effect estimate was -4.26 mmHg (95% CI: -6.21, -2.31) for transcendental meditation interventions and -2.18 mmHg (95% CI: -4.28, -0.09) for non-transcendental meditation interventions. Among the studies using the non-ABPM measurement, the pooled SBP effect estimate from transcendental meditation interventions was -5.57 mmHg (95% CI: -7.41, -3.73) and was -5.09 mmHg with non-transcendental meditation intervention (95% CI: -6.34, -3.85), whereas the pooled effect size in DBP change for transcendental meditation interventions was -2.86 mmHg (95% CI: -4.27, -1.44) and was -2.57 mmHg (95% CI: -3.36, -1.79) for non-transcendental meditation interventions. Non-transcendental meditation may serve as a promising alternative approach for lowering both SBP and DBP. More ABPM-measured transcendental meditation interventions might be needed to examine the benefit of transcendental meditation intervention on SBP reduction.
A significant number of studies have been published examining the mind-body effects of meditation and its clinical efficacy. There are very few studies, however, which directly compare different meditation methods with each other to explore potentially distinct mechanisms and effects, and no studies comparing individual preferences for different methods. As preference is seen as an important factor in consumer healthcare decision making, greater understanding of this aspect is needed as meditation becomes a more widely used therapeutic modality. For this reason a pilot study was conducted to compare four meditation techniques for personal preference. A within-subjects comparison design was employed. A convenience sample of 247 undergraduate university students participated in the study. Participants learned two open observing meditation techniques-Vipassana (Mindfulness) and Zen, and two focused attention techniques-Mantra and Qigong Visualization, practicing one method per week. At the end of a six-week training period participants ranked the four meditation methods in order of personal preference. Ranking of subjective preference of meditations practiced. A within subjects comparison revealed that significantly more participants chose Vipassana or Mantra meditation as their preferred techniques compared with Qigong Visualization and Zen. This study provides information on differences in preference for type of meditation. As the benefits of meditation accrue over time, selecting a method that motivates sustained practice is a critical objective if therapeutic effects are to be achieved. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Garrison, Kathleen A; Zeffiro, Thomas A; Scheinost, Dustin; Constable, R Todd; Brewer, Judson A
Meditation has been associated with relatively reduced activity in the default mode network, a brain network implicated in self-related thinking and mind wandering. However, previous imaging studies have typically compared meditation to rest, despite other studies having reported differences in brain activation patterns between meditators and controls at rest. Moreover, rest is associated with a range of brain activation patterns across individuals that has only recently begun to be better characterized. Therefore, in this study we compared meditation to another active cognitive task, both to replicate the findings that meditation is associated with relatively reduced default mode network activity and to extend these findings by testing whether default mode activity was reduced during meditation, beyond the typical reductions observed during effortful tasks. In addition, prior studies had used small groups, whereas in the present study we tested these hypotheses in a larger group. The results indicated that meditation is associated with reduced activations in the default mode network, relative to an active task, for meditators as compared to controls. Regions of the default mode network showing a Group × Task interaction included the posterior cingulate/precuneus and anterior cingulate cortex. These findings replicate and extend prior work indicating that the suppression of default mode processing may represent a central neural process in long-term meditation, and they suggest that meditation leads to relatively reduced default mode processing beyond that observed during another active cognitive task.
Engström, Maria; Pihlsgård, Johan; Lundberg, Peter; Söderfeldt, Birgitta
The objective of the present study was to investigate whether moderately experienced meditators activate hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex during silent mantra meditation, as has been observed in earlier studies on subjects with several years of practice. Subjects with less than 2 years of meditation practice according to the Kundalini yoga or Acem tradition were examined by functional magnetic resonance imaging during silent mantra meditation, using an on-off block design. Whole-brain as well as region-of-interest analyses were performed. The most significant activation was found in the bilateral hippocampus/parahippocampal formations. Other areas with significant activation were the bilateral middle cingulate cortex and the bilateral precentral cortex. No activation in the anterior cingulate cortex was found, and only small activation clusters were observed in the prefrontal cortex. In conclusion, the main finding in this study was the significant activation in the hippocampi, which also has been correlated with meditation in several previous studies on very experienced meditators. We propose that the hippocampus is activated already after moderate meditation practice and also during different modes of meditation, including relaxation. The role of hippocampal activity during meditation should be further clarified in future studies, especially by investigating whether the meditation-correlated hippocampal activity is related to memory consolidation.
Lederer, Alyssa M; Middlestadt, Susan E
Stress impacts college students, faculty, and staff alike. Although meditation has been found to decrease stress, it is an underutilized strategy. This study used the Reasoned Action Approach (RAA) to identify beliefs underlying university constituents' decision to meditate. N=96 students, faculty, and staff at a large midwestern university during spring 2012. A survey measured the RAA global constructs and elicited the beliefs underlying intention to meditate. Thematic and frequency analyses and multiple regression were performed. Quantitative analyses showed that intention to meditate was significantly predicted (R2=.632) by attitude, perceived norm, and perceived behavioral control. Qualitative analyses revealed advantages (eg, reduced stress; feeling calmer), disadvantages (eg, takes time; will not work), and facilitating circumstances (eg, having more time; having quiet space) of meditating. Results of this theory-based research suggest how college health professionals can encourage meditation practice through individual, interpersonal, and environmental interventions.
Zeidan, F.; Grant, J.A.; Brown, C.A.; McHaffie, J.G.; Coghill, R.C.
The cognitive modulation of pain is influenced by a number of factors ranging from attention, beliefs, conditioning, expectations, mood, and the regulation of emotional responses to noxious sensory events. Recently, mindfulness meditation has been found attenuate pain through some of these mechanisms including enhanced cognitive and emotional control, as well as altering the contextual evaluation of sensory events. This review discusses the brain mechanisms involved in mindfulness meditation-related pain relief across different meditative techniques, expertise and training levels, experimental procedures, and neuroimaging methodologies. Converging lines of neuroimaging evidence reveal that mindfulness meditation-related pain relief is associated with unique appraisal cognitive processes depending on expertise level and meditation tradition. Moreover, it is postulated that mindfulness meditation-related pain relief may share a common final pathway with other cognitive techniques in the modulation of pain. PMID:22487846
Amihai, Ido; Kozhevnikov, Maria
Cognitive and neuroscience research from the past several years has shed new light on the influences that meditative traditions have on the meditation practice. Here we review new evidence that shows that types of meditation that developed out of certain traditions such as Vajrayana and Hindu Tantric lead to heightened sympathetic activation and phasic alertness, while types of meditation from other traditions such as Theravada and Mahayana elicit heightened parasympathetic activity and tonic alertness. Such findings validate Buddhist scriptural descriptions of heightened arousal during Vajrayana practices and a calm and alert state of mind during Theravada and Mahayana types of meditation and demonstrate the importance of the cultural and philosophical context out of which the meditation practices develop. PMID:26146629
Verma, Gauri; Araya, Ricardo
This study aimed to ascertain whether there is an association between meditation and psychological distress. Within a cohort of meditating Monks and Nuns who have accomplished varying levels of skill in the art of meditation, we studied whether there are varying degrees of psychological distress, and if so, whether this correlates to how advanced the meditators are. In this cross-sectional study, Monks and Nuns were recruited from monasteries, nunneries, and volunteer centres throughout Dharamshala, Northern India. A total of 331 Monks and Nuns participated. Psychological distress was measured using the GHQ-12, and the expertise on meditation was assessed through the number of years practising meditation and the maximum length of time held in concentration in one sitting. A dose response association was found with more years meditating associated with increasingly lower GHQ scores. There was 0.21 points drop in GHQ scores for every year meditating (p = 0.001). This study shows that Monks and Nuns who are more advanced in practicing meditation show fewer signs of psychological distress than Monks and Nuns who are less advanced in the art of meditation. The practice of meditation may have therapeutic value in the management of psychological distress, and could be offered as a non-pharmacological treatment alternative in patients with anxiety and depression. This is a preliminary study with limitations. More robust evidence is needed before we can confidently establish a causal link between meditation and psychological wellbeing. Our findings should, however, encourage further research in this area to generate better evidence for the health benefits of what is a long established practice in Buddhist communities.
Full Text Available Stories of g-tummo meditators mysteriously able to dry wet sheets wrapped around their naked bodies during a frigid Himalayan ceremony have intrigued scholars and laypersons alike for a century. Study 1 was conducted in remote monasteries of eastern Tibet with expert meditators performing g-tummo practices while their axillary temperature and electroencephalographic (EEG activity were measured. Study 2 was conducted with Western participants (a non-meditator control group instructed to use the somatic component of the g-tummo practice (vase breathing without utilization of meditative visualization. Reliable increases in axillary temperature from normal to slight or moderate fever zone (up to 38.3°C were observed among meditators only during the Forceful Breath type of g-tummo meditation accompanied by increases in alpha, beta, and gamma power. The magnitude of the temperature increases significantly correlated with the increases in alpha power during Forceful Breath meditation. The findings indicate that there are two factors affecting temperature increase. The first is the somatic component which causes thermogenesis, while the second is the neurocognitive component (meditative visualization that aids in sustaining temperature increases for longer periods. Without meditative visualization, both meditators and non-meditators were capable of using the Forceful Breath vase breathing only for a limited time, resulting in limited temperature increases in the range of normal body temperature. Overall, the results suggest that specific aspects of the g-tummo technique might help non-meditators learn how to regulate their body temperature, which has implications for improving health and regulating cognitive performance.
Alvarez-Ramirez, J.; Rodríguez, E.; Echeverría, J.C.
Highlights: • The scaling properties of heart rate variability in premeditation and meditation states were studied. • Mindfulness meditation induces a decrement of the HRV long-range scaling correlations. • Mindfulness meditation can be regarded as a type of induced deep sleep-like dynamics. - Abstract: The rescaled range (R/S) analysis was used for analyzing the fractal scaling properties of heart rate variability (HRV) of subjects undergoing premeditation and meditation states. Eight novice subjects and four advanced practitioners were considered. The corresponding pre-meditation and meditation HRV data were obtained from the Physionet database. The results showed that mindfulness meditation induces a decrement of the HRV long-range scaling correlations as quantified with the time-variant Hurst exponent. The Hurst exponent for advanced meditation practitioners decreases up to values of 0.5, reflecting uncorrelated (e.g., white noise-like) HRV dynamics. Some parallelisms between mindfulness meditation and deep sleep (Stage 4) are discussed, suggesting that the former can be regarded as a type of induced deep sleep-like dynamics.
Ferrarelli, Fabio; Smith, Richard; Dentico, Daniela; Riedner, Brady A.; Zennig, Corinna; Benca, Ruth M.; Lutz, Antoine; Davidson, Richard J.; Tononi, Giulio
Over the past several years meditation practice has gained increasing attention as a non-pharmacological intervention to provide health related benefits, from promoting general wellness to alleviating the symptoms of a variety of medical conditions. However, the effects of meditation training on brain activity still need to be fully characterized. Sleep provides a unique approach to explore the meditation-related plastic changes in brain function. In this study we performed sleep high-density electroencephalographic (hdEEG) recordings in long-term meditators (LTM) of Buddhist meditation practices (approximately 8700 mean hours of life practice) and meditation naive individuals. We found that LTM had increased parietal-occipital EEG gamma power during NREM sleep. This increase was specific for the gamma range (25–40 Hz), was not related to the level of spontaneous arousal during NREM and was positively correlated with the length of lifetime daily meditation practice. Altogether, these findings indicate that meditation practice produces measurable changes in spontaneous brain activity, and suggest that EEG gamma activity during sleep represents a sensitive measure of the long-lasting, plastic effects of meditative training on brain function. PMID:24015304
Hinterberger, Thilo; Schmidt, Stephanie; Kamei, Tsutomu; Walach, Harald
Many neuroscientific theories explain consciousness with higher order information processing corresponding to an activation of specific brain areas and processes. In contrast, most forms of meditation ask for a down-regulation of certain mental processing activities while remaining fully conscious. To identify the physiological properties of conscious states with decreased mental and cognitive processing, the electrical brain activity (64 channels of EEG) of 50 participants of various meditation proficiencies was measured during distinct and idiosyncratic meditative tasks. The tasks comprised a wakeful “thoughtless emptiness (TE),” a “focused attention,” and an “open monitoring” task asking for mindful presence in the moment and in the environment without attachment to distracting thoughts. Our analysis mainly focused on 30 highly experienced meditators with at least 5 years and 1000 h of meditation experience. Spectral EEG power comparisons of the TE state with the resting state or other forms of meditation showed decreased activities in specific frequency bands. In contrast to a focused attention task the TE task showed significant central and parietal gamma decreases (p meditation practice did not present those differences significantly. Our findings indicate that a conscious state of TE reached by experienced meditators is characterized by reduced high-frequency brain processing with simultaneous reduction of the low frequencies. This suggests that such a state of meditative conscious awareness might be different from higher cognitive and mentally focused states but also from states of sleep and drowsiness. PMID:24596562
Heffner, Kathi L; Crean, Hugh F; Kemp, Jan E
Interest in meditation to manage posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms is increasing. Few studies have examined the effectiveness of meditation programs offered to Veterans within Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) mental health services. The current study addresses this gap using data from a multisite VA demonstration project. Evaluation data collected at 6 VA sites (N = 391 Veterans) before and after a meditation program, and a treatment-as-usual (TAU) program, were examined here using random effects meta-analyses. Site-specific and aggregate between group effect sizes comparing meditation programs to TAU were determined for PTSD severity measured by clinical interview and self-report. Additional outcomes included experiential avoidance and mindfulness. In aggregate, analyses showed medium effect sizes for meditation programs compared to TAU for PTSD severity (clinical interview: effect size (ES) = -0.32; self-report: ES = -0.39). Similarly sized effects of meditation programs were found for overall mindfulness (ES = 0.41) and 1 specific aspect of mindfulness, nonreactivity to inner experience (ES = .37). Additional findings suggested meditation type and program completion differences each moderated program effects. VA-sponsored meditation programs show promise for reducing PTSD severity in Veterans receiving mental health services. Where meditation training fits within mental health services, and for whom programs will be of interest and effective, require further clarification. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved).
Vestergaard-Poulsen, Peter; Beek, Martijn van; Skewes, Joshua
Extensive practice involving sustained attention can lead to changes in brain structure. Here, we report evidence of structural differences in the lower brainstem of participants engaged in the long-term practice of meditation. Using magnetic resonance imaging, we observed higher gray matter...... density in lower brain stem regions of experienced meditators compared with age-matched nonmeditators. Our findings show that long-term practitioners of meditation have structural differences in brainstem regions concerned with cardiorespiratory control. This could account for some...... of the cardiorespiratory parasympathetic effects and traits, as well as the cognitive, emotional, and immunoreactive impact reported in several studies of different meditation practices....
Tomasino, Barbara; Chiesa, Alberto; Fabbro, Franco
The most diffuse forms of meditation derive from Hinduism and Buddhism spiritual traditions. Different cognitive processes are set in place to reach these meditation states. According to an historical-philological hypothesis (Wynne, 2009) the two forms of meditation could be disentangled. While mindfulness is the focus of Buddhist meditation reached by focusing sustained attention on the body, on breathing and on the content of the thoughts, reaching an ineffable state of nothigness accompanied by a loss of sense of self and duality (Samadhi) is the main focus of Hinduism-inspired meditation. It is possible that these different practices activate separate brain networks. We tested this hypothesis by conducting an activation likelihood estimation (ALE) meta-analysis of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies. The network related to Buddhism-inspired meditation (16 experiments, 263 subjects, and 96 activation foci) included activations in some frontal lobe structures associated with executive attention, possibly confirming the fundamental role of mindfulness shared by many Buddhist meditations. By contrast, the network related to Hinduism-inspired meditation (8 experiments, 54 activation foci and 66 subjects) triggered a left lateralized network of areas including the postcentral gyrus, the superior parietal lobe, the hippocampus and the right middle cingulate cortex. The dissociation between anterior and posterior networks support the notion that different meditation styles and traditions are characterized by different patterns of neural activation. Copyright © 2014. Published by Elsevier Inc.
Prinds, Christina; Hvidtjørn, Dorte; Skytthe, Axel
BackgroundMothers’ existential dimensions in the transition to motherhood have not been described thoroughly. They might experience disruption and new perspectives in existential ways and this may especially be the case in preterm birth. The aim of this study was twofold. First we investigated...... the existential dimension of motherhood transition in a secularized context, through practices of prayer and meditation. Second we described the relationship between time of birth (term/preterm) and the prayer/meditation practices of the mothers.MethodsData were gathered from a nationwide questionnaire survey...... among first time mothers conducted during the summer 2011. All Danish women who gave birth before the 32nd pregnancy week (n = 255), and double the number of mothers who gave birth at full term (n = 658) in 2010 were included (total n = 913). The questionnaire consisted of 46 overall items categorized...
Davies, William Richard
The nursing profession is experiencing a crisis in both manpower and the ability to fend off the deleterious effects of burnout. Nursing professionals face extraordinary stress in our present medical environment, and studies have frequently found moderate-to-high levels of burnout among nurses. Nurses experience burnout for a variety of reasons, some inherent to the profession and others related to our 21st-century values that have necessitated multiple breadwinners within the household. Mindful meditation represents a complementary therapy that has shown promise in the reduction of negative stress and those extraneous factors that lead to burnout. A mindful, meditative practice can be another tool with which critical care nurses can regain the control of their careers and personal lives. The purpose of this article is to describe nurse burnout, identify those factors that contribute to burnout, and offer a solution to a continuing problem for nurses.
Dunn, B R; Hartigan, J A; Mikulas, W L
Electroencephalographic (EEG) recordings from 19 scalp recording sites were used to differentiate among two posited unique forms of mediation, concentration and mindfulness, and a normal relaxation control condition. Analyzes of all traditional frequency bandwidth data (i.e., delta 1-3 Hz; theta, 4-7 Hz; alpha, 8-12 Hz; beta 1, 13-25 Hz; beta 2, 26-32 Hz) showed strong mean amplitude frequency differences between the two meditation conditions and relaxation over numerous cortical sites. Furthermore, significant differences were obtained between concentration and mindfulness states at all bandwidths. Taken together, our results suggest that concentration and mindfulness "meditations" may be unique forms of consciousness and are not merely degrees of a state of relaxation.
Carolina Baptista Menezes
Full Text Available ABSTRACT This pilot study assessed the effects of a five day focused meditation training on the interplay between emotional interference and anxiety in a non clinical sample randomized into two groups (experimental=13; control=18. Emotional interference was indexed comparing the reaction times in an attention span task with negative or neutral distracting images. Anxiety experienced during the task was also assessed through self-report. Only in the control group higher anxiety levels interacted with greater emotional interference and a worse evaluation of valence and arousal of emotional images. These preliminary findings suggest that meditation may help modulating anxiety effects on bias to negative stimuli, and that even a short training may facilitate self-regulatory processes.
Garland, Eric L.; Hanley, Adam; Farb, Norman A.; Froeliger, Brett E.
Putatively, mindfulness meditation involves generation of a state of “nonappraisal”, yet, little is known about how mindfulness may influence appraisal processes. We investigated whether the state and practice of mindfulness could enhance cognitive reappraisal. Participants (N = 44; M age = 24.44, SD = 4.00, range 19 – 38, 82.2% female) were randomized to either 1) mindfulness, 2) suppression, or 3) mind-wandering induction training conditions. Cognitive reappraisal was assessed with the Emot...
Lucky Jim is set around 1950s. The novel is under the influence of"Angry Young Men" movement which has encouraged many authors to produce angry novels that criticize the outdated social and political values and condemn the distinctive class differentiation. This essay analyzes the luck and anger of Jim Dixon from the perspective of"Political Unconscious". And the deeper reasons that are dug out behind luck and anger reflect readers' symbolic meditation towards a whole generation of people.
Hanley, Adam; Farb, Norman A.; Froeliger, Brett E.
Putatively, mindfulness meditation involves generation of a state of “nonappraisal”, yet, little is known about how mindfulness may influence appraisal processes. We investigated whether the state and practice of mindfulness could enhance cognitive reappraisal. Participants (N = 44; M age = 24.44, SD = 4.00, range 19 – 38, 82.2% female) were randomized to either 1) mindfulness, 2) suppression, or 3) mind-wandering induction training conditions. Cognitive reappraisal was assessed with the Emotion Regulation Questionnaire (ERQ) prior to experimental induction, and state mindfulness was assessed immediately following induction using the Toronto Mindfulness Scale (TMS). Participants practiced their assigned strategy for one week and then were reassessed with the ERQ reappraisal subscale. Participants receiving mindfulness training reported significantly higher levels of state mindfulness than participants in the thought suppression and mind wandering conditions. Although brief mindfulness training did not lead to significantly greater increases in reappraisal than the other two conditions, state mindfulness during mindfulness meditation was prospectively associated with increases in reappraisal. Path analysis revealed that the indirect effect between mindfulness training and reappraisal was significant through state mindfulness. Degree of state mindfulness achieved during the act of mindfulness meditation significantly predicted increases in reappraisal over time, suggesting that mindfulness may promote emotion regulation by enhancing cognitive reappraisal. PMID:26085851
Full Text Available The scientific interest in meditation and mindfulness practice has recently seen an unprecedented surge. After an initial phase of presenting beneficial effects of mindfulness practice in various domains, research is now seeking to unravel the underlying psychological and neurophysiological mechanisms. Advances in understanding these processes are required for improving and fine-tuning mindfulness-based interventions that target specific conditions such as eating disorders or attention deficit hyperactivity disorders. This review presents a theoretical framework that emphasizes the central role of attentional control mechanisms in the development of mindfulness skills. It discusses the phenomenological level of experience during meditation, the different attentional functions that are involved, and relates these to the brain networks that subserve these functions. On the basis of currently available empirical evidence specific processes as to how attention exerts its positive influence are considered and it is concluded that meditation practice appears to positively impact attentional functions by improving resource allocation processes. As a result, attentional resources are allocated more fully during early processing phases which subsequently enhance further processing. Neural changes resulting from a pure form of mindfulness practice that is central to most mindfulness programs are considered from the perspective that they constitute a useful reference point for future research. Furthermore, possible interrelations between the improvement of attentional control and emotion regulation skills are discussed.
Shiba, Koichiro; Nishimoto, Masahiro; Sugimoto, Minami; Ishikawa, Yoshiki
Many previous studies have shown that meditation practice has a positive impact on cognitive and non-cognitive functioning, which are related to job performance. Thus, the aims of this study were to (1) estimate the prevalence of meditation practice, (2) identify the characteristics of individuals who practice meditation, and (3) examine the association between meditation practice and job performance. Two population-based, cross-sectional surveys were conducted. In study 1, we examined the prevalence of meditation practice and the characteristics of the persons practicing meditation; in Study 2, we examined the association between meditation practice and job performance. The outcome variables included work engagement, subjective job performance, and job satisfaction. The Utrecht Work Engagement Scale was used to assess work engagement, the World Health Organization Health and Work Performance Questionnaire (HPQ) was used to measure subjective job performance, and a scale developed by the Japanese government was used to assess job satisfaction. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses were used in Study 2. Demographic characteristics and behavioral risk factors were included as covariates in the analyses. The results of Study 1 indicated that 3.9% of persons surveyed (n = 30,665) practiced meditation; these individuals were younger and had a higher education, higher household income, higher stress level, and lower body mass index than those who did not practice meditation. The results of Study 2 (n = 1,470) indicated that meditation practice was significantly predictive of work engagement (β = 0.112, p meditation practice may positively influence job performance, including job satisfaction, subjective job performance, and work engagement.
Sara evan Leeuwen
Full Text Available During meditation, practitioners are required to center their attention on a specific object for extended periods of time. When their thoughts get diverted, they learn to quickly disengage from the distracter. We hypothesized that learning to respond to the dual demand of engaging attention on specific objects and disengaging quickly from distracters enhances the efficiency by which meditation practitioners can allocate attention. We tested this hypothesis in a global-to-local task while measuring electroencephalographic activity from a group of eight highly trained Buddhist monks and nuns and a group of eight age and education matched controls with no previous meditation experience. Specifically, we investigated the effect of attentional training on the global precedence effect, i.e., faster detection of targets on a global than on a local level. We expected to find a reduced global precedence effect in meditation practitioners but not in controls, reflecting that meditators can more quickly disengage their attention from the dominant global level. Analysis of reaction times confirmed this prediction. To investigate the underlying changes in brain activity and their time course, we analyzed event-related potentials. Meditators showed an enhanced ability to select the respective target level, as reflected by enhanced processing of target level information. In contrast with control group, which showed a local target selection effect only in the P1 and a global target selection effect in the P3 component, meditators showed effects of local information processing in the P1, N2 and P3 and of global processing for the N1, N2 and P3. Thus, meditators seem to display enhanced depth of processing. In addition, meditation altered the uptake of information such that meditators selected target level information earlier in the processing sequence than controls. In a longitudinal experiment, we could replicate the behavioral effects, suggesting that
Full Text Available Many previous studies have shown that meditation practice has a positive impact on cognitive and non-cognitive functioning, which are related to job performance. Thus, the aims of this study were to (1 estimate the prevalence of meditation practice, (2 identify the characteristics of individuals who practice meditation, and (3 examine the association between meditation practice and job performance. Two population-based, cross-sectional surveys were conducted. In study 1, we examined the prevalence of meditation practice and the characteristics of the persons practicing meditation; in Study 2, we examined the association between meditation practice and job performance. The outcome variables included work engagement, subjective job performance, and job satisfaction. The Utrecht Work Engagement Scale was used to assess work engagement, the World Health Organization Health and Work Performance Questionnaire (HPQ was used to measure subjective job performance, and a scale developed by the Japanese government was used to assess job satisfaction. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses were used in Study 2. Demographic characteristics and behavioral risk factors were included as covariates in the analyses. The results of Study 1 indicated that 3.9% of persons surveyed (n = 30,665 practiced meditation; these individuals were younger and had a higher education, higher household income, higher stress level, and lower body mass index than those who did not practice meditation. The results of Study 2 (n = 1,470 indicated that meditation practice was significantly predictive of work engagement (β = 0.112, p < .001, subjective job performance (β = 0.116, p < .001, and job satisfaction (β = 0.079, p = .002, even after adjusting for covariates (β = 0.083, p < .001; β = 0.104, p < .001; β = 0.060, p = .015, respectively. The results indicate that meditation practice may positively influence job performance, including job satisfaction, subjective job
Gutierrez, Daniel; Conley, Abigail H.; Young, Mark
The authors examined whether Jyoti meditation (JM), a spiritually based meditation (Singh, 2012), influenced student counselors' (N = 60) level of stress and emotional intelligence (EI). Results from a randomized controlled trial and growth curve analysis provided a multilevel model in which JM reduced stress and EI moderated the effect.
Despite the growing interest in the neurobiological correlates of meditation, most research has omitted to take into account the underlying philosophical aspects of meditation and its wider implications. This, in turn, is reflected in issues surrounding definition, study design, and outcomes. Here, I highlight the often ignored but important aspect of definition in the existing scholarship on neuroscience and meditation practice. For a satisfactory account of a neuroscience of meditation, we must aim to retrieve an operational definition that is inclusive of a traditional ontological description as well as the modern neurocognitive account of the phenomena. Moving beyond examining the effects of meditation practice, to take a potential step forward in the direction to establish how meditation works, it becomes crucial to appraise the philosophical positions that underlie the phenomenology of meditation in the originating traditions. This endeavor may challenge our intuitions and concepts in either directions, but issues pertaining to definition, design, and validity of response measures are extremely important for the evolution of the field and will provide a much-needed context and framework for meditation based interventions.
Full Text Available Despite the growing interest in the neurobiological correlates of meditation, most research has omitted to take into account the underlying philosophical aspects of meditation and its wider implications. This, in turn, is reflected in issues surrounding definition, study design and outcomes. Here, I highlight the often ignored but important aspect of definition in the existing scholarship on neuroscience and meditation practice. For a satisfactory account of a neuroscience of meditation, we must aim to retrieve an operational definition that is inclusive of a traditional ontological description as well as the modern neurocognitive account of the phenomena. Moving beyond examining the effects of meditation practice, to take a potential step forward in the direction to establish how meditation works, it becomes crucial to appraise the philosophical positions that underlie the phenomenology of meditation in the originating traditions. This endeavour may challenge our intuitions and concepts in either directions, but issues pertaining to definition, design and validity of response measures are extremely important for the evolution of the field and will provide a much-needed context and framework for meditation based interventions.
Routhier-Martin, Kayli; Roberts, Sherron Killingsworth; Blanch, Norine
Mindfulness and meditation programs, and their associated benefits for education, can be examined within three related disciplines: psychology, elementary education, and exceptional education. A review of psychology research provides evidence that meditation and mindfulness work to balance the often negative effects of students' social-emotional…
Full Text Available Background. There is very little data describing the long-term health impacts of meditation. Aim. To compare the quality of life and functional health of long-term meditators to that of the normative population in Australia. Method. Using the SF-36 questionnaire and a Meditation Lifestyle Survey, we sampled 343 long-term Australian Sahaja Yoga meditation practitioners and compared their scores to those of the normative Australian population. Results. Six SF-36 subscales (bodily pain, general health, mental health, role limitation—emotional, social functioning, and vitality were significantly better in meditators compared to the national norms whereas two of the subscales (role limitation—physical, physical functioning were not significantly different. A substantial correlation between frequency of mental silence experience and the vitality, general health, and especially mental health subscales (P<0.005 was found. Conclusion. Long-term practitioners of Sahaja yoga meditation experience better functional health, especially mental health, compared to the general population. A relationship between functional health, especially mental health, and the frequency of meditative experience (mental silence exists that may be causal. Evidence for the potential role of this definition of meditation in enhancing quality of life, functional health and wellbeing is growing. Implications for primary mental health prevention are discussed.
Lederer, Alyssa M.; Middlestadt, Susan E.
Objective: Stress impacts college students, faculty, and staff alike. Although meditation has been found to decrease stress, it is an underutilized strategy. This study used the Reasoned Action Approach (RAA) to identify beliefs underlying university constituents' decision to meditate. Participants: N = 96 students, faculty, and staff at a large…
Teaching mindfulness meditation at school has been advocated by educational researchers and practitioners in order to proactively target the well-being of young people. By conceptualizing mindfulness meditation as a technology of the self, in Foucauldian terms, this article considers the ideological implications of implementing mindfulness…
Despite the growing interest in the neurobiological correlates of meditation, most research has omitted to take into account the underlying philosophical aspects of meditation and its wider implications. This, in turn, is reflected in issues surrounding definition, study design, and outcomes. Here, I highlight the often ignored but important aspect of definition in the existing scholarship on neuroscience and meditation practice. For a satisfactory account of a neuroscience of meditation, we must aim to retrieve an operational definition that is inclusive of a traditional ontological description as well as the modern neurocognitive account of the phenomena. Moving beyond examining the effects of meditation practice, to take a potential step forward in the direction to establish how meditation works, it becomes crucial to appraise the philosophical positions that underlie the phenomenology of meditation in the originating traditions. This endeavor may challenge our intuitions and concepts in either directions, but issues pertaining to definition, design, and validity of response measures are extremely important for the evolution of the field and will provide a much-needed context and framework for meditation based interventions. PMID:23335908
Brewer, Judson A.; Worhunsky, Patrick D.; Gray, Jeremy R.; Tang, Yi-Yuan; Weber, Jochen; Kober, Hedy
Many philosophical and contemplative traditions teach that “living in the moment” increases happiness. However, the default mode of humans appears to be that of mind-wandering, which correlates with unhappiness, and with activation in a network of brain areas associated with self-referential processing. We investigated brain activity in experienced meditators and matched meditation-naive controls as they performed several different meditations (Concentration, Loving-Kindness, Choiceless Awareness). We found that the main nodes of the default-mode network (medial prefrontal and posterior cingulate cortices) were relatively deactivated in experienced meditators across all meditation types. Furthermore, functional connectivity analysis revealed stronger coupling in experienced meditators between the posterior cingulate, dorsal anterior cingulate, and dorsolateral prefrontal cortices (regions previously implicated in self-monitoring and cognitive control), both at baseline and during meditation. Our findings demonstrate differences in the default-mode network that are consistent with decreased mind-wandering. As such, these provide a unique understanding of possible neural mechanisms of meditation. PMID:22114193
Chang, Kang-Ming; Chen, Sih-Huei; Lee, Hsin-Yi; Ching, Congo Tak-Shing; Huang, Chun-Lung
The practice of meditation has become an interesting research issue in recent decades. Meditation is known to be beneficial for health improvement and illness reduction and many studies on meditation have been made, from both the physiological and psychological points of view. It is a fundamental requirement of meditation practice to be able to sit without body motion. In this study, a novel body motion monitoring and estimation system has been developed. A wireless tri-axis accelerometer is used to measure body motion. Both a mean and maximum motion index is derived from the square summation of three axes. Two experiments were conducted in this study. The first experiment was to investigate the motion index baseline among three leg-crossing postures. The second experiment was to observe posture dynamics for thirty minute’s meditation. Twenty-six subjects participated in the experiments. In one experiment, thirteen subjects were recruited from an experienced meditation group (meditation experience > 3 years); and the other thirteen subjects were beginners (meditation experience < 1 years). There was a significant posture stability difference between both groups in terms of either mean or maximum parameters (p < 0.05), according to the results of the experiment. Results from another experiment showed that the motion index is different for various postures, such as full-lotus < half-lotus < non-lotus. PMID:23250281
Myers, Neely; Lewis, Sara; Dutton, Mary Ann
Based on ethnographic fieldwork and interviews collected with meditation teachers and students in the United States, this article will argue that active training in meditation-based practices occasions the opportunity for people with traumatic stress to develop a stronger mind-body connection through heightened somatic awareness and a focus on the present moment that they find to be therapeutic. Three important themes related to healing through meditation for trauma emerged from the data and centered around the ways our interlocutors attempted to realign their sense of self, mind and body, after a traumatic experience. The themes helped explain why US women perceive meditation as therapeutic for trauma, namely that the practice of meditation enables one to focus on the lived present rather than traumatic memories, to accept pain and "open" one's heart, and to make use of silence instead of speech as a healing modality. As meditation practices increasingly enter global popular culture, promoted for postulated health benefits, the driving question of this research--how meditation may perpetuate human resilience for women who have experienced trauma based on their own perspectives of meditation practices--is a critical addition to the literature.
Simmer-Brown, Judith, Ed.; Grace, Fran, Ed.
"Meditation and the Classroom" inventively articulates how educators can use meditation to educate the whole student. Notably, a number of universities have initiated contemplative studies options and others have opened contemplative spaces. This represents an attempt to address the inner life. It is also a sign of a new era, one in…
Waters, Lea; Barsky, Adam; Ridd, Amanda; Allen, Kelly
Schools need reliable evidence about the outcomes of meditation programs before they consider if and how such programmes can influence learning agendas, curriculum and timetables. This paper reviewed evidence from 15 peer-reviewed studies of school meditation programmes with respect to three student outcomes: well-being, social competence and…
Solar, Ernest L., II
Research has shown evidence that mindfulness-based meditation practices may be effective treatment interventions for mental, emotional, and medical disabilities in the adult population. There has been a limited number of research studies showing the effectiveness of meditation practices with secondary students who receive special education…
Reddy, T. L. Narasimha; Ammani, S.
Meditation is one of the Five Principles of Yoga. It is the practice by which there is constant observation of the mind. It requires you to focus your mind at one point and make your mind still in order to perceive the "self". Through the practice of Meditation, it will help achieve a greater sense of purpose and strength of will. It…
Full Text Available Over the past two decades, there has been a growing interest in the use of meditation to improve cognitive performance, emotional balance, and well-being. As a consequence, research into the psychological effects and neural mechanisms of meditation has been accumulating. Whether and how meditation affects decision making is not yet clear. Here, we review evidence from behavioral and neuroimaging studies and summarize the effects of meditation on social and nonsocial economic decision making. Research suggests that meditation modulates brain activities associated with cognitive control, emotion regulation and empathy, and leads to improved nonsocial and social decision making. Accordingly, we propose an integrative model in which cognitive control, emotional regulation, and empathic concern mediate the effects of meditation on decision making. This model provides insights into the mechanisms by which meditation affects the decision making process. More evidence is needed to test our explanatory model and to explore the function of specific brain areas and their interactive effects on decision making during meditation training.
Sun, Sai; Yao, Ziqing; Wei, Jaixin; Yu, Rongjun
Over the past two decades, there has been a growing interest in the use of meditation to improve cognitive performance, emotional balance, and well-being. As a consequence, research into the psychological effects and neural mechanisms of meditation has been accumulating. Whether and how meditation affects decision making is not yet clear. Here, we review evidence from behavioral and neuroimaging studies and summarize the effects of meditation on social and non-social economic decision making. Research suggests that meditation modulates brain activities associated with cognitive control, emotion regulation and empathy, and leads to improved non-social and social decision making. Accordingly, we propose an integrative model in which cognitive control, emotional regulation, and empathic concern mediate the effects of meditation on decision making. This model provides insights into the mechanisms by which meditation affects the decision making process. More evidence is needed to test our explanatory model and to explore the function of specific brain areas and their interactive effects on decision making during meditation training.
Kreplin, U.; Farias, M.; Brazil, I.A.
Many individuals believe that meditation has the capacity to not only alleviate mental-illness but to improve prosociality. This article systematically reviewed and meta-analysed the effects of meditation interventions on prosociality in randomized controlled trials of healthy adults. Five types of
Kirsch, Irving; Henry, David
Speech-anxious students were assigned to self-administered treatment conditions: (1) systematic desensitization, (2) desensitization with meditation replacing progressive relaxation, and (3) meditation only. Treatment manuals included coping-skill instructions. Treatments were equally effective in reducing anxiety and produced a greater reduction…
Wampler, Larry D.; Amira, Stephen B.
Research indicates that transcendental meditation (TM) may provide relief from accumulated stress and render the meditator better able to cope with future stressful events. Single and combined TM and assertive training programs were compared for effectiveness in the treatment of socially anxious college students. A waiting-list group served as the…
Andersen, Thea Louise Strange; Anisimovaite, Gintare; Christiansen, Anders Schultz
This poster describes a between-groups study (n=24) exploring the use of virtual reality (VR) for facilitating focused meditation. Half of the participants were exposed to a meditation session combing the sound of a guiding voice and a visual environment including virtual objects for the particip......This poster describes a between-groups study (n=24) exploring the use of virtual reality (VR) for facilitating focused meditation. Half of the participants were exposed to a meditation session combing the sound of a guiding voice and a visual environment including virtual objects...... differences were found between the two conditions. This finding may be revealing in regards to the usefulness of VR-based meditation....
Luders, Eileen; Kurth, Florian; Mayer, Emeran A.; Toga, Arthur W.; Narr, Katherine L.; Gaser, Christian
Several cortical regions are reported to vary in meditation practitioners. However, prior analyses have focused primarily on examining gray matter or cortical thickness. Thus, additional effects with respect to other cortical features might have remained undetected. Gyrification (the pattern and degree of cortical folding) is an important cerebral characteristic related to the geometry of the brain’s surface. Thus, exploring cortical gyrification in long-term meditators may provide additional clues with respect to the underlying anatomical correlates of meditation. This study examined cortical gyrification in a large sample (n = 100) of meditators and controls, carefully matched for sex and age. Cortical gyrification was established by calculating mean curvature across thousands of vertices on individual cortical surface models. Pronounced group differences indicating larger gyrification in meditators were evident within the left precentral gyrus, right fusiform gyrus, right cuneus, as well as left and right anterior dorsal insula (the latter representing the global significance maximum). Positive correlations between gyrification and the number of meditation years were similarly pronounced in the right anterior dorsal insula. Although the exact functional implications of larger cortical gyrification remain to be established, these findings suggest the insula to be a key structure involved in aspects of meditation. For example, variations in insular complexity could affect the regulation of well-known distractions in the process of meditation, such as daydreaming, mind-wandering, and projections into past or future. Moreover, given that meditators are masters in introspection, awareness, and emotional control, increased insular gyrification may reflect an integration of autonomic, affective, and cognitive processes. Due to the cross-sectional nature of this study, further research is necessary to determine the relative contribution of nature and nurture to
Prätzlich, Martin; Kossowsky, Joe; Gaab, Jens; Krummenacher, Peter
Meditation improves executive functions such as attention and working memory processes. However, it remains unclear to what extent contextual effects contribute to these improvements, since the role of meditation-associated expectations has not been investigated so far. In a randomized, single-blind, deceptive, between-subject design we compared the impact of short-term meditation (MG) on executive functioning with an expectation (ECG) and a passive control group (CG) as well as the effect of positive and negative outcome expectations. Fifty-nine healthy meditation-naïve volunteers participated on three consecutive days (20 min/session). Five groups were examined: 2 MGs, 2 ECGs and 1 CG. While one MG and one ECG were given positive suggestions concerning the effect of meditation on attention, the other two groups were given negative suggestions. MGs practised a focused attention meditation technique; ECGs were told that they were practising meditation but were given instructions for a sham meditation. CG participants sat in silence with their eyes closed. Interference control (Stroop task), selective sustained attention (d2 task), figural and verbal fluency measures of executive functions were assessed. Results indicate that suggestions have a substantial impact on interference control and verbal fluency, with positive suggestions leading to an increase in performance, whereas negative suggestions impeded improvement. This proof of concept study demonstrates the importance of the implementation of a credible ECG to elucidate context effects in meditation processes. It also indicates that suggestions can modulate the small effect of meditation on verbal fluency. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Fernandes, César A; Nóbrega, Yanna K M; Tosta, C Eduardo
Despite the recognized importance of phagocytes in the maintenance and recovery of health, the influence of meditation on their functions is not properly established. This investigation aimed at evaluating the influence of pranic meditation on the functions of phagocytes, and on the levels of hormones that influence them. A pre-post design was adopted. The investigation was carried out at a university research laboratory. Twenty-nine (29) healthy individuals of both sexes, 24-67 years old (median 45), with no previous experience in meditation, received 3-hour-duration weekly training on pranic meditation during 10 weeks and agreed to engage in daily home practice for 20 minutes. Pranic meditation is a novel method of meditation, based on the Vedic tradition, which uses techniques of breathing and visualization for quieting the mind, and for capturing and intentionally directing prana ("vital energy") wherever necessary. For assessing phagocytosis, the production of hydrogen peroxide and nitric oxide by monocytes, and the concentrations of corticotrophin and cortisol, blood was collected at the beginning (week 1), at the middle (week 5), and by the end (week 10) of the practice period. At the same intervals, melatonin concentrations were evaluated in the saliva. Those who meditated for more than 980 minutes showed increased phagocytosis, their monocytes produced higher concentrations of hydrogen peroxide, and their plasma levels of corticotrophin were reduced. The production of nitric oxide by monocytes, and the levels of cortisol and melatonin were not modified by meditation. This is the first study to show that a short program of pranic meditation practice was able to upregulate the function and metabolism of phagocytes, in parallel with the reduction of the plasma levels of corticotrophin. The results of this study point to a possible causal effect between these events, and indicate that pranic meditation could be useful for stimulating the function and
Ong, Jason C.; Manber, Rachel; Segal, Zindel; Xia, Yinglin; Shapiro, Shauna; Wyatt, James K.
Study Objectives: To evaluate the efficacy of mindfulness meditation for the treatment of chronic insomnia. Design: Three-arm, single-site, randomized controlled trial. Setting: Academic medical center. Participants: Fifty-four adults with chronic insomnia. Interventions: Participants were randomized to either mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), mindfulness-based therapy for insomnia (MBTI), or an eight-week self-monitoring (SM) condition. Measurements and Results: Patient-reported outcome measures were total wake time (TWT) from sleep diaries, the pre-sleep arousal scale (PSAS), measuring a prominent waking correlate of insomnia, and the Insomnia Severity Index (ISI) to determine remission and response as clinical endpoints. Objective sleep measures were derived from laboratory polysomnography and wrist actigraphy. Linear mixed models showed that those receiving a meditation-based intervention (MBSR or MBTI) had significantly greater reductions on TWT minutes (43.75 vs 1.09), PSAS (7.13 vs 0.16), and ISI (4.56 vs 0.06) from baseline-to-post compared to SM. Post hoc analyses revealed that each intervention was superior to SM on each of the patient-reported measures, but no significant differences were found when comparing MBSR to MBTI from baseline-to-post. From baseline to 6-month follow-up, MBTI had greater reductions in ISI scores than MBSR (P insomnia and could provide an alternative to traditional treatments for insomnia. Trial Registration: Mindfulness-Based Approaches to Insomnia: clinicaltrials.gov, identifier: NCT00768781 Citation: Ong JC, Manber R, Segal Z, Xia Y, Shapiro S, Wyatt JK. A randomized controlled trial of mindfulness meditation for chronic insomnia. SLEEP 2014;37(9):1553-1563. PMID:25142566
Cuellar, Norma G
Mindfulness meditation (MfM) is a mind-body therapy identified by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Initially taught in a formal classroom setting, MfM is a sustainable intervention with minimal costs that can be used over time. For veterans, after mastery, this technique shows promise in improving health outcomes and quality of life. This article describes MfM, discusses the conceptual framework and evidence-based research for MfM, and identifies the implications of MfM use by health care providers who are caring for war veterans.
Singh, Yogesh; Sharma, Ratna; Talwar, Anjana
With the current globalization of the world's economy and demands for enhanced performance, stress is present universally. Life's stressful events and daily stresses cause both deleterious and cumulative effects on the human body. The practice of meditation might offer a way to relieve that stress. The research team intended to study the effects of meditation on stress-induced changes in physiological parameters, cognitive functions, intelligence, and emotional quotients. The research team conducted the study in two phases, with a month between them. Each participant served as his own control, and the first phase served as the control for the second phase. In phase 1, the research team studied the effects of a stressor (10 minutes playing a computer game) on participants' stress levels. In phase 2, the research team examined the effects of meditation on stress levels. The research team conducted the study in a lab setting at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, India. The participants were 34 healthy, male volunteers who were students. To study the effects of long-term meditation on stress levels, intelligence, emotional quotients, and cognitive functions participants meditated daily for 1 month, between phases 1 and 2. To study the immediate effects of meditation on stress levels, participants meditated for 15 minutes after playing a computer game to induce stress. The research team measured galvanic skin response (GSR), heart rate (HR), and salivary cortisol and administered tests for the intelligence and emotional quotients (IQ and EQ), acute and perceived stress (AS and PS), and cognitive functions (ie, the Sternberg memory test [short-term memory] and the Stroop test [cognitive flexibility]). Using a pre-post study design, the team performed this testing (1) prior to the start of the study (baseline); (2) in phase 1, after induced stress; (3) in part 1 of phase 2, after 1 month of daily meditation, and (4) in part 2 of phase 2, after
Marzetti, Laura; Di Lanzo, Claudia; Zappasodi, Filippo; Chella, Federico; Raffone, Antonino; Pizzella, Vittorio
According to several conceptualizations of meditation, the interplay between brain systems associated to self-related processing, attention and executive control is crucial for meditative states and related traits. We used magnetoencephalography (MEG) to investigate such interplay in a highly selected group of “virtuoso” meditators (Theravada Buddhist monks), with long-term training in the two main meditation styles: focused attention (FA) and open monitoring (OM) meditation. Specifically, we investigated the differences between FA meditation, OM meditation and resting state in the coupling between the posterior cingulate cortex, core node of the Default Mode Network (DMN) implicated in mind wandering and self-related processing, and the whole brain, with a recently developed phase coherence approach. Our findings showed a state dependent coupling of posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) to nodes of the DMN and of the executive control brain network in the alpha frequency band (8–12 Hz), related to different attentional and cognitive control processes in FA and OM meditation, consistently with the putative role of alpha band synchronization in the functional mechanisms for attention and consciousness. The coupling of PCC with left medial prefrontal cortex (lmPFC) and superior frontal gyrus characterized the contrast between the two meditation styles in a way that correlated with meditation expertise. These correlations may be related to a higher mindful observing ability and a reduced identification with ongoing mental activity in more expert meditators. Notably, different styles of meditation and different meditation expertise appeared to modulate the dynamic balance between fronto-parietal (FP) and DMN networks. Our results support the idea that the interplay between the DMN and the FP network in the alpha band is crucial for the transition from resting state to different meditative states. PMID:25360102
Full Text Available On average, the human hippocampus shows structural differences between meditators and non-meditators as well as between men and women. However, there is a lack of research exploring possible sex effects on hippocampal anatomy in the framework of meditation. Thus, we obtained high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging data from 30 long-term meditation practitioners (15 men / 15 women and 30 well-matched control subjects (15 men / 15 women to assess if hippocampus-specific effects manifest differently in male and female brains. Hippocampal dimensions were enlarged both in male and in female meditators when compared to sex- and age-matched controls. However, meditation effects differed between men and women in magnitude, laterality, and location on the hippocampal surface. Such sex-divergent findings may be due to genetic (innate or acquired differences between male and female brains in the areas involved in meditation and/or suggest that male and female hippocampi are differently receptive to mindfulness practices.
Russell-Williams, Jesse; Jaroudi, Wafa; Perich, Tania; Hoscheidt, Siobhan; El Haj, Mohamad; Moustafa, Ahmed A
This study investigates the relationship between mindfulness, meditation, cognition and stress in people with Alzheimer's disease (AD), dementia, mild cognitive impairment and subjective cognitive decline. Accordingly, we explore how the use of meditation as a behavioural intervention can reduce stress and enhance cognition, which in turn ameliorates some dementia symptoms. A narrative review of the literature was conducted with any studies using meditation as an intervention for dementia or dementia-related memory conditions meeting inclusion criteria. Studies where moving meditation was the main intervention were excluded due to the possible confounding of exercise. Ten papers were identified and reviewed. There was a broad use of measures across all studies, with cognitive assessment, quality of life and perceived stress being the most common. Three studies used functional magnetic resonance imaging to measure functional changes to brain regions during meditation. The interventions fell into the following three categories: mindfulness, most commonly mindfulness-based stress reduction (six studies); Kirtan Kriya meditation (three studies); and mindfulness-based Alzheimer's stimulation (one study). Three of these studies were randomised controlled trials. All studies reported significant findings or trends towards significance in a broad range of measures, including a reduction of cognitive decline, reduction in perceived stress, increase in quality of life, as well as increases in functional connectivity, percent volume brain change and cerebral blood flow in areas of the cortex. Limitations and directions for future studies on meditation-based treatment for AD and stress management are suggested.
Full Text Available This paper deals with the particularly relevant topic in the contemporary society – Asian meditative practices and methods of self-development. The first chapter deals with the notion of contemplative, enlightened consciousness in Daoism and Zen. The second chapter shows how meditative consciousness could be achieved through social tango. Six theses are argued as appropriate for both Daoism and Zen as well as tango: 1 contemplative, purified consciousness is empty of disturbing thoughts and focused toward the essence; 2 contemplative, purified consciousness is not only empty but also brimming full; 3 contemplative, purified consciousness is identical with everyday mind; 4 contemplative mind is functioning according to the principles of non-action and naturalness; 5 meditation leads toward the unity and integrity of consciousness and body, consciousness and outside world; 6 active meditation is an effective way to obtain aims mentioned above. The argumentation of such thesis helps to show that tango is akin to various meditative practices. So it could not only be successfully used as a form of entertainment but also as a meditative practice, leading toward aims, similar to those of Zen meditations.
Full Text Available Scientific studies addressing anatomical variations in meditators’ brains have emerged rapidly over the last few years, where significant links are most frequently reported with respect to gray matter (GM. To advance prior work, this study examined GM characteristics in a large sample of 100 subjects (50 meditators, 50 controls, where meditators have been practicing close to twenty years, on average. A standard, whole-brain voxel-based morphometry approach was applied and revealed significant meditation effects in the vicinity of the hippocampus, showing more GM in meditators than in controls as well as positive correlations with the number of years practiced. However, the hippocampal complex is regionally segregated by architecture, connectivity, and functional relevance. Thus, to establish differential effects within the hippocampal formation (cornu ammonis, fascia dentate, entorhinal cortex, subiculum as well as the hippocampal-amygdaloid transition area, we utilized refined cytoarchitectonic probabilistic maps of (peri- hippocampal subsections. Significant meditation effects were observed within the subiculum specifically. Since the subiculum is known to play a key role in stress regulation and meditation is an established form of stress reduction, these GM findings may reflect neuronal preservation in long-term meditators – perhaps due to an attenuated release of stress hormones and decreased neurotoxicity.
Luders, Eileen; Kurth, Florian; Toga, Arthur W.; Narr, Katherine L.; Gaser, Christian
Scientific studies addressing anatomical variations in meditators' brains have emerged rapidly over the last few years, where significant links are most frequently reported with respect to gray matter (GM). To advance prior work, this study examined GM characteristics in a large sample of 100 subjects (50 meditators, 50 controls), where meditators have been practicing close to 20 years, on average. A standard, whole-brain voxel-based morphometry approach was applied and revealed significant meditation effects in the vicinity of the hippocampus, showing more GM in meditators than in controls as well as positive correlations with the number of years practiced. However, the hippocampal complex is regionally segregated by architecture, connectivity, and functional relevance. Thus, to establish differential effects within the hippocampal formation (cornu ammonis, fascia dentata, entorhinal cortex, subiculum) as well as the hippocampal-amygdaloid transition area, we utilized refined cytoarchitectonic probabilistic maps of (peri-) hippocampal subsections. Significant meditation effects were observed within the subiculum specifically. Since the subiculum is known to play a key role in stress regulation and meditation is an established form of stress reduction, these GM findings may reflect neuronal preservation in long-term meditators—perhaps due to an attenuated release of stress hormones and decreased neurotoxicity. PMID:23847572
Black, David S; Slavich, George M
Mindfulness meditation represents a mental training framework for cultivating the state of mindful awareness in daily life. Recently, there has been a surge of interest in how mindfulness meditation improves human health and well-being. Although studies have shown that mindfulness meditation can improve self-reported measures of disease symptomatology, the effect that mindfulness meditation has on biological mechanisms underlying human aging and disease is less clear. To address this issue, we conducted the first comprehensive review of randomized controlled trials examining the effects of mindfulness meditation on immune system parameters, with a specific focus on five outcomes: (1) circulating and stimulated inflammatory proteins, (2) cellular transcription factors and gene expression, (3) immune cell count, (4) immune cell aging, and (5) antibody response. This analysis revealed substantial heterogeneity across studies with respect to patient population, study design, and assay procedures. The findings suggest possible effects of mindfulness meditation on specific markers of inflammation, cell-mediated immunity, and biological aging, but these results are tentative and require further replication. On the basis of this analysis, we describe the limitations of existing work and suggest possible avenues for future research. Mindfulness meditation may be salutogenic for immune system dynamics, but additional work is needed to examine these effects. © 2016 New York Academy of Sciences.
Iwakuma, Miho; Oshita, Daien; Yamamoto, Akihiro; Urushibara-Miyachi, Yuka
On March 11, 2013, the Great East Japan Earthquake (magnitude 9) hit the northern part of Japan (Tohoku), killing more than 15 000 people and leaving long-lasting scars, including psychological damage among evacuees, some of whom were health professionals. Little is known about meditation efficacy on disaster-affected health professionals. The present study investigated the effects of breathing-based meditation on seminar participants who were health professionals who had survived the earthquake. This study employed a mixed methods approach, using both survey data and handwritten qualitative data. Quantitative results of pre- and postmeditation practice indicated that all mood scales (anger, confusion, depression, fatigue, strain, and vigor) were significantly improved (N = 17). Qualitative results revealed several common themes (emancipation from chronic and bodily senses; holistic sense: transcending mind-body; re-turning an axis in life through reflection, self-control, and/or gratitude; meditation into mundane, everyday life; and coming out of pain in the aftermath of the earthquake) that had emerged as expressions of participant meditation experiences. Following the 45-minute meditation session, the present study participants reported improvements in all psychological states (anger, confusion, depression, fatigue, strain, and vigor) in the quantitative portion, which indicated efficacy of the meditation. Our analysis of the qualitative portion revealed what and how participants felt during meditating.
Delorme, Arnaud; Polich, John
Long-term Vipassana meditators sat in meditation vs. a control (instructed mind wandering) states for 25 min, electroencephalography (EEG) was recorded and condition order counterbalanced. For the last 4 min, a three-stimulus auditory oddball series was presented during both meditation and control periods through headphones and no task imposed. Time-frequency analysis demonstrated that meditation relative to the control condition evinced decreased evoked delta (2–4 Hz) power to distracter stimuli concomitantly with a greater event-related reduction of late (500–900 ms) alpha-1 (8–10 Hz) activity, which indexed altered dynamics of attentional engagement to distracters. Additionally, standard stimuli were associated with increased early event-related alpha phase synchrony (inter-trial coherence) and evoked theta (4–8 Hz) phase synchrony, suggesting enhanced processing of the habituated standard background stimuli. Finally, during meditation, there was a greater differential early-evoked gamma power to the different stimulus classes. Correlation analysis indicated that this effect stemmed from a meditation state-related increase in early distracter-evoked gamma power and phase synchrony specific to longer-term expert practitioners. The findings suggest that Vipassana meditation evokes a brain state of enhanced perceptual clarity and decreased automated reactivity. PMID:22648958
Full Text Available Female non-Buddhists have been writing detailed descriptions of their personal experiences in vipassanā meditation retreats since the 1960s. These memoirists relate to the English-speaking world their experience of the retreat process and self-transformations. Early memoirists traveled Asia in order to learn and practice vipassanā meditation. These memoirs are as much about the meditation practice itself as living in an Asian culture. The mindfulness craze, beginning in the late 2000s, brought with it increased awareness of vipassanā practice. At this time we see a renewed interest in recording vipassanā retreat experiences, but these are even more personal and not concerned with travel, as many vipassanā meditation retreats are now available outside of Asia. I consider four female memoirists: Marie Byles and Jane Hamilton-Smith, writing in the 1960s and 1970s, and Raji Lukkoor, and Jennifer Howd, whose memoirs appeared in 2010 and 2014, respectively. These women’s writings demonstrate that, although non-Buddhist female meditators understand vipassanā meditation as a nongendered practice, it is still an embodied, gendered experience. Each of these women has different reactions to the female gender on the retreat, from outrage at gender discrimination to acceptance of it, from judgment of female teachers and meditators to revealing a more feminine self.
Arambula, P; Peper, E; Kawakami, M; Gibney, K H
This study explores the physiological correlates of a highly practiced Kundalini Yoga meditator. Thoracic and abdominal breathing patterns, heart rate (HR), occipital parietal electroencephalograph (EEG), skin conductance level (SCL), and blood volume pulse (BVP) were monitored during prebaseline, meditation, and postbaseline periods. Visual analyses of the data showed a decrease in respiration rate during the meditation from a mean of 11 breaths/min for the pre- and 13 breaths/min for the postbaseline to a mean of 5 breaths/min during the meditation, with a predominance of abdominal/diaphragmatic breathing. There was also more alpha EEG activity during the meditation (M = 1.71 microV) compared to the pre- (M = .47 microV) and postbaseline (M = .78 microV) periods, and an increase in theta EEG activity immediately following the meditation (M = .62 microV) compared to the pre-baseline and meditative periods (each with M = .26 microV). These findings suggest that a shift in breathing patterns may contribute to the development of alpha EEG, and those patterns need to be investigated further.
Lymeus, Freddie; Lindberg, Per; Hartig, Terry
Mindfulness courses conventionally use effortful, focused meditation to train attention. In contrast, natural settings can effortlessly support state mindfulness and restore depleted attention resources, which could facilitate meditation. We performed two studies that compared conventional training with restoration skills training (ReST) that taught low-effort open monitoring meditation in a garden over five weeks. Assessments before and after meditation on multiple occasions showed that ReST meditation increasingly enhanced attention performance. Conventional meditation enhanced attention initially but increasingly incurred effort, reflected in performance decrements toward the course end. With both courses, attentional improvements generalized in the first weeks of training. Against established accounts, the generalized improvements thus occurred before any effort was incurred by the conventional exercises. We propose that restoration rather than attention training can account for early attentional improvements with meditation. ReST holds promise as an undemanding introduction to mindfulness and as a method to enhance restoration in nature contacts. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Schoenberger, Nancy E; Matheis, Robert J; Shiflett, Samuel C; Cotter, Ann C
To assess the attitudes and practices of professionals in the field of physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R) regarding prayer and meditation. A national mail survey that included questions about the use of a number of complementary and alternative therapies. The survey was mailed to 7,479 physicians, nurses, physical therapists, and occupational therapists who specialize in PM&R, and 1221 (17%) returned completed surveys. Although the majority of respondents endorsed prayer as a legitimate health care practice, there was greater belief in the benefits of meditation. Older respondents were more likely to recommend meditation to their patients and more likely to meditate themselves. Gender differences that were observed in opinions and practices are better interpreted as differences in professional specialty. In general, nurses and occupational therapists responded more positively toward meditation and prayer than did physicians and physical therapists. Personal use of a technique was the strongest predictor of professional behaviors. Attitude was a stronger predictor of professional use or referral for prayer than meditation, but correlations between attitude and behavior were generally weak for both techniques. Despite their acceptance of these techniques, the vast majority of rehabilitation professionals did not refer their patients for meditation or religious consultation. Although there were significant relationships among beliefs, and personal and professional behaviors regarding these techniques, a large part of the variance in professional behaviors was not accounted for by age, gender, opinion, or personal behavior, indicating that other influences exert a stronger effect on professional practice decisions.
Background One form of meditation intervention, the integrative body-mind training (IBMT) has been shown to improve attention, reduce stress and change self-reports of mood. In this paper we examine whether short-term IBMT can improve performance related to creativity and determine the role that mood may play in such improvement. Methods Forty Chinese undergraduates were randomly assigned to short-term IBMT group or a relaxation training (RT) control group. Mood and creativity performance were assessed by the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS) and Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking (TTCT) questionnaire respectively. Results As predicted, the results indicated that short-term (30 min per day for 7 days) IBMT improved creativity performance on the divergent thinking task, and yielded better emotional regulation than RT. In addition, cross-lagged analysis indicated that both positive and negative affect may influence creativity in IBMT group (not RT group). Conclusions Our results suggested that emotion-related creativity-promoting mechanism may be attributed to short-term meditation. PMID:24645871
Martires, Joanne; Zeidler, Michelle
Insomnia is the most common reported sleep disorder with limited treatment options including pharmacotherapy and cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia. Pharmacotherapy can be complicated by tolerance and significant side-effects and cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia providers are limited in number. This article reviews mindfulness meditation as an additional therapy for insomnia. Both mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) and mindfulness-based therapy for insomnia (MBTI) have been studied in the treatment of insomnia. Randomized controlled studies of MBSR and MBTI have shown overall reduction in sleep latency and total wake time and increase in total sleep time after mindfulness therapy using both patient reported outcome and quantitative measures of sleep. Mindfulness techniques have been shown to be well accepted by patients with long-lasting effects. A three-arm randomized study with MBSR, MBTI, and self-monitoring showed similar improvement in insomnia between the MBSR and MBTI groups, with possibly longer duration of efficacy in the MBTI group. Recent data show that MBTI is also an effective and accepted treatment for insomnia in older patients. Increasing evidence shows that mindfulness meditation, delivered either via MBSR or MBTI, can be successfully used for the treatment of insomnia with good patient acceptance and durable results.
Full Text Available Background: In Indian scriptures the sacred syllable Om is the primordial sound from which all other sounds and creation emerge which signifies the Supreme Power. Aims: To explore the significance of the syllable OM from ancient texts and effects of OM meditation in contemporary science. Descriptions from ancient texts: The descriptions of Om have been taken from four Upanisads (Mundaka, Mandukya, Svetasvatara, and Katha, the Bhagvad Gita, and Patanjali′s Yoga Sutras. Scientific studies on Om: Autonomic and respiratory studies suggest that there is a combination of mental alertness with physiological rest during the practice of Om meditation. Evoked potentials studies suggest a decrease in sensory transmission time at the level of the auditory association cortices, along with recruitment of more neurons at mesencephalic-diencephalic levels. Conclusion: It is considered that a person who realizes Om, merges with the Absolute. Scientific studies on Om suggest that the mental repetition of Om results in physiological alertness, and increased sensitivity to sensory transmission.
Full Text Available The question of what Descartes did and did not doubt in the Meditations has received a significant amount of scholarly attention in recent years. The process of doubt in Meditation I gives one the impression of a rather extreme form of skepticism, while the responses Descartes offers in the Objections and Replies make it clear that there is in fact a whole background of presuppositions that are never doubted, including many that are never even entertained as possible candidates of doubt. This paper resolves the question of this undoubted background of rationality by taking seriously Descartes’ claim that he is carrying out demonstrations modeled after the great geometers. The rational order of geometrical demonstration demands that we first clear away previous demonstrations not proven with the certainty necessary for genuine science. This is accomplished by the method of doubt, which is only applied to the results of possible demonstrations. What cannot be doubted are the very concepts and principles employed in carrying out geometrical demonstration, which enable it to take place. It would be senseless to ask whether we can doubt the essential components of the structure through which questioning, doubting, and demonstration are made possible.
Full Text Available Several cortical regions are reported to vary in meditation practitioners. However, since prior analyses were focused on examining gray matter or cortical thickness, additional effects with respect to other cortical features might have remained undetected. Gyrification (the pattern and degree of cortical folding is an important cerebral characteristic related to the geometry of the brain’s surface. Cortical folding occurs early in development and might be linked to behavioral traits. Thus, exploring cortical gyrification in long-term meditators may provide additional clues with respect to the underlying anatomical correlates of meditation. This study examined cortical gyrification in a large sample (n=100 of meditators and controls, carefully matched for sex and age. Cortical gyrification was established via calculating mean curvature across thousands of vertices on individual cortical surface models. Pronounced group differences indicating larger gyrification in meditators were evident within the left precentral gyrus, right fusiform gyrus, right cuneus, as well as left and right anterior dorsal insula (the latter representing the global significance maximum. Although the exact functional implications of larger cortical gyrification remain to be established, these findings suggest the insula to be a key structure involved in aspects of meditation. For example, variations in insular complexity could affect the regulation of well-known distractions in the process of meditation, such as daydreaming, mind-wandering, and projections into past or future. Moreover, given that meditators are masters in introspection, awareness, and emotional control, increased insular gyrification may reflect an ideal integration of autonomic, affective, and cognitive processes. Due to the cross-sectional nature of this study, further research is necessary determine the relative contribution of nature and nurture to links between cortical gyrification and meditation.
Full Text Available We investigated brain functional connectivity comparing no-task resting to breath counting (a meditation exercise but given as task without referring to meditation. Functional connectivity computed as EEG coherence between head-surface data suffers from localization ambiguity, reference dependence, and overestimation due to volume conduction. Lagged coherence between intracortical model sources addresses these criticisms. With this analysis approach, experienced meditators reportedly showed reduced coherence during meditation, meditation-naïve participants have not yet been investigated. 58-channel EEG from 23 healthy, right-handed, meditation-naïve males during resting [3 runs] and breath counting [2 runs] was computed into sLORETA time series of intracortical electrical activity in 19 regions of interest corresponding to the cortex underlying 19 scalp electrode sites, for each of the 8 independent EEG frequency bands covering 1.5-44 Hz. Intracortical lagged coherences and head-surface conventional coherences were computed between the 19 regions/sites. During breath counting compared to resting, paired t-tests corrected for multiple testing revealed 4 significantly lower intracortical lagged coherences, but 4 significantly higher head-surface conventional coherences. Lowered intracortical lagged coherences involved left BA 10 and right BAs 3, 10, 17, 40. In conclusion, intracortical lagged coherence can yield results that are inverted to those of head-surface conventional coherence. The lowered functional connectivity between cognitive control areas and sensory perception areas during meditation-type breath counting compared to resting conceivably reflects the attention to a bodily percept without cognitive reasoning. The reductions in functional connectivity were similar but not as widespread as the reductions reported during meditation in experienced meditators.
Williams, Anna-Leila; Ness, Peter Van; Dixon, Jane; McCorkle, Ruth
Despite solid basic science research supporting meditation's physiologic benefits, meditation remains a marginalized practice for many Westerners; observational and descriptive studies indicate a spectrum of barriers to meditation practice. The aim of this study was to determine differences in barriers to meditation by gender and age. A cross-sectional survey study of 150 family caregivers to adults with cancer visiting an outpatient chemotherapy center in Connecticut was conducted. The primary outcome was the Determinants of Meditation Practice Inventory. Explanatory variables included demographic characteristics, Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression Scale, Big Five Inventory, and Caregiver Reaction Assessment. Participants included 98 women and 52 men. Age range was 18-84 years (M = 52.3 years). The highest frequency of barriers for both genders related to misconceptions about meditation. The total number of barriers to meditation did not significantly vary by gender (p = .10) nor age (p = .27). After adjusting for personality trait, reactions to caregiving, and emotional distress, gender (adjusted β = 0.81, SE = 1.70, p = .63) and age (adjusted β = 0.02, SE = 0.05, p = .67) still did not predict the number of barriers to meditation. Backward elimination in model building showed that personality trait and reactions to caregiving account for 32% of the variability in barriers. The total number of barriers to meditation was examined, and a difference was not found by age or gender. It is possible that differences by age and gender exist at the item level of evaluation but were not evident when evaluating total scores. Further study is needed with samples large enough to have statistical power for item-level analysis.
Moore, Adam; Gruber, Thomas; Derose, Jennifer; Malinowski, Peter
Mindfulness-based meditation practices involve various attentional skills, including the ability to sustain and focus ones attention. During a simple mindful breathing practice, sustained attention is required to maintain focus on the breath while cognitive control is required to detect mind wandering. We thus hypothesized that regular, brief mindfulness training would result in improvements in the self-regulation of attention and foster changes in neuronal activity related to attentional control. A longitudinal randomized control group EEG study was conducted. At baseline (T1), 40 meditation naïve participants were randomized into a wait list group and a meditation group, who received three hours mindfulness meditation training. Twenty-eight participants remained in the final analysis. At T1, after eight weeks (T2) and after 16 weeks (T3), all participants performed a computerized Stroop task (a measure of attentional control) while the 64-channel EEG was recorded. Between T1 and T3 the meditators were requested to meditate daily for 10 min. Event-related potential (ERP) analysis highlighted two between group effects that developed over the course of the 16-week mindfulness training. An early effect at left and right posterior sites 160–240 ms post-stimulus indicated that meditation practice improved the focusing of attentional resources. A second effect at central posterior sites 310–380 ms post-stimulus reflects that meditation practice reduced the recruitment of resources during object recognition processes, especially for incongruent stimuli. Scalp topographies and source analyses (Variable Resolution Electromagnetic Tomography, VARETA) indicate relevant changes in neural sources, pertaining to left medial and lateral occipitotemporal areas for the early effect and right lateral occipitotemporal and inferior temporal areas for the later effect. The results suggest that mindfulness meditation may alter the efficiency of allocating cognitive resources
Chan, Roxane Raffin; Lehto, Rebecca H
Persons with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) exhibit high levels of comorbid anxiety that severely worsens their sensation of dyspnea and is associated with high levels of avoidance of essential activities resulting in an increase morbidity and mortality. Increasing meditation and mind/body practices have been shown to decrease anxiety, and improve intrapersonal and interpersonal relationships in general populations, however, results of studies in the COPD population have been mixed. Understanding how persons with COPD experience learning meditation and mind/body skills would aid future meditation-focused mind/body intervention design. A mixed-method study of a community based meditation-focused mind/body intervention for persons with COPD. Reflective journaling, phone exit interviews and survey measures: chronic disease respiratory questionnaire, and Anxiety Sensitivity 3 questionnaire. Eight weekly one hour meditation-focused mind/body classes that taught concentration and insight meditation skills along with mind/body exercises that facilitated increased body and emotional awareness. Out of 41 participants, 32 (73%) contributed detailed experience about learning and practicing meditation and mind/body practices that distilled into four themes, barriers to practice, learning style, emotional processing, and benefits of practice. Of those 32 participants 21 (73%) identified improvement in physical or emotional symptoms. Overall, 13 (40%) participants provided details regarding how they adapted specific meditation skills into daily life to improve emotional function and lessen dyspnea. Anxiety sensitivity to social situations was associated with a lack of participation. Lessons learned for larger scale application to future meditation and mind/body intervention design for chronic illness populations such as COPD are identified. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Ball, Michael Stephen; Vernon, Bryan
Our objective was to review how meditation could comfort the terminally ill. Our methodology was a literature search, which included books, journals, papers in collections, and online databases. The main search engines employed were Google Scholar and the Durham University Library. The main databases consulted were the Christian Meditation Centre, Project Meditation, and Stress-Related Facts and Well-Being at Monash. We were specifically interested in data acquired from clinical and nonclinical trials. The arguments needed to be based on qualitative and quantitative scientific data. Papers were published between 1985 and 2014. We then subdivided the review into three subcategories: physical, emotional, and self-awareness. When reviewing each category, we put our results into tabular form. In each table, we noted the percentage of terminally ill patients (TIPs) and non-terminally ill patients (NTIPs), and whether meditation had comforted them. Our review demonstrated that there are many areas that have yet to be researched. First, very little work has been done on how meditation affects the physical health of TIPs, including such variables as blood pressure, chronic pain, and sleeping patterns. However, no research has been done on heart disease, hypertension, depression, among others. Second, virtually no research has been conducted on how meditation affects the mental health of TIPs. Notably neglected areas include anxiety, compliance, depression, and stress. Third, no research has been done on whether meditation increases self-awareness in TIPs. In each of these cases, most NTIPs reacted positively; however, no research has been done on why TIPs reacted differently. Our results demonstrate the need for further research on how meditation affects terminally ill patients. In turn, this would enrich the debate on whether meditation should be prescribed for the dying.
Full Text Available Despite the long-term use and evidence-based efficacy of meditation and mindfulness-based interventions, there is still a lack of data about the possible unwanted effects (UEs of these practices. The aim of this study was to evaluate the occurrence of UEs among meditation practitioners, considering moderating factors such as the type, frequency, and lifetime duration of the meditation practices.An online survey was developed and disseminated through several websites, such as Spanish-, English- and Portuguese-language scientific research portals related to mindfulness and meditation. After excluding people who did not answer the survey correctly or completely and those who had less than two months of meditation experience, a total of 342 people participated in the study. However, only 87 reported information about UEs.The majority of the practitioners were women from Spain who were married and had a University education level. Practices were more frequently informal, performed on a daily basis, and followed by focused attention (FA. Among the participants, 25.4% reported UEs, showing that severity varies considerably. The information requested indicated that most of the UEs were transitory and did not lead to discontinuing meditation practice or the need for medical assistance. They were more frequently reported in relation to individual practice, during focused attention meditation, and when practising for more than 20 minutes and alone. The practice of body awareness was associated with UEs to a lesser extent, whereas focused attention was associated more with UEs.This is the first large-scale, multi-cultural study on the UEs of meditation. Despite its limitations, this study suggests that UEs are prevalent and transitory and should be further studied. We recommend the use of standardized questionnaires to assess the UEs of meditation practices.
Cebolla, Ausiàs; Demarzo, Marcelo; Martins, Patricia; Soler, Joaquim; Garcia-Campayo, Javier
Despite the long-term use and evidence-based efficacy of meditation and mindfulness-based interventions, there is still a lack of data about the possible unwanted effects (UEs) of these practices. The aim of this study was to evaluate the occurrence of UEs among meditation practitioners, considering moderating factors such as the type, frequency, and lifetime duration of the meditation practices. An online survey was developed and disseminated through several websites, such as Spanish-, English- and Portuguese-language scientific research portals related to mindfulness and meditation. After excluding people who did not answer the survey correctly or completely and those who had less than two months of meditation experience, a total of 342 people participated in the study. However, only 87 reported information about UEs. The majority of the practitioners were women from Spain who were married and had a University education level. Practices were more frequently informal, performed on a daily basis, and followed by focused attention (FA). Among the participants, 25.4% reported UEs, showing that severity varies considerably. The information requested indicated that most of the UEs were transitory and did not lead to discontinuing meditation practice or the need for medical assistance. They were more frequently reported in relation to individual practice, during focused attention meditation, and when practising for more than 20 minutes and alone. The practice of body awareness was associated with UEs to a lesser extent, whereas focused attention was associated more with UEs. This is the first large-scale, multi-cultural study on the UEs of meditation. Despite its limitations, this study suggests that UEs are prevalent and transitory and should be further studied. We recommend the use of standardized questionnaires to assess the UEs of meditation practices.
Adam W Moore
Full Text Available Mindfulness based meditation practices involve various attentional skills, including the ability to sustain and focus ones attention. During a simple mindful breathing practice, sustained attention is required to maintain focus on the breath while cognitive control is required to detect mind wandering. We thus hypothesized that regular, brief mindfulness training would result in improvements in the self regulation of attention and foster changes in neuronal activity related to attentional control.A longitudinal randomized control group EEG study was conducted. At baseline (T1, 40 meditation naïve participants were randomized into a wait list group and a meditation group, who received three hours mindfulness meditation training. 28 participants remained in the final analysis. At T1, after 8 weeks (T2 and after 16 weeks (T3, all participants performed a computerized Stroop task (a measure of attentional control while the 64-channel EEG was recorded. Between T1 and T3 the meditators were requested to meditate daily for ten minutes.Event-related potential (ERP analysis highlighted two between group effects that developed over the course of the 16-week mindfulness training. An early effect at left and right posterior sites 160 – 240 ms post stimulus indicated that meditation practice improved the focusing of attentional resources. A second effect at central posterior sites 310 – 380 ms post stimulus reflects that meditation practice reduced the recruitment of resources during object recognition processes, especially for incongruent stimuli. Scalp topographies and source analyses (VARETA indicate relevant changes in neural sources, pertaining to left medial and lateral occipitotemporal areas for the early effect and right lateral occipitotemporal and inferior temporal areas for the later effect.The results suggest that mindfulness meditation may alter the efficiency of allocating cognitive resources, leading to improved self regulation of
Vestergaard-Poulsen, Peter; Beek, Martijn van; Skewes, Joshua
density in lower brain stem regions of experienced meditators compared with age-matched nonmeditators. Our findings show that long-term practitioners of meditation have structural differences in brainstem regions concerned with cardiorespiratory control. This could account for some......Extensive practice involving sustained attention can lead to changes in brain structure. Here, we report evidence of structural differences in the lower brainstem of participants engaged in the long-term practice of meditation. Using magnetic resonance imaging, we observed higher gray matter...
Sangram G Patil
Full Text Available Chronic low back pain (CLBP is challenging to treat with its significant psychological and cognitive behavioural element involved. Mindfulness meditation helps alter the behavioural response in chronic pain situations. Significant body of research in the filed of mindfulness meditation comes from the work of Dr Kabat-Zinn. The current evidence in the field, though not grade one, shows that there is a place for mindfulness meditation in managing chronic pain conditions including CLBP. Further research to test the usefulness of mindfulness in CLBP should involve good quality randomized controlled trials of pure mindfulness based technique in matched subjects.
Shapiro, D H
In 1977 the American Psychiatric Association called for a critical examination of the clinical effectiveness of meditation. The author provides a review of the literature bearing on clinical and physiological comparisons of meditation with other self-control strategies. He begins by providing a definition of mediation and then cites the literature comparing mediation with such self-regulation strategies as biofeedback, hypnosis, and progressive relaxation. He pays particular attention to the "uniqueness" of mediation as a clinical intervention strategy a well as the adverse effects of meditation. Finally, he offers suggestions and guidelines for future research.
Burke, Adam; Lam, Chun Nok; Stussman, Barbara; Yang, Hui
Despite a growing body of scientific literature exploring the nature of meditation there is limited information on the characteristics of individuals who use it. This is particularly true of comparative studies examining prevalence and predictors of use of various forms of meditation. A secondary analysis was conducted using data from the 2012 National Health Interview Survey (n = 34,525). Three popular forms of meditation were compared-mantra, mindfulness, and spiritual-to determine lifetime and 12-month use related to key sociodemographic, health behavior, health status, and healthcare access variables. The 12-month prevalence for meditation practice was 3.1% for spiritual meditation, 1.9% for mindfulness meditation, and 1.6% for mantra meditation. This represents approximately 7.0, 4.3, and 3.6 million adults respectively. A comparison across the three meditation practices found many similarities in user characteristics, suggesting interest in meditation may be more related to the type of person meditating than to the type of practice selected. Across meditation styles use was more prevalent among respondents who were female, non-Hispanic White, college educated, physically active; who used other complementary health practices; and who reported depression. Higher utilization of conventional healthcare services was one of the strongest predictors of use of all three styles. In addition to similarities, important distinctions were observed. For example, spiritual meditation practice was more prevalent among former drinkers. This may reflect use of spiritual meditation practices in support of alcohol treatment and sobriety. Reasons for use of meditation were examined using the sample of respondents who practiced mindfulness meditation. Wellness and prevention (74%) was a more common reason than use to treat a specific health condition (30%). Common reasons for use included stress management (92%) and emotional well-being (91%), and to support other health
Lacaille, Julien; Sadikaj, Gentiana; Nishioka, Midori; Carrière, Kimberly; Flanders, Joseph; Knäuper, Bärbel
Although meditation practice is an important component of many mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs), empirical findings of its effects on psychological functioning are mixed and the mechanisms for the effects remain unclear. Responding with mindfulness (i.e., returning one's attention back to a nonjudgmental, present-oriented awareness) is a fundamental skill practiced in meditations. With repeated meditation practice, this skill is thought to become internalized and be applied to one's daily life. We thus hypothesized that the extent to which individuals responded to daily events with mindfulness would mediate the effects of meditation practice (instance, duration, and adherence to instructions) on psychological well-being. Using a daily diary methodology, we tracked the meditation practice, use of mindful responding during the day, and psychological outcomes (perceived stress, negative and positive affect) of 117 mindfulness-based stress reduction program participants. We found that on days when participants meditated, they responded with greater mindfulness to daily events, which accounted for the beneficial effects of meditating on psychological outcomes. Furthermore, findings suggest that on meditation days, longer and more closely adhered meditation practices were independently associated with increases in mindful responding, which in turn were associated with better psychological outcomes. These results suggest that regular, longer, and more closely adhered meditation practice is an important component of MBIs, in part because it leads to responding more mindfully in daily life, which promotes well-being. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Jensen, Christian Gaden; Holde, Louise Victoria Alliverti
Meditation is increasingly applied in health promotion and clinical interventions although the influence of meditation during multimodal interventions is unclear. Even among meditation-based interventions (MBI), theories and recommendations concerning meditation vary substantially. Our primary...... purpose is to discuss from an empirical base if MBI-participants’ amount of meditation practice is a substantial factor for the treatment effects. We investigate this especially by reviewing MBI-research on dose-effect relationships between meditation and outcome changes, and neuroimaging studies...... of meditators and MBI-participants. The clinical evidence shows that participants’ amount of meditation practice is not consistently related to treatment effects. Neuroscientific studies support this notion, since previous meditation practice has not been consistently or specifically related to structural...
a case of bottom up initiative, where the students themselves have demanded inclusion of non- conventional psychosocial interventions illustrated by meditation and mindfulness as Eastern psychological practices, thus filling the gap related to the existential, spiritual approaches. The western...
Alsaraireh, Faris Abdelkarim; Aloush, Sami Mohammad
Depression among nursing students is an ongoing problem. Several psychotherapies have been suggested as alternatives to antidepressants in the management of depression. The aim of this randomized controlled study was to compare the effectiveness of mindfulness meditation versus physical exercise in the management of depression among nursing students. A sample of 181 soon-to-graduate nursing students participated in the study and were assigned at random to one of two therapies: physical exercise (n = 90) or mindfulness meditation (n = 91). The Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale was completed by the participants in both groups prior to the therapies and after completion. The findings indicated that both therapies were effective in the management of depression. However, mindfulness meditation is more effective than physical exercise. Mindfulness meditation is recommended over physical exercise in the management of depression among undergraduate nursing students. [J Nurs Educ. 2017;56(10):599-604.]. Copyright 2017, SLACK Incorporated.
Carolina Baptista Menezes
Full Text Available AbstractMeditation has been associated with positive psychological outcomes, but few studies have investigated brief interventions. This randomized controlled pilot study assessed the effects of five days of focused meditation on positive and negative affect, state and trait anxiety, as well as concentrated attention in a nonclinical sample distributed in two groups (experimental = 14, 51.8% female, Mage= 23.9; control = 19, 62% female, Mage= 24.9. The instruments used were the Positive Affect and Negative Affect Scale, State and Trait Anxiety Inventory, and the Concentrated Attention Test. The meditation group reduced negative affect and trait anxiety, and also improved correct responses on the attention test, relative to controls. These preliminary findings indicate that even short focused meditation training may help improve some psychological variables. It is discussed that the early manifestation of these benefits may be especially relevant to strengthen the motivation to continue and practice regularly.
Pagnini, Francesco; Di Credico, Chiara; Gatto, Ramona; Fabiani, Viviana; Rossi, Gabriella; Lunetta, Christian; Marconi, Anna; Fossati, Federica; Castelnuovo, Gianluca; Tagliaferri, Aurora; Banfi, Paolo; Corbo, Massimo; Sansone, Valeria; Molinari, Enrico; Amadei, Gherardo
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive and fatal neurodegenerative disease that is clinically characterized by progressive weakness leading to death by respiratory insufficiency, usually within three years. Although the patient's intellect and personality usually remain unimpaired, as the disease progresses, the patient becomes immobile, develops wasting, and speech becomes impaired, often resulting in social isolation and a high degree of psychological suffering. Mindfulness meditation has proven to be effective technique for reducing distress in many chronic diseases. However, to date, no study has investigated the effect of mindfulness meditation on patients with ALS. A mindfulness meditation training program for ALS patients needs to consider the particularities of ALS symptoms, including the loss of muscular functions and difficulties in respiration, together with the subsequent emotional impairments. With these caveats in mind, a modified protocol, based on original mindfulness meditation interventions, has been created specifically for the ALS population. This article describes the protocol and preliminary results.
Katterman, Shawn N; Kleinman, Brighid M; Hood, Megan M; Nackers, Lisa M; Corsica, Joyce A
Mindfulness-based approaches are growing in popularity as interventions for disordered eating and weight loss. Initial research suggests that mindfulness meditation may be an effective intervention for binge eating; however, no systematic review has examined interventions where mindfulness meditation was the primary intervention and no review has examined its effect on subclinical disordered eating or weight. Using the PRISMA method for systematic reviews, we reviewed 14 studies that investigated mindfulness meditation as the primary intervention and assessed binge eating, emotional eating, and/or weight change. Results suggest that mindfulness meditation effectively decreases binge eating and emotional eating in populations engaging in this behavior; evidence for its effect on weight is mixed. Additional research is warranted to determine comparative effectiveness and long-term effects of mindfulness training. Copyright © 2014. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Full Text Available Numerous studies have documented the normal age-related decline of neural structure, function, and cognitive performance. Preliminary evidence suggests that meditation may reduce decline in specific cognitive domains and in brain structure. Here we extended this research by investigating the relation between age and fluid intelligence and resting state brain functional network architecture using graph theory, in middle-aged yoga and meditation practitioners, and matched controls. Fluid intelligence declined slower in yoga practitioners and meditators combined than in controls. Resting state functional networks of yoga practitioners and meditators combined were more integrated and more resilient to damage than those of controls. Furthermore, mindfulness was positively correlated with fluid intelligence, resilience, and global network efficiency. These findings reveal the possibility to increase resilience and to slow the decline of fluid intelligence and brain functional architecture and suggest that mindfulness plays a mechanistic role in this preservation.
Wahbeh, Helané; Sagher, Amira; Back, Wallis; Pundhir, Pooja; Travis, Frederick
Across cultures and throughout history, transcendent states achieved through meditative practices have been reported. The practices to attain transcendent states vary from transcendental meditation to yoga to contemplative prayer, to other various forms of sitting meditation. While these transcendent states are ascribed many different terms, those who experience them describe a similar unitive, ineffable state of consciousness. Despite the common description, few studies have systematically examined transcendent states during meditation. The objectives of this systematic review were to: 1) characterize studies evaluating transcendent states associated with meditation in any tradition; 2) qualitatively describe physiological and phenomenological outcomes collected during transcendent states and; 3) evaluate the quality of these studies using the Quality Assessment Tool. Medline, PsycINFO, CINAHL, AltHealthWatch, AMED, and the Institute of Noetic Science Meditation Library were searched for relevant papers in any language. Included studies required adult participants and the collection of outcomes before, during, or after a reported transcendent state associated with meditation. Twenty-five studies with a total of 672 combined participants were included in the final review. Participants were mostly male (61%; average age 39 ± 11 years) with 12.7 ± 6.6 (median 12.6; range 2-40) average years of meditation practice. A variety of meditation traditions were represented: (Buddhist; Christian; Mixed (practitioners from multiple traditions); Vedic: Transcendental Meditation and Yoga). The mean quality score was 67 ± 13 (100 highest score possible). Subjective phenomenology and the objective outcomes of electroencephalography (EEG), electrocardiography, electromyography, electrooculogram, event-related potentials, functional magnetic resonance imaging, magnetoencephalography, respiration, and skin conductance and response were measured. Transcendent states were most
Full Text Available Meditation proficiency is related to trait-like (learned effects on brain function, developed over time. Previous studies show increases in EEG power in lower frequency bands (theta, alpha in experienced meditators in both meditation states and baseline conditions. Higher gamma band power has been found in advanced Buddhist meditators, yet it is not known if this occurs in Yoga meditation practices. This study used eLORETA to compare differences in cortical source activity underlying scalp EEG from intermediate (mean experience 4 years and advanced (mean experience 30 years Australian meditators from the Satyananda Yoga tradition during a body-steadiness meditation, mantra meditation and non-meditation mental calculation condition. Intermediate Yoga meditators showed greater source activity in low frequencies (particularly theta and alpha1 during mental calculation, body-steadiness and mantra meditation. A similar spatial pattern of significant differences was found in all conditions but the number of significant voxels was double during body-steadiness and mantra meditation than in the non-meditation (calculation condition. These differences were greatest in right (R superior frontal and R precentral gyri and extended back to include the R parietal and occipital lobes. Advanced Yoga meditators showed greater activity in high frequencies (beta and especially gamma in all conditions but greatly expanded during meditation practice. Across all conditions (meditation and non-meditation differences were greatest in the same regions; R insula, R inferior frontal gyrus and R anterior temporal lobe. Distinct R core networks were identified in alpha1 (8-10 Hz and gamma (25-42 Hz bands respectively. The voxels recruited to these networks greatly expanded during meditation practice to include homologous regions of the left hemisphere. Functional interpretation parallels traditionally described stages of development in Yoga proficiency.
Modesto-Lowe, Vania; Farahmand, Pantea; Chaplin, Margaret; Sarro, Lauren
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) manifests by high levels of inattention, impulsiveness and hyperactivity. ADHD starts in childhood and results in impairments that continue into adulthood. While hyperactivity declines over time, inattention and executive function difficulties persist, leading to functional deficits. Adolescents and adults with ADHD have pervasive impairment in interpersonal and family relationships. They may develop addiction, delinquent behavior and comorbid psychiatric disorders. Despite advances in diagnosis and treatment, persistent residual symptoms are common, highlighting the need for novel treatment strategies. Mindfulness training, derived from Eastern meditation practices, may improve self-regulation of attention. It may also be a useful strategy to augment standard ADHD treatments and may be used as a potential tool to reduce impairments in patients with residual symptoms of ADHD. Clinically, this would manifest by an increased ability to suppress task-unrelated thoughts and distractions resulting in improved attention, completion of tasks and potential improvement in occupational and social function.
Lomas, T.; Cartwright, T.; Edginton, T.; Ridge, D.
Connell’s concept of hegemonic masculinity is often reduced to a singular construct, consisting of “toxic” traits viewed as detrimental to well-being. However, the concept allows for variation in hegemony, including the possibility of forms more conducive to well-being. Through in-depth interviews with thirty male meditators in the United Kingdom, we explored the social dimensions of meditation practice to examine its potential implications for well-being. Most participants became involved wi...
Creswell, J David; Pacilio, Laura E; Lindsay, Emily K; Brown, Kirk Warren
To test whether a brief mindfulness meditation training intervention buffers self-reported psychological and neuroendocrine responses to the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST) in young adult volunteers. A second objective evaluates whether pre-existing levels of dispositional mindfulness moderate the effects of brief mindfulness meditation training on stress reactivity. Sixty-six (N=66) participants were randomly assigned to either a brief 3-day (25-min per day) mindfulness meditation training or an analytic cognitive training control program. All participants completed a standardized laboratory social-evaluative stress challenge task (the TSST) following the third mindfulness meditation or cognitive training session. Measures of psychological (stress perceptions) and biological (salivary cortisol, blood pressure) stress reactivity were collected during the social evaluative stress-challenge session. Brief mindfulness meditation training reduced self-reported psychological stress reactivity but increased salivary cortisol reactivity to the TSST, relative to the cognitive training comparison program. Participants who were low in pre-existing levels of dispositional mindfulness and then received mindfulness meditation training had the greatest cortisol reactivity to the TSST. No significant main or interactive effects were observed for systolic or diastolic blood pressure reactivity to the TSST. The present study provides an initial indication that brief mindfulness meditation training buffers self-reported psychological stress reactivity, but also increases cortisol reactivity to social evaluative stress. This pattern may indicate that initially brief mindfulness meditation training fosters greater active coping efforts, resulting in reduced psychological stress appraisals and greater cortisol reactivity during social evaluative stressors. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Jared R. Lindahl
Full Text Available The scientific study of Buddhist meditation has proceeded without much attention to Buddhist literature that details the range of psychological and physiological changes thought to occur during meditation. This paper presents reports of various meditation-induced light experiences derived from American Buddhist practitioners. The reports of light experiences are classified into two main types: discrete lightforms and patterned or diffuse lights. Similar phenomena are well documented in traditional Buddhist texts but are virtually undocumented in scientific literature on meditation. Within Buddhist traditions, these phenomena are attributed a range of interpretations. However, because it is insufficient and problematic to rely solely upon the textual sources as a means of investigating the cause or significance of these phenomena, these qualitative reports are also considered in relation to scientific research on light-related experiences in the context of sensory deprivation, perceptual isolation, and clinical disorders of the visual system. The typologies derived from these studies also rely upon reports of experiences and closely match typologies derived from the qualitative study of contemporary practitioners and typologies found in Buddhist literary traditions. Taken together, these studies also provide evidence in support of the hypothesis that certain meditative practices—especially those that deliberately decrease social, kinesthetic, and sensory stimulation and emphasize focused attention—have perceptual and cognitive outcomes similar to sensory deprivation. Given that sensory deprivation increases neuroplasticity, meditation may also have an enhanced neuroplastic potential beyond ordinary experience-dependent changes. By providing and contextualizing these reports of meditation-induced light experiences, scientists, clinicians, and meditators gain a more informed view of the range of experiences that can be elicited by contemplative
Levine, Glenn N; Lange, Richard A; Bairey-Merz, C Noel; Davidson, Richard J; Jamerson, Kenneth; Mehta, Puja K; Michos, Erin D; Norris, Keith; Ray, Indranill Basu; Saban, Karen L; Shah, Tina; Stein, Richard; Smith, Sidney C
Despite numerous advances in the prevention and treatment of atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease remains a leading cause of morbidity and mortality. Novel and inexpensive interventions that can contribute to the primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease are of interest. Numerous studies have reported on the benefits of meditation. Meditation instruction and practice is widely accessible and inexpensive and may thus be a potential attractive cost-effective adjunct to more traditional medical therapies. Accordingly, this American Heart Association scientific statement systematically reviewed the data on the potential benefits of meditation on cardiovascular risk. Neurophysiological and neuroanatomical studies demonstrate that meditation can have long-standing effects on the brain, which provide some biological plausibility for beneficial consequences on the physiological basal state and on cardiovascular risk. Studies of the effects of meditation on cardiovascular risk have included those investigating physiological response to stress, smoking cessation, blood pressure reduction, insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome, endothelial function, inducible myocardial ischemia, and primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease. Overall, studies of meditation suggest a possible benefit on cardiovascular risk, although the overall quality and, in some cases, quantity of study data are modest. Given the low costs and low risks of this intervention, meditation may be considered as an adjunct to guideline-directed cardiovascular risk reduction by those interested in this lifestyle modification, with the understanding that the benefits of such intervention remain to be better established. Further research on meditation and cardiovascular risk is warranted. Such studies, to the degree possible, should utilize randomized study design, be adequately powered to meet the primary study outcome, strive to achieve low drop-out rates, include long
Saggar, Manish; Zanesco, Anthony P; King, Brandon G; Bridwell, David A; MacLean, Katherine A; Aichele, Stephen R; Jacobs, Tonya L; Wallace, B Alan; Saron, Clifford D; Miikkulainen, Risto
Meditation training has been shown to enhance attention and improve emotion regulation. However, the brain processes associated with such training are poorly understood and a computational modeling framework is lacking. Modeling approaches that can realistically simulate neurophysiological data while conforming to basic anatomical and physiological constraints can provide a unique opportunity to generate concrete and testable hypotheses about the mechanisms supporting complex cognitive tasks such as meditation. Here we applied the mean-field computational modeling approach using the scalp-recorded electroencephalogram (EEG) collected at three assessment points from meditating participants during two separate 3-month-long shamatha meditation retreats. We modeled cortical, corticothalamic, and intrathalamic interactions to generate a simulation of EEG signals recorded across the scalp. We also present two novel extensions to the mean-field approach that allow for: (a) non-parametric analysis of changes in model parameter values across all channels and assessments; and (b) examination of variation in modeled thalamic reticular nucleus (TRN) connectivity over the retreat period. After successfully fitting whole-brain EEG data across three assessment points within each retreat, two model parameters were found to replicably change across both meditation retreats. First, after training, we observed an increased temporal delay between modeled cortical and thalamic cells. This increase provides a putative neural mechanism for a previously observed reduction in individual alpha frequency in these same participants. Second, we found decreased inhibitory connection strength between the TRN and secondary relay nuclei (SRN) of the modeled thalamus after training. This reduction in inhibitory strength was found to be associated with increased dynamical stability of the model. Altogether, this paper presents the first computational approach, taking core aspects of physiology and
Kirk, Ulrich; Downar, Jonathan; Montague, P. Read
Human decision-making is often conceptualized as a competition between cognitive and emotional processes in the brain. Deviations from rational processes are believed to derive from inclusion of emotional factors in decision-making. Here, we investigate whether experienced Buddhist meditators are better equipped to regulate emotional processes compared with controls during economic decision-making in the Ultimatum Game. We show that meditators accept unfair offers on more than half of the tri...
Full Text Available Mindfulness has been described as an inherent human capability that can be learned and trained, and its improvement has been associated with better health outcomes in both medicine and psychology. Although the role of practice is central to most mindfulness programs, practice-related improvements in mindfulness skills is not consistently reported and little is known about how the characteristics of meditative practice affect different components of mindfulness. The present study explores the role of practice parameters on self-reported mindfulness skills. A total of 670 voluntary participants with and without previous meditation experience (n = 384 and n = 286, respectively responded to an internet-based survey on various aspects of their meditative practice (type of meditation, length of session, frequency, and lifetime practice. Participants also completed the Five Facets Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ, and the Experiences Questionnaire (EQ. The group with meditation experience obtained significantly higher scores on all facets of FFMQ and EQ questionnaires compared to the group without experience. However different effect sizes were observed, with stronger effects for the Observing and Non-Reactivity facets of the FFMQ, moderate effects for Decentering in EQ, and a weak effect for Non-judging, Describing, and Acting with awareness on the FFMQ. Our results indicate that not all practice variables are equally relevant in terms of developing mindfulness skills. Frequency and lifetime practice--but not session length or meditation type--were associated with higher mindfulness skills. Given that these 6 mindfulness aspects show variable sensitivity to practice, we created a composite index (MINDSENS consisting of those items from FFMQ and EQ that showed the strongest response to practice. The MINDSENS index was able to correctly discriminate daily meditators from non-meditators in 82.3% of cases. These findings may contribute to the understanding
Soler, Joaquim; Cebolla, Ausiàs; Feliu-Soler, Albert; Demarzo, Marcelo M P; Pascual, Juan C; Baños, Rosa; García-Campayo, Javier
Mindfulness has been described as an inherent human capability that can be learned and trained, and its improvement has been associated with better health outcomes in both medicine and psychology. Although the role of practice is central to most mindfulness programs, practice-related improvements in mindfulness skills is not consistently reported and little is known about how the characteristics of meditative practice affect different components of mindfulness. The present study explores the role of practice parameters on self-reported mindfulness skills. A total of 670 voluntary participants with and without previous meditation experience (n = 384 and n = 286, respectively) responded to an internet-based survey on various aspects of their meditative practice (type of meditation, length of session, frequency, and lifetime practice). Participants also completed the Five Facets Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ), and the Experiences Questionnaire (EQ). The group with meditation experience obtained significantly higher scores on all facets of FFMQ and EQ questionnaires compared to the group without experience. However different effect sizes were observed, with stronger effects for the Observing and Non-Reactivity facets of the FFMQ, moderate effects for Decentering in EQ, and a weak effect for Non-judging, Describing, and Acting with awareness on the FFMQ. Our results indicate that not all practice variables are equally relevant in terms of developing mindfulness skills. Frequency and lifetime practice--but not session length or meditation type--were associated with higher mindfulness skills. Given that these 6 mindfulness aspects show variable sensitivity to practice, we created a composite index (MINDSENS) consisting of those items from FFMQ and EQ that showed the strongest response to practice. The MINDSENS index was able to correctly discriminate daily meditators from non-meditators in 82.3% of cases. These findings may contribute to the understanding of the
Victor H. Rodriguez
Full Text Available Mindfulness techniques are useful tools in health and well-being. To improve and facilitate formal training, beginners need to know if they are in a stable sitting posture and if they can hold it. Previous monitoring studies did not consider stability during sitting meditation or were specific for longer traditional practices. In this paper, we have extended and adapted previous studies to modern mindfulness practices and posed two questions: (a Which is the best meditation seat for short sessions? In this way, the applications of stability measures are expanded to meditation activities, in which the sitting posture favors stability, and (b Which is the most sensitive location of an accelerometer to measure body motion during short meditation sessions? A pilot study involving 31 volunteers was conducted using inertial sensors. The results suggest that thumb, head, or infraclavicular locations can be chosen to measure stability despite the habitual lumbar or sacral region found in the literature. Another important finding of this study is that zafus, chairs, and meditation benches are suitable for short meditation sessions in a sitting posture, although the zafu seems to allow for fewer postural changes. This finding opens new opportunities to design very simple and comfortable measuring systems.
Full Text Available Nondirective meditation techniques are practiced with a relaxed focus of attention that permits spontaneously occurring thoughts, images, sensations, memories and emotions to emerge and pass freely, without any expectation that mind wandering should abate. These techniques are thought to facilitate mental processing of emotional experiences, thereby contributing to wellness and stress management. The present study assessed brain activity by functional magnetic resonance imaging in 14 experienced practitioners of Acem meditation in two experimental conditions. In the first, nondirective meditation was compared to rest. Significantly increased activity was detected in areas associated with attention, mind wandering, retrieval of episodic memories and emotional processing. In the second condition, participants carried out concentrative practicing of the same meditation technique, actively trying to avoid mind wandering. The contrast nondirective meditation > concentrative practicing was characterized by higher activity in the right medial temporal lobe (parahippocampal gyrus and amygdala. In conclusion, the present results support the notion that nondirective meditation, which permits mind wandering, involves more extensive activation of brain areas associated with episodic memories and emotional processing, than during concentrative practicing or regular rest.
Deo, Guru; Itagi R, Kumar; Thaiyar M, Srinivasan; Kuldeep, Kushwah K
Mindfulness along with breathing is a well-established meditation technique. Breathing is an exquisite tool for exploring subtle awareness of mind and life itself. This study aimed at measuring changes in the different parameters of electrophotonic imaging (EPI) in anapanasati meditators. To carry out this study, 51 subjects comprising 32 males and 19 females of age 18 years and above (mean age 45.64 ± 14.43) were recruited voluntarily with informed consent attending Karnataka Dhyana Mahachakra-1 at Pyramid Valley International, Bengaluru, India. The design was a single group pre- post and data collected by EPI device before and after 5 days of intensive meditation. Results show significant changes in EPI parameter integral area with filter (physiological) in both right and left side, which reflects the availability of high functional energy reserve in meditators. The researchers observed similar trends without filter (psycho-physiological) indicating high reserves of energy at psycho-physiological level also. Activation coefficient, another parameter of EPI, reduced showing more relaxed state than earlier, possibly due to parasympathetic dominance. Integral entropy decreased in the case of psycho-physiological parameters left-side without filter, which indicates less disorder after meditation, but these changes were not significant. The study showed a reversed change in integral entropy in the right side without filter; however, the values on both sides with filter increased, which indicates disorder. The study suggests that EPI can be used in the recording functional physiological and psychophysiological status of meditators at a subtle level.
Full Text Available Reinforcement learning models have demonstrated that phasic activity of dopamine neurons during reward expectation encodes information about the predictability of rewards and cues that predict reward. Evidence indicates that mindfulness-based approaches reduce reward anticipation signal in the striatum to negative and positive incentives suggesting the hypothesis that such training influence basic reward processing. Using a passive conditioning task and fMRI in a group of experienced mindfulness meditators and age-matched controls, we tested the hypothesis that mindfulness meditation influence reward and reward prediction error signals. We found diminished positive and negative prediction error-related blood-oxygen level-dependent (BOLD responses in the putamen in meditators compared with controls. In the meditators, this decrease in striatal BOLD responses to reward prediction was paralleled by increased activity in posterior insula, a primary interoceptive region. Critically, responses in the putamen during early trials of the conditioning procedure (run 1 were elevated in both meditators and controls. These results provide evidence that experienced mindfulness meditators show attenuated reward prediction signals to valenced stimuli, which may be related to interoceptive processes encoded in the posterior insula.
Kirk, Ulrich; Brown, Kirk Warren; Downar, Jonathan
Reward seeking is ubiquitous and adaptive in humans. But excessive reward seeking behavior, such as chasing monetary rewards, may lead to diminished subjective well-being. This study examined whether individuals trained in mindfulness meditation show neural evidence of lower susceptibility to monetary rewards. Seventy-eight participants (34 meditators, 44 matched controls) completed the monetary incentive delay task while undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging. The groups performed equally on the task, but meditators showed lower neural activations in the caudate nucleus during reward anticipation, and elevated bilateral posterior insula activation during reward anticipation. Meditators also evidenced reduced activations in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex during reward receipt compared with controls. Connectivity parameters between the right caudate and bilateral anterior insula were attenuated in meditators during incentive anticipation. In summary, brain regions involved in reward processing-both during reward anticipation and receipt of reward-responded differently in mindfulness meditators than in nonmeditators, indicating that the former are less susceptible to monetary incentives. © The Author (2014). Published by Oxford University Press. For Permissions, please email: email@example.com.
Kurth, Florian; Cherbuin, Nicolas; Luders, Eileen
Normal aging is known to result in a reduction of gray matter within the hippocampal complex, particularly in the subiculum. The present study was designed to address the question whether the practice of meditation can amend this age-related subicular atrophy. For this purpose, we established the correlations between subicular volume and chronological age within 50 long-term meditators and 50 control subjects. High-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans were automatically processed combining cytoarchitectonically defined probabilistic maps with advanced tissue segmentation and registration methods. Overall, we observed steeper negative regression slopes in controls. The analysis further revealed a significant group-by-age interaction for the left subiculum with a significant negative correlation between age and subicular volume in controls, but no significant correlation in meditators. Altogether, these findings seem to suggest a reduced age-related atrophy of the left subiculum in meditators compared to healthy controls. Possible explanations might be a relative increase of subicular tissue over time through long-term training as meditation is a process that incorporates regular and ongoing mental efforts. Alternatively, because meditation is an established form of reducing stress, our observation might reflect an overall preservation of subicular tissue through a reduced neuronal vulnerability to negative effects of stress. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
Chiesa, A; Serretti, A
Mindfulness meditation (MM) practices constitute an important group of meditative practices that have received growing attention. The aim of the present paper was to systematically review current evidence on the neurobiological changes and clinical benefits related to MM practice in psychiatric disorders, in physical illnesses and in healthy subjects. A literature search was undertaken using Medline, ISI Web of Knowledge, the Cochrane collaboration database and references of retrieved articles. Controlled and cross-sectional studies with controls published in English up to November 2008 were included. Electroencephalographic (EEG) studies have revealed a significant increase in alpha and theta activity during meditation. Neuroimaging studies showed that MM practice activates the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and that long-term meditation practice is associated with an enhancement of cerebral areas related to attention. From a clinical viewpoint, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) has shown efficacy for many psychiatric and physical conditions and also for healthy subjects, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is mainly efficacious in reducing relapses of depression in patients with three or more episodes, Zen meditation significantly reduces blood pressure and Vipassana meditation shows efficacy in reducing alcohol and substance abuse in prisoners. However, given the low-quality designs of current studies it is difficult to establish whether clinical outcomes are due to specific or non-specific effects of MM. Despite encouraging findings, several limitations affect current studies. Suggestions are given for future research based on better designed methodology and for future directions of investigation.
Xu, Jian; Vik, Alexandra; Groote, Inge R.; Lagopoulos, Jim; Holen, Are; Ellingsen, Øyvind; Håberg, Asta K.; Davanger, Svend
Nondirective meditation techniques are practiced with a relaxed focus of attention that permits spontaneously occurring thoughts, images, sensations, memories, and emotions to emerge and pass freely, without any expectation that mind wandering should abate. These techniques are thought to facilitate mental processing of emotional experiences, thereby contributing to wellness and stress management. The present study assessed brain activity by functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in 14 experienced practitioners of Acem meditation in two experimental conditions. In the first, nondirective meditation was compared to rest. Significantly increased activity was detected in areas associated with attention, mind wandering, retrieval of episodic memories, and emotional processing. In the second condition, participants carried out concentrative practicing of the same meditation technique, actively trying to avoid mind wandering. The contrast nondirective meditation > concentrative practicing was characterized by higher activity in the right medial temporal lobe (parahippocampal gyrus and amygdala). In conclusion, the present results support the notion that nondirective meditation, which permits mind wandering, involves more extensive activation of brain areas associated with episodic memories and emotional processing, than during concentrative practicing or regular rest. PMID:24616684
Kirk, Ulrich; Downar, Jonathan; Montague, P Read
Human decision-making is often conceptualized as a competition between cognitive and emotional processes in the brain. Deviations from rational processes are believed to derive from inclusion of emotional factors in decision-making. Here, we investigate whether experienced Buddhist meditators are better equipped to regulate emotional processes compared with controls during economic decision-making in the Ultimatum Game. We show that meditators accept unfair offers on more than half of the trials, whereas controls only accept unfair offers on one-quarter of the trials. By applying fMRI we show that controls recruit the anterior insula during unfair offers. Such responses are powerful predictors of rejecting offers in social interaction. By contrast, meditators display attenuated activity in high-level emotional representations of the anterior insula and increased activity in the low-level interoceptive representations of the posterior insula. In addition we show that a subset of control participants who play rationally (i.e., accepts >85% unfair offers) recruits the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex presumably reflecting increased cognitive demands, whereas rational meditators by contrast display elevated activity in the somatosensory cortex and posterior superior temporal cortex. In summary, when assessing unfairness in the Ultimatum Game, meditators activate a different network of brain areas compared with controls enabling them to uncouple negative emotional reactions from their behavior. These findings highlight the clinically and socially important possibility that sustained training in mindfulness meditation may impact distinct domains of human decision-making.
Full Text Available Human experience can be broadly divided into those that are external and related to interaction with the environment, and experiences that are internal and self-related. The cerebral cortex appears to be divided into two corresponding systems: an extrinsic system composed of brain areas that respond more to external stimuli and tasks and an intrinsic system composed of brain areas that respond less to external stimuli and tasks. These two broad brain systems seem to compete with each other, such that their activity levels over time is usually anti-correlated, even when subjects are at rest and not performing any task. This study used meditation as an experimental manipulation to test whether this competition (anti-correlation can be modulated by cognitive strategy. Participants either fixated without meditation (fixation, or engaged in nondual awareness (NDA or focused attention (FA meditations. We computed inter-area correlations (functional connectivity between pairs of brain regions within each system, and between the entire extrinsic and intrinsic systems. Anti-correlation between extrinsic vs. intrinsic systems was stronger during FA meditation and weaker during NDA meditation in comparison to fixation (without mediation. However, correlation between areas within each system did not change across conditions. These results suggest that the anti-correlation found between extrinsic and intrinsic systems is not an immutable property of brain organization and that practicing different forms of meditation can modulate this gross functional organization in profoundly different ways.
Josipovic, Zoran; Dinstein, Ilan; Weber, Jochen; Heeger, David J
Human experiences can be broadly divided into those that are external and related to interaction with the environment, and experiences that are internal and self-related. The cerebral cortex appears to be divided into two corresponding systems: an "extrinsic" system composed of brain areas that respond more to external stimuli and tasks and an "intrinsic" system composed of brain areas that respond less to external stimuli and tasks. These two broad brain systems seem to compete with each other, such that their activity levels over time is usually anti-correlated, even when subjects are "at rest" and not performing any task. This study used meditation as an experimental manipulation to test whether this competition (anti-correlation) can be modulated by cognitive strategy. Participants either fixated without meditation (fixation), or engaged in non-dual awareness (NDA) or focused attention (FA) meditations. We computed inter-area correlations ("functional connectivity") between pairs of brain regions within each system, and between the entire extrinsic and intrinsic systems. Anti-correlation between extrinsic vs. intrinsic systems was stronger during FA meditation and weaker during NDA meditation in comparison to fixation (without mediation). However, correlation between areas within each system did not change across conditions. These results suggest that the anti-correlation found between extrinsic and intrinsic systems is not an immutable property of brain organization and that practicing different forms of meditation can modulate this gross functional organization in profoundly different ways.
Full Text Available This paper reports the results of our investigation of the effects of Chan meditation on brain electrophysiological behaviors from the viewpoint of spatially nonlinear interdependence among regional neural networks. Particular emphasis is laid on the alpha-dominated EEG (electroencephalograph. Continuous-time wavelet transform was adopted to detect the epochs containing substantial alpha activities. Nonlinear interdependence quantified by similarity index S(X∣Y, the influence of source signal Y on sink signal X, was applied to the nonlinear dynamical model in phase space reconstructed from multichannel EEG. Experimental group involved ten experienced Chan-Meditation practitioners, while control group included ten healthy subjects within the same age range, yet, without any meditation experience. Nonlinear interdependence among various cortical regions was explored for five local neural-network regions, frontal, posterior, right-temporal, left-temporal, and central regions. In the experimental group, the inter-regional interaction was evaluated for the brain dynamics under three different stages, at rest (stage R, pre-meditation background recording, in Chan meditation (stage M, and the unique Chakra-focusing practice (stage C. Experimental group exhibits stronger interactions among various local neural networks at stages M and C compared with those at stage R. The intergroup comparison demonstrates that Chan-meditation brain possesses better cortical inter-regional interactions than the resting brain of control group.
Full Text Available Effect of different meditation practices on various aspects of mental and physical health is receiving growing attention. The present paper reviews evidence about effects of several mediation practices on cognitive functions in the context of aging and neurodegenerative diseases. The effect of meditation in this area is still poorly explored. Seven studies were detected through the databases search which explores the effect of meditation on attention, memory, executive functions and other miscellaneous measures of cognition in a sample of older people and people suffering from neurodegenerative diseases. Overall, reviewed studies suggested a positive effect of meditation techniques, particularly in the area of attention, as well as memory, verbal fluency and cognitive flexibility. These findings are discussed in the context of MRI studies suggesting structural correlates of the effects. Meditation can be a potentially suitable non-pharmacological intervention aimed at the prevention of cognitive decline in the elderly. However, the conclusions of these studies are limited by their methodological flaws and differences of various types of meditation techniques. Further research in this direction could help to verify the validity of the findings and clarify the problematic aspects.
Full Text Available Human decision-making is often framed as a competition between cognitive and emotional processes in the brain. Deviations from rational processes are believed to derive from inclusion of emotional factors in decision-making. Here, we investigate whether a group of experienced Buddhist meditators are better equipped to regulate emotional processes compared with controls during economic decision-making in the Ultimatum Game. We show that meditators accept unfair offers on more than half of the trials, whereas controls only accept unfair offers on one-quarter of the trials. By applying fMRI we show that controls recruit the anterior insula during unfair offers. Such responses are powerful predictors of rejecting offers in social interaction. By contrast, meditators display attenuated activity in high-level emotional representations of the anterior insula and increased activity in the lower-level interoceptive representations of the posterior insula. In addition we show that a subset of control participants who play rationally (i.e. accepts >85% unfair offers recruits the DLPFC reflecting increased cognitive demands to accept unfairness, whereas rational meditators by contrast activates the somatosensory cortex and posterior superior temporal cortex (pSTC. In summary, when assessing unfairness, meditators activate a different network of brain areas compared with controls enabling them to uncouple negative emotional reactions from their behavior. These findings highlight the clinically and socially important possibility that sustained training in mindfulness meditation may impact distinct domains of human decision-making.
Millegan, Jeffrey; Manschot, Bernard; Dispenzieri, Monica; Marks, Benjamin; Edwards, Ayesha; Raulston, Vanessa; Khatiwoda, Yojana; Narro, Marlo
Distress is common among cancer patients. Regular meditation practice has the potential to mitigate this distress and improve quality of life for this population. Introducing meditation to cancer patients can be particularly challenging given the demands on patients' time from treatment and normal life events. This internal process improvement study examined the potential benefit of utilizing iPads during chemotherapy sessions to introduce meditation and reduce distress. Patients undergoing chemotherapy infusion were offered iPads with various meditation videos and audio files during the session. Levels of distress were measured using the distress thermometer at the beginning of chemotherapy and at the conclusion of chemotherapy. Seventy-three patients accepted the meditation iPads during the chemotherapy session. Among those who accepted the iPads, average distress dropped 46% by the end of the session (p meditation as a stress management tool for people with cancer.
Results. There was a significant improvement for the meditation group compared to both the relaxation control and the wait-list groups the PSQ (P=.026, and DD (P=.019. Conclusions. Mental silence-orientated meditation, in this case Sahaja Yoga meditation, is a safe and effective strategy for dealing with work stress and depressive feelings. The findings suggest that “thought reduction” or “mental silence” may have specific effects relevant to work stress and hence occupational health.
Hauswald, Anne; Übelacker, Teresa; Leske, Sabine; Weisz, Nathan
Experienced meditators are able to voluntarily modulate their state of consciousness and attention. In the present study, we took advantage of this ability and studied brain activity related to the shift of mental state. Electrophysiological activity, i.e. EEG, was recorded from 11 subjects with varying degrees of meditation experience during Zen meditation (a form of open monitoring meditation) and during non-meditation rest. On a behavioral level, mindfulness scores were assessed using the Mindfulness Attention and Awareness Scale (MAAS). Analysis of EEG source power revealed the so far unreported finding that MAAS scores significantly correlated with gamma power (30-250Hz), particularly high-frequency gamma (100-245Hz), during meditation. High levels of mindfulness were related to increased high-frequency gamma, for example, in the cingulate cortex and somatosensory cortices. Further, we analyzed the relationship between connectivity during meditation and self-reported mindfulness (MAAS). We found a correlation between graph measures in the 160-170Hz range and MAAS scores. Higher levels of mindfulness were related to lower small worldedness as well as global and local clustering in paracentral, insular, and thalamic regions during meditation. In sum, the present study shows significant relationships of mindfulness and brain activity during meditation indicated by measures of oscillatory power and graph theoretical measures. The most prominent effects occur in brain structures crucially involved in processes of awareness and attention, which also show structural changes in short- and long-term meditators, suggesting continuative alterations in the meditating brain. Overall, our study reveals strong changes in ongoing oscillatory activity as well as connectivity patterns that appear to be sensitive to the psychological state changes induced by Zen meditation. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Inc.
Nakata, Hiroki; Sakamoto, Kiwako; Kakigi, Ryusuke
Recent studies have shown that meditation inhibits or relieves pain perception. To clarify the underlying mechanisms for this phenomenon, neuroimaging methods, such as functional magnetic resonance imaging, and neurophysiological methods, such as magnetoencephalography and electroencephalography, have been used. However, it has been difficult to interpret the results, because there is some paradoxical evidence. For example, some studies reported increased neural responses to pain stimulation during meditation in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and insula, whereas others showed a decrease in these regions. There have been inconsistent findings to date. Moreover, in general, since the activities of the ACC and insula are correlated with pain perception, the increase in neural activities during meditation would be related to the enhancement of pain perception rather than its reduction. These contradictions might directly contribute to the ‘mystery of meditation.’ In this review, we presented previous findings for brain regions during meditation and the anatomical changes that occurred in the brain with long-term meditation training. We then discussed the findings of previous studies that examined pain-related neural activity during meditation. We also described the brain mechanisms responsible for pain relief during meditation, and possible reasons for paradoxical evidence among previous studies. By thoroughly overviewing previous findings, we hypothesized that meditation reduces pain-related neural activity in the ACC, insula, secondary somatosensory cortex, and thalamus. We suggest that the characteristics of the modulation of this activity may depend on the kind of meditation and/or number of years of experience of meditation, which were associated with paradoxical findings among previous studies that investigated pain-related neural activities during meditation. PMID:25566158
Full Text Available The topic of investigating how mindfulness meditation training can have antidepressant effects via plastic changes in both resting state and meditation state brain activity is important in the rapidly emerging field of neuroplasticity. In the present study, we used a longitudinal design investigating resting state fMRI both before and after 40 days of meditation training in 13 novices. After training, we compared differences in network connectivity between rest and meditation using common resting state functional connectivity methods. Interregional methods were paired with local measures such as Regional Homogeneity. As expected, significant differences in functional connectivity both between states (rest versus meditation and between time points (before versus after training were observed. During meditation, the internal consistency in the precuneus and the temporoparietal junction increased, while the internal consistency of frontal brain regions decreased. A follow-up analysis of regional connectivity of the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex further revealed reduced connectivity with anterior insula during meditation. After meditation training, reduced resting state functional connectivity between the pregenual anterior cingulate and dorsal medical prefrontal cortex was observed. Most importantly, significantly reduced depression/anxiety scores were observed after training. Hence, these findings suggest that mindfulness meditation might be of therapeutic use by inducing plasticity related network changes altering the neuronal basis of affective disorders such as depression.
Reva, N V; Pavlov, S V; Loktev, K V; Korenyok, V V; Aftanas, L I
Despite growing interest in meditation as a tool for alternative therapy of stress-related and psychosomatic diseases, brain mechanisms of beneficial influences of meditation practice on health and quality of life are still unclear. We propose that the key point is a persistent change in emotional functioning, specifically the modulation of the early appraisal of motivational significance of events. The main aim was to study the effects of long-term meditation practice on event-related brain potentials (ERPs) during affective picture viewing. ERPs were recorded in 20 long-term Sahaja Yoga meditators and 20 control subjects without prior experience in meditation. The meditators' mid-latency (140-400ms) ERPs were attenuated for both positive and negative pictures (i.e. there were no arousal-related increases in ERP positivity) and this effect was more prominent over the right hemisphere. However, we found no differences in the long latency (400-800ms) responses to emotional images, associated with meditation practice. In addition we found stronger ERP negativity in the time window 200-300ms for meditators compared to the controls, regardless of picture valence. We assume that long-term meditation practice enhances frontal top-down control over fast automatic salience detection, based on amygdala functions. Copyright © 2014 IBRO. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Sergio Elías Hernández
Full Text Available To investigate regional differences in grey matter volume associated with the practice of Sahaja Yoga Meditation.Twenty three experienced practitioners of Sahaja Yoga Meditation and twenty three non-meditators matched on age, gender and education level, were scanned using structural Magnetic Resonance Imaging and their grey matter volume were compared using Voxel-Based Morphometry.Grey matter volume was larger in meditators relative to non-meditators across the whole brain. In addition, grey matter volume was larger in several predominantly right hemispheric regions: in insula, ventromedial orbitofrontal cortex, inferior temporal and parietal cortices as well as in left ventrolateral prefrontal cortex and left insula. No areas with larger grey matter volume were found in non-meditators relative to meditators.The study shows that long-term practice of Sahaja Yoga Meditation is associated with larger grey matter volume overall, and with regional enlargement in several right hemispheric cortical and subcortical brain regions that are associated with sustained attention, self-control, compassion and interoceptive perception. The increased grey matter volume in these attention and self-control mediating regions suggests use-dependent enlargement with regular practice of this meditation.
Bhaduri, Anirban; Ghosh, Dipak
The cardiac dynamics during meditation is explored quantitatively with two chaos-based non-linear techniques viz. multi-fractal detrended fluctuation analysis and visibility network analysis techniques. The data used are the instantaneous heart rate (in beats/minute) of subjects performing Kundalini Yoga and Chi meditation from PhysioNet. The results show consistent differences between the quantitative parameters obtained by both the analysis techniques. This indicates an interesting phenomenon of change in the complexity of the cardiac dynamics during meditation supported with quantitative parameters. The results also produce a preliminary evidence that these techniques can be used as a measure of physiological impact on subjects performing meditation.
Hernández, Sergio Elías; Suero, José; Barros, Alfonso; González-Mora, José Luis; Rubia, Katya
To investigate regional differences in grey matter volume associated with the practice of Sahaja Yoga Meditation. Twenty three experienced practitioners of Sahaja Yoga Meditation and twenty three non-meditators matched on age, gender and education level, were scanned using structural Magnetic Resonance Imaging and their grey matter volume were compared using Voxel-Based Morphometry. Grey matter volume was larger in meditators relative to non-meditators across the whole brain. In addition, grey matter volume was larger in several predominantly right hemispheric regions: in insula, ventromedial orbitofrontal cortex, inferior temporal and parietal cortices as well as in left ventrolateral prefrontal cortex and left insula. No areas with larger grey matter volume were found in non-meditators relative to meditators. The study shows that long-term practice of Sahaja Yoga Meditation is associated with larger grey matter volume overall, and with regional enlargement in several right hemispheric cortical and subcortical brain regions that are associated with sustained attention, self-control, compassion and interoceptive perception. The increased grey matter volume in these attention and self-control mediating regions suggests use-dependent enlargement with regular practice of this meditation.
Acevedo, Bianca P; Pospos, Sarah; Lavretsky, Helen
Meditation has been shown to have physical, cognitive, and psychological health benefits that can be used to promote healthy aging. However, the common and specific mechanisms of response remain elusive due to the diverse nature of mind-body practices. In this review, we aim to compare the neural circuits implicated in focused-attention meditative practices that focus on present-moment awareness to those involved in active-type meditative practices (e.g., yoga) that combine movement, including chanting, with breath practices and meditation. Recent meta-analyses and individual studies demonstrated common brain effects for attention-based meditative practices and active-based meditations in areas involved in reward processing and learning, attention and memory, awareness and sensory integration, and self-referential processing and emotional control, while deactivation was seen in the amygdala, an area implicated in emotion processing. Unique effects for mindfulness practices were found in brain regions involved in body awareness, attention, and the integration of emotion and sensory processing. Effects specific to active-based meditations appeared in brain areas involved in self-control, social cognition, language, speech, tactile stimulation, sensorimotor integration, and motor function. This review suggests that mind-body practices can target different brain systems that are involved in the regulation of attention, emotional control, mood, and executive cognition that can be used to treat or prevent mood and cognitive disorders of aging, such as depression and caregiver stress, or serve as "brain fitness" exercise. Benefits may include improving brain functional connectivity in brain systems that generally degenerate with Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and other aging-related diseases.
Park, Seong-Hi; Han, Kuem Sun
To introduce research that presents scientific evidence regarding the effects of mantra and mindfulness meditation techniques and yoga on decreasing blood pressure (BP) in patients who have hypertension. A literature search was performed to identify all studies published between 1946 and 2014 from periodicals indexed in Ovid Medline, EMBASE, CINAHL, PsycINFO, KoreaMed, and NDSL by using the following keywords: "hypertension," "blood pressure," "psychotherapy," "relaxation therapy," "meditation," "yoga," and "mind-body therapy." The Cochrane's Risk of Bias was applied to assess the internal validity of the randomized controlled trial studies. Thirteen studies were analyzed in this meta-analysis by using Review Manager 5.3. Among 510 possible studies, 13 met the selection criteria. Seven examined meditation, and six examined yoga. The meta-analysis indicated that meditation and yoga appeared to decrease both systolic and diastolic BP, which were within similar baseline ranges, and the reduction was statistically significant; however, some results showed little difference. After an in-depth analysis of those results, BP range and patient age were revealed as the factors that affected the different results in some reports. In particular, meditation played a noticeable role in decreasing the BP of subjects older than 60 years of age, whereas yoga seemed to contribute to the decrease of subjects aged less than 60 years. While acknowledging the limitations of this research due to the differences in BP and the participants' ages, meditation and yoga are demonstrated to be effective alternatives to pharmacotherapy. Given that BP decreased with the use of meditation and yoga, and this effect varied in different age groups, scientifically measured outcomes indicate that these practices are safe alternatives in some cases.
Full Text Available Cardiac disease is one of the major causes for death all over the world. Heart rate variability (HRV is a significant parameter that used in assessing Autonomous Nervous System (ANS activity. Generally, the 2D Poincare′ plot and 3D Poincaré plot of the HRV signals reflect the effect of different external stimuli on the ANS. Meditation is one of such external stimulus, which has different techniques with different types of effects on the ANS. Chinese Chi-meditation and Kundalini yoga are two different effective meditation techniques. The current work is interested with the analysis of the HRV signals under the effect of these two based on meditation techniques. The 2D and 3D Poincare′ plots are generally plotted by fitting respectively an ellipse/ellipsoid to the dense region of the constructed Poincare′ plot of HRV signals. However, the 2D and 3D Poincaré plots sometimes fail to describe the proper behaviour of the system. Thus in this study, a three-dimensional frequency-delay plot is proposed to properly distinguish these two famous meditation techniques by analyzing their effects on ANS. This proposed 3D frequency-delay plot is applied on HRV signals of eight persons practicing same Chi-meditation and four other persons practising same Kundalini yoga. To substantiate the result for larger sample of data, statistical Student t-test is applied, which shows a satisfactory result in this context. The experimental results established that the Chi-meditation has large impact on the HRVcompared to the Kundalini yoga.
Last, Nicole; Tufts, Emily; Auger, Leslie E
The present systematic review is based on the premise that a variety of neurodegenerative diseases are accompanied by grey matter atrophy in the brain and meditation may impact this. Given that age is a major risk factor for many of these progressive and neurodegenerative diseases and that the percentage of the population over the age of 65 is quickly increasing, there is an obvious need for prompt treatment and prevention advances in research. As there is currently no cure for Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative diseases, many are seeking non-pharmacological treatment options in attempts to offset the disease-related cognitive and functional declines. On the basis of a growing body of research suggesting that meditation is effective in increasing grey matter volume in healthy participants, this paper systematically reviewed the literature regarding the effects of meditation on restoring grey matter volume in healthy individuals and those affected by neurodegeneration. This review searched PubMed, CINAHL, and APA PsycNET to identify original studies that included MRI imaging to measure grey matter volume in meditators and post-mindfulness-based intervention participants compared to controls. Thirteen studies were considered eligible for review and involved a wide variety of meditation techniques and included participants with and without cognitive impairment. All studies reported significant increases in grey matter volume in the meditators/intervention group, albeit in assorted regions of the brain. Limited research exists on the mechanisms through which meditation affects disease-related neurodegeneration, but preliminary evidence suggests that it may offset grey matter atrophy.
Full Text Available INTRODUCTION: This work aimed to determine whether (1H magnetic resonance imaging (MRI, magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS, diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI are correlated with years of meditation and psychological variables in long-term Zen meditators compared to healthy non-meditator controls. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Design. Controlled, cross-sectional study. Sample. Meditators were recruited from a Zen Buddhist monastery. The control group was recruited from hospital staff. Meditators were administered questionnaires on anxiety, depression, cognitive impairment and mindfulness. (1H-MRS (1.5 T of the brain was carried out by exploring four areas: both thalami, both hippocampi, the posterior superior parietal lobule (PSPL and posterior cingulate gyrus. Predefined areas of the brain were measured for diffusivity (ADC and fractional anisotropy (FA by MR-DTI. RESULTS: Myo-inositol (mI was increased in the posterior cingulate gyrus and Glutamate (Glu, N-acetyl-aspartate (NAA and N-acetyl-aspartate/Creatine (NAA/Cr was reduced in the left thalamus in meditators. We found a significant positive correlation between mI in the posterior cingulate and years of meditation (r = 0.518; p = .019. We also found significant negative correlations between Glu (r = -0.452; p = .045, NAA (r = -0.617; p = .003 and NAA/Cr (r = -0.448; P = .047 in the left thalamus and years of meditation. Meditators showed a lower Apparent Diffusion Coefficient (ADC in the left posterior parietal white matter than did controls, and the ADC was negatively correlated with years of meditation (r = -0.4850, p = .0066. CONCLUSIONS: The results are consistent with the view that mI, Glu and NAA are the most important altered metabolites. This study provides evidence of subtle abnormalities in neuronal function in regions of the white matter in meditators.
Amihai, Ido; Kozhevnikov, Maria
Based on evidence of parasympathetic activation, early studies defined meditation as a relaxation response. Later research attempted to categorize meditation as either involving focused or distributed attentional systems. Neither of these hypotheses received strong empirical support, and most of the studies investigated Theravada style meditative practices. In this study, we compared neurophysiological (EEG, EKG) and cognitive correlates of meditative practices that are thought to utilize either focused or distributed attention, from both Theravada and Vajrayana traditions. The results of Study 1 show that both focused (Shamatha) and distributed (Vipassana) attention meditations of the Theravada tradition produced enhanced parasympathetic activation indicative of a relaxation response. In contrast, both focused (Deity) and distributed (Rig-pa) meditations of the Vajrayana tradition produced sympathetic activation, indicative of arousal. Additionally, the results of Study 2 demonstrated an immediate dramatic increase in performance on cognitive tasks following only Vajrayana styles of meditation, indicating enhanced phasic alertness due to arousal. Furthermore, our EEG results showed qualitatively different patterns of activation between Theravada and Vajrayana meditations, albeit highly similar activity between meditations within the same tradition. In conclusion, consistent with Tibetan scriptures that described Shamatha and Vipassana techniques as those that calm and relax the mind, and Vajrayana techniques as those that require ‘an awake quality’ of the mind, we show that Theravada and Vajrayana meditations are based on different neurophysiological mechanisms, which give rise to either a relaxation or arousal response. Hence, it may be more appropriate to categorize meditations in terms of relaxation vs. arousal, whereas classification methods that rely on the focused vs. distributed attention dichotomy may need to be reexamined. PMID:25051268
Michalsen, Andreas; Kunz, Natalie; Jeitler, Michael; Brunnhuber, Stefan; Meier, Larissa; Lüdtke, Rainer; Büssing, Arndt; Kessler, Christian
We aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of an 8-week meditation program (focused meditation) in patients with chronic low-back pain. A randomized clinical trial was conducted on 68 patients (55 years;75% female) with chronic low-back pain who scored >40mm on a 100mm Visual-Analogue-Scale. Subjects were allocated to an 8-week meditation program (focused meditation) with weekly 75min classes or to a self-care exercise program with a wait-list offer for meditation. Both groups were instructed to practice at home. Outcomes were assessed baseline and after 4 and 8 weeks. The primary outcome measure was the change in mean back pain at rest after 8 weeks. Secondary outcomes included function, pain-related bothersomeness, perceived stress, quality-of-life (QOL), and psychological outcomes. Twelve (meditation) and 4 (exercise) patients were lost to follow-up. The primary outcome, pain at rest after 8 weeks, was reduced from 59.3±13.9mm to 40.8±21.8mm with meditation vs. 52.9±11.8mm to 37.3±18.2mm with exercise (adjusted group difference: -1.4 (95%CI:11.6;8.8;p=n.s.) Perceived stress was significantly more reduced with meditation (p=0.011). No significant treatment effects were found for other secondary outcomes as pain-related bothersomeness, function, quality-of-life and psychological scores, although the meditation group consistently showed non-significant better improvements compared to the exercise group. Focused meditation and self-care exercise lead to comparable, symptomatic improvements in patients with chronic low back pain. Future studies should include longer-term follow-ups and develop guided meditation programs to support compliance. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Full Text Available Based on evidence of parasympathetic activation, early studies defined meditation as a relaxation response. Later research attempted to categorize meditation as either involving focused or distributed attentional systems. Neither of these hypotheses received strong empirical support, and most of the studies investigated Theravada style meditative practices. In this study, we compared neurophysiological (EEG, EKG and cognitive correlates of meditative practices that are thought to utilize either focused or distributed attention, from both Theravada and Vajrayana traditions. The results of Study 1 show that both focused (Shamatha and distributed (Vipassana attention meditations of the Theravada tradition produced enhanced parasympathetic activation indicative of a relaxation response. In contrast, both focused (Deity and distributed (Rig-pa meditations of the Vajrayana tradition produced sympathetic activation, indicative of arousal. Additionally, the results of Study 2 demonstrated an immediate dramatic increase in performance on cognitive tasks following only Vajrayana styles of meditation, indicating enhanced phasic alertness due to arousal. Furthermore, our EEG results showed qualitatively different patterns of activation between Theravada and Vajrayana meditations, albeit highly similar activity between meditations within the same tradition. In conclusion, consistent with Tibetan scriptures that described Shamatha and Vipassana techniques as those that calm and relax the mind, and Vajrayana techniques as those that require 'an awake quality' of the mind, we show that Theravada and Vajrayana meditations are based on different neurophysiological mechanisms, which give rise to either a relaxation or arousal response. Hence, it may be more appropriate to categorize meditations in terms of relaxation vs. arousal, whereas classification methods that rely on the focused vs. distributed attention dichotomy may need to be reexamined.
Full Text Available Background of Hypothesis: Myofascial pain syndrome (MPS is the most common musculoskeletal pain disorder of the head and neck area. In the past, several theories were put forth to explain its origin and nature, but none proved complete. Myofascial pain responds to changing psychological states and stress, anxiety, lack of sleep, anger, depression and chronic pain are direct contributional factors. Myofascial pain syndrome may be considered as a psychosomatic disorder. There are numerous accepted palliative approaches, but of all, relaxation techniques stand out and initiate healing at the base level. In this article, the connection between mental factors, MPS and meditation are highlighted. Recent literature has shed light on the fundamental role of free radicals in the emergence of myofascial pain. The accumulating free radicals disrupt mitochondrial integrity and function, leading to sustenance and progression of MPS. Meditation on the other hand was shown to reduce free radical load and can result in clinical improvement. 'Mindfulness' is the working principle behind the effect of all meditations, and I emphasize that it can serve as a potential tool to reverse the neuro-architectural, neurobiological and cellular changes that occur in MPS. Conclusions: The findings described in this paper were drawn from studies on myofascial pain, fibromyalgia, similar chronic pain models and most importantly from self experience (experimentation. Till date, no hypothesis is available connecting MPS and meditation. Mechanisms linking MPS and meditation were identified, and this paper can ignite novel research in this direction.
Taren, Adrienne A; Gianaros, Peter J; Greco, Carol M; Lindsay, Emily K; Fairgrieve, April; Brown, Kirk Warren; Rosen, Rhonda K; Ferris, Jennifer L; Julson, Erica; Marsland, Anna L; Bursley, James K; Ramsburg, Jared; Creswell, J David
Recent studies indicate that mindfulness meditation training interventions reduce stress and improve stress-related health outcomes, but the neural pathways for these effects are unknown. The present research evaluates whether mindfulness meditation training alters resting state functional connectivity (rsFC) of the amygdala, a region known to coordinate stress processing and physiological stress responses. We show in an initial discovery study that higher perceived stress over the past month is associated with greater bilateral amygdala-subgenual anterior cingulate cortex (sgACC) rsFC in a sample of community adults (n = 130). A follow-up, single-blind randomized controlled trial shows that a 3-day intensive mindfulness meditation training intervention (relative to a well-matched 3-day relaxation training intervention without a mindfulness component) reduced right amygdala-sgACC rsFC in a sample of stressed unemployed community adults (n = 35). Although stress may increase amygdala-sgACC rsFC, brief training in mindfulness meditation could reverse these effects. This work provides an initial indication that mindfulness meditation training promotes functional neuroplastic changes, suggesting an amygdala-sgACC pathway for stress reduction effects. © The Author (2015). Published by Oxford University Press. For Permissions, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Full Text Available Recent neuroimaging studies state that meditation increases regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF in the prefrontal cortex (PFC. The present study employed functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS to evaluate the relative hemodynamic changes in prefrontal cortex during a cognitive task. Twenty-two healthy male volunteers with ages between 18 and 30 years (group mean age ± SD; 22.9 ± 4.6 years performed a color-word stroop task before and after 20 minutes of meditation and random thinking. Repeated measures ANOVA was performed followed by a post-hoc analysis with Bonferroni adjustment for multiple comparisons between the mean values of ‘During’ and ‘Post’ with ‘Pre’ state. During meditation there was an increased in oxy-hemoglobin (∆HbO and total hemoglobin (∆THC concentration with reduced deoxy-hemoglobin (∆HbR concentration over the right prefrontal cortex (rPFC, whereas in random thinking there was increased ∆HbR with reduced total hemoglobin concentration on the rPFC. The mean reaction time was shorter in stroop color word task with reduced ∆THC after meditation, suggestive of improved performance and efficiency in task related to attention. Our findings demonstrated that meditation increased cerebral oxygenation and enhanced performance, which was associated with prefrontal cortex activation.
Full Text Available Clinically, meditative practices have become increasingly relevant, decreasing anxiety in patients and increasing antibody production. However, few studies have examined the physiological correlates, or effects of the incorporation of meditative practices. Because pupillary reactivity is a marker for autonomic changes and emotional processing, we hypothesized that the pupillary responses of mindfulness meditation practitioners (MP and subjects without such practices (non-meditators (NM differ, reflecting different emotional processing. In a group of 11 MP and 9 NM, we recorded the pupil diameter using video-oculography while subjects explored images with emotional contents. Although both groups showed a similar pupillary response for positive and neutral images, negative images evoked a greater pupillary contraction and a weaker dilation in the MP group. Also, this group had faster physiological recovery to baseline levels. These results suggest that mindfulness meditation practices modulate the response of the autonomic nervous system, reflected in the pupillary response to negative images and faster physiological recovery to baseline levels, suggesting that pupillometry could be used to assess the potential health benefits of these practices in patients.
Stephen D. Edwards
Full Text Available This integral investigation explored phenomenological and neurophysiologic, individual and collective dimensions of Christian Trinitarian meditation experiences in a volunteer, convenience sample of 10 practicing Christians, 6 men and 4 women, with a mean age of 48 years and an age range from 21 to 85 years. Participants meditated for a minimum period of 15 minutes, during which neurophysiologic data in the form of electroencephalographic (EEG, electromyographic (EMG, blood volume pulse (BVP and respiratory activity were recorded. A phenomenological analysis indicated that the meditation process generally involved a movement from body to mind to spirit as evident in reports of an increasingly relaxed, contented and focused state of consciousness characterised by Christian Trinitarian imagery, wonder, surrender, peace, bliss, openness and formlessness. The neuropsychological findings indicated significant increases, from baseline to meditation recordings, in the alpha and beta range, accompanied by increasing mean trends in the theta and gamma range, and decreasing mean trends in the delta range, EMG, BVP and respiration. Integrative findings indicated the practical theological value of small doses of Christian Trinity meditation to enhance spiritual life for those forms of waking, thinking, conscious behaviour needed in everyday world involvement and healing. Findings were discussed in relation to further integrative investigations and interventions with practical theological implications.
Woods-Giscombé, Cheryl L.; Gaylord, Susan A.
African Americans experience a disproportionate rate of stress-related health conditions compared to European Americans. Mindfulness meditation has been shown to be effective for managing stress and various stress-related health conditions. This study explored the cultural relevance of mindfulness meditation training for African Americans adults. Fifteen African American adults with past or current experience with mindfulness meditation training were interviewed. Participants felt that mindfulness meditation helped them with enhanced stress management, direct health improvement, and enhanced self-awareness and purposefulness. They felt that they would recommend it and that other African Americans would be open to the practice but suggested that its presentation may need to be adapted. They suggested emphasizing the health benefits, connecting it to familiar spiritual ideology and cultural practices, supplementing the reading material with African American writers, increasing communication (education, instructor availability, “buddy system,” etc.), and including African Americans as instructors and participants. By implementing minor adaptations that enhance cultural relevance, mindfulness meditation can be a beneficial therapeutic intervention for this population. PMID:24442592
Luders, Eileen; Cherbuin, Nicolas
In the context of an aging population and increased prevalence of dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases, developing strategies to decrease the negative effects of aging is imperative. The scientific study of meditation as a potential tool to downregulate processes implicated in brain aging is an emerging field, and a growing body of research suggests that mindfulness practices are beneficial for cerebral resilience. Adding further evidence to this notion, an increasing number of imaging studies report effects of meditation on brain structure that are consistent with our understanding of neuroprotection. Here, we review the published findings in this field of research addressing the question of whether meditation diminishes age-related brain degeneration. Altogether, although analyses are still sparse and based on cross-sectional data, study outcomes suggest that meditation might be beneficial for brain preservation-both with respect to gray and white matter-possibly by slowing down the natural (age-related) decrease of brain tissue. Nevertheless, it should also be recognized that, until robust longitudinal data become available, there is no evidence for causation between meditation and brain preservation. This review includes a comprehensive commentary on limitations of the existing research and concludes with implications and directions for future studies. © 2016 New York Academy of Sciences.
Evans, Subhadra; Ling, Mathew; Hill, Briony; Rinehart, Nicole; Austin, David; Sciberras, Emma
Meditation-based interventions such as mindfulness and yoga are commonly practiced in the general community to improve mental and physical health. Parents, teachers and healthcare providers are also increasingly using such interventions with children. This review examines the use of meditation-based interventions in the treatment of children with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Electronic databases searched included PsycINFO, Medline, CINAHL, and AMED. Inclusion criteria involved children (aged to 18 years) diagnosed with ADHD, delivery of a meditation-based intervention to children and/or parents, and publication in a peer-reviewed journal. Studies were identified and coded using standard criteria, risk of bias was assessed using Risk of Bias in Non-randomised Studies- of interventions (ROBINS-I), and effect sizes were calculated. A total of 16 studies were identified (8 that included children in treatment, and 8 that included combined parent-child treatment). Results indicated that risk of bias was high across studies. At this stage, no definitive conclusions can be offered regarding the utility of meditation-based interventions for children with ADHD and/or their parents, since the methodological quality of the studies reviewed is low. Future well designed research is needed to establish the efficacy of meditation-based interventions, including commonly used practices such as mindfulness, before recommendations can be made for children with ADHD and their families.
Full Text Available Recent neuroimaging studies have identified a set of brain regions that are metabolically active during wakeful rest and consistently deactivate in a variety the performance of demanding tasks. This "default network" has been functionally linked to the stream of thoughts occurring automatically in the absence of goal-directed activity and which constitutes an aspect of mental behavior specifically addressed by many meditative practices. Zen meditation, in particular, is traditionally associated with a mental state of full awareness but reduced conceptual content, to be attained via a disciplined regulation of attention and bodily posture. Using fMRI and a simplified meditative condition interspersed with a lexical decision task, we investigated the neural correlates of conceptual processing during meditation in regular Zen practitioners and matched control subjects. While behavioral performance did not differ between groups, Zen practitioners displayed a reduced duration of the neural response linked to conceptual processing in regions of the default network, suggesting that meditative training may foster the ability to control the automatic cascade of semantic associations triggered by a stimulus and, by extension, to voluntarily regulate the flow of spontaneous mentation.
Jevning, R; Wallace, R K; Beidebach, M
While for centuries a wakeful and tranquil state or experience variously called "samadhi," "pure awareness," or "enlightenment" had been said to be a normal experience and the goal of meditation in Vedic, Buddhist, and Taoist traditions, there was little known about this behavior until recently, when the practice of "transcendental meditation" (TM) became available for study in Western scientific laboratories. Derived from the Vedic tradition, TM is unique because it requires no special circumstances or effort for practice. Based upon a wide spectrum of physiological data on TM, we hypothesize that meditation is an integrated response with peripheral circulatory and metabolic changes subserving increased central nervous activity. Consistent with the subjective description of meditation as a very relaxed but, at the same time, a very alert state, it is likely that such findings during meditation as increased cardiac output, probable increased cerebral blood flow, and findings reminiscent of the "extraordinary" character of classical reports: apparent cessation of CO2 generation by muscle, fivefold plasma AVP elevation, and EEG synchrony play critical roles in this putative response.
Full Text Available Recently Samuel Fleischacker has developed Kant’s model of enlightenment as a “minimalist enlightenment” in the tradition of a relatively thin proceduralism focused on the form of public debate and interaction. I want to discuss the possibility that such a minimalism, endorsed by Fleischacker, Habermas, Rawls, and others, benefits from a metaphysics of critical individual subjectivity as a prerequisite for the social proceduralism of the minimalist enlightenment. I argue that Kant’s enlightenment, metaphysically thicker than much contemporary proceduralism, constitutes a recovery and transformation of a subjective interiority deeply Cartesian in spirit and central to the reciprocity of the community of subjects in What is Enlightenment. This opens a space for a site of resistance to the social. Descartes’ solus secedo describes the analogical space of such a resistance for Kant’s sapere aude. The Meditations thus point forward implicitly to how a rational subject might achieve critical distance from tradition in its various forms, epistemic, ethical, moral, and political.
Richard K. Payne
Full Text Available The concept of “ritual syntax” is developed by relating it to cognitive studies of ritual, providing a fuller theoretical basis. Developing theoretical grounding requires differentiating between the members of five pairs of concepts: production is not the same as analysis, syntax is not the same as semantics, ritual is not the same as the mental, cognition is not the same as the mental, and syntax is not the same as language. These distinctions help avoid overly strong interpretations of the analogy between ritual and language. A discussion of “ritual” suggests that it is best conceptualized in terms of multiple scalar characteristics with degrees of ritualization. Two Buddhist practices, insight meditation and homa, are introduced as instances for the cognitive study of ritual. Syntax involves not simply ordering of elements, but also hierarchical organization of those elements. While syntax allows sentential elements to move within a sentence, ritual tends toward invariance. Invariance seems to contradict the claim that ritual is syntactically organized. However, rituals are often modeled on ordinary activities, producing a kind of “semantic” motivation for invariance.
Full Text Available Autism is a chronic neurodevelopmental disorder of unknown cause that affects approximately 1–3 percent of children and four times more boys than girls. Its prevalence is global and its social impact is devastating. In autism, the brain is unable to process sensory information normally. Instead, simple stimuli from the outside world are experienced as overwhelmingly intense and strain the emotional centers of the brain. A stress response to the incoming information is initiated that destabilizes cognitive networks and short-circuits adequate behavioral output. As a result, the child is unable to respond adequately to stimulation and initiate social behavior towards family, friends, and peers. In addition, these children typically face immune-digestive disorders that heighten social fears, anxieties, and internal conflicts. While it is critical to treat the physical symptoms, it is equally vital to offer an evidence-based holistic solution that harmonizes both their emotional and physical well-being as they move from childhood into adult life. Here, we summarize evidence from clinical studies and neuroscience research that suggests that an approach built on yogic principles and meditative tools is worth pursuing. Desired outcomes include relief of clinical symptoms of the disease, greater relaxation, and facilitated expression of feelings and skills, as well as improved family and social quality of life.
Lee, Yu-Hao; Hsieh, Ya-Ju; Shiah, Yung-Jong; Lin, Yu-Huei; Chen, Chiao-Yun; Tyan, Yu-Chang; GengQiu, JiaCheng; Hsu, Chung-Yao; Chen, Sharon Chia-Ju
To quantitate the meditation experience is a subjective and complex issue because it is confounded by many factors such as emotional state, method of meditation, and personal physical condition. In this study, we propose a strategy with a cross-sectional analysis to evaluate the meditation experience with 2 artificial intelligence techniques: artificial neural network and support vector machine. Within this analysis system, 3 features of the electroencephalography alpha spectrum and variant normalizing scaling are manipulated as the evaluating variables for the detection of accuracy. Thereafter, by modulating the sliding window (the period of the analyzed data) and shifting interval of the window (the time interval to shift the analyzed data), the effect of immediate analysis for the 2 methods is compared. This analysis system is performed on 3 meditation groups, categorizing their meditation experiences in 10-year intervals from novice to junior and to senior. After an exhausted calculation and cross-validation across all variables, the high accuracy rate >98% is achievable under the criterion of 0.5-minute sliding window and 2 seconds shifting interval for both methods. In a word, the minimum analyzable data length is 0.5 minute and the minimum recognizable temporal resolution is 2 seconds in the decision of meditative classification. Our proposed classifier of the meditation experience promotes a rapid evaluation system to distinguish meditation experience and a beneficial utilization of artificial techniques for the big-data analysis.
Geoffrey W. Melville
Full Text Available This study compared acute (15 min yoga posture and guided meditation practice, performed seated in a typical office workspace, on physiological and psychological markers of stress. Twenty participants (39.6±9.5 yr completed three conditions: yoga, meditation, and control (i.e., usual work separated by ≥24 hrs. Yoga and meditation significantly reduced perceived stress versus control, and this effect was maintained postintervention. Yoga increased heart rate while meditation reduced heart rate versus control (<0.05. Respiration rate was reduced during yoga and meditation versus control (<0.05. Domains of heart rate variability (e.g., SDNN and Total Power were significantly reduced during control versus yoga and meditation. Systolic and diastolic blood pressure were reduced secondary to meditation versus control only (<0.05. Physiological adaptations generally regressed toward baseline postintervention. In conclusion, yoga postures or meditation performed in the office can acutely improve several physiological and psychological markers of stress. These effects may be at least partially mediated by reduced respiration rate.
Carolina Baptista Menezes
Full Text Available Self-regulatory trainings can be an effective complementary treatment for mental health disorders. We investigated the effects of a six-week-focused meditation training on emotion and attention regulation in undergraduates randomly allocated to a meditation, a relaxation, or a wait-list control group. Assessment comprised a discrimination task that investigates the relationship between attentional load and emotional processing and self-report measures. For emotion regulation, results showed greater reduction in emotional interference in the low attentional load condition in meditators, particularly compared to relaxation. Only meditators presented a significant association between amount of weekly practice and the reduction in emotion interference in the task and significantly reduced image ratings of negative valence and arousal, perceived anxiety and difficulty during the task, and state and trait-anxiety. For attention regulation, response bias during the task was analyzed through signal detection theory. After training, meditation and relaxation significantly reduced bias in the high attentional load condition. Importantly, there was a dose-response effect on general bias: the lowest in meditation, increasing linearly across relaxation and wait-list. Only meditators reduced omissions in a concentrated attention test. Focused meditation seems to be an effective training for emotion and attention regulation and an alternative for treatments in the mental health context.
Wisner, Betsy L.; Jones, Barbara; Gwin, David
Schools are searching for innovative ways to meet the unique academic, social-emotional, and behavioral needs of adolescents, many of whom face serious personal and family challenges. An innovative practice that is currently being introduced into school settings is meditation. Types of meditation offered in school-based settings include…
This study explored the potential of classroom-based meditation practice as a tool to facilitate learning. Moreover, the impact of meditation on cognitive engagement, mindfulness and academic performance of undergraduate college students was investigated. Additionally, the relationships between mindfulness and cognitive engagement, and between…
Pavlov, Sergei V; Reva, Natalia V; Loktev, Konstantin V; Korenyok, Vladimir V; Aftanas, Lyubomir I
Meditation has been found to be an efficient strategy for coping with stress in healthy individuals and in patients with psychosomatic disorders. The main objective of the present study was to investigate the psychophysiological mechanisms of beneficial effects of meditation on cardiovascular reactivity. We examined effects of long-term Sahaja Yoga meditation on cardiovascular reactivity during affective image processing under "unregulated" and "emotion regulation" conditions. Twenty two experienced meditators and 20 control subjects participated in the study. Under "unregulated" conditions participants were shown neutral and affective images and were asked to attend to them. Under "emotion regulation" conditions they down-regulated negative affect through reappraisal of negative images or up-regulated positive affect through reappraisal of positive images. Under "unregulated" conditions while anticipating upcoming images meditators vs. controls did not show larger pre-stimulus total peripheral resistance and greater cardiac output for negative images in comparison with neutral and positive ones. Control subjects showed TPR decrease for negative images only when they consciously intended to reappraise them (i.e. in the "emotion regulation" condition). Both meditators and controls showed comparable cardiovascular reactivity during perception of positive stimuli, whereas up-regulating of positive affect was associated with more pronounced cardiac activation in meditators. The findings provide some insight into understanding the beneficial influence of meditation on top-down control of emotion and cardiovascular reactivity. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
This dissertation addresses the relationship between meditative and performative practices. It examines those meditative and spiritual techniques that have been used and explored in the work of the Theatre Reformers of the Twentieth century. The approach towards such investigation is going to open
Burns, Jaimie L.; Lee, Randolph M.; Brown, Lauren J.
The effects of meditation, specifically Transcendental Meditation (TM), on college students' experience of stress, anxiety, depression, and perfectionistic thoughts was investigated using 43 undergraduate students. Self-report measures of the variables were completed prior to the start of the study. Student groups were trained in TM and practiced…
Colzato, Lorenza S; van der Wel, Pauline; Sellaro, Roberta; Hommel, Bernhard
Recent studies show that a single bout of meditation can impact information processing. We were interested to see whether this impact extends to attentional focusing and the top-down control over irrelevant information. Healthy adults underwent brief single bouts of either focused attention meditation (FAM), which is assumed to increase top-down control, or open monitoring meditation (OMM), which is assumed to weaken top-down control, before performing a global-local task. While the size of the global-precedence effect (reflecting attentional focusing) was unaffected by type of meditation, the congruency effect (indicating the failure to suppress task-irrelevant information) was considerably larger after OMM than after FAM. Our findings suggest that engaging in particular kinds of meditation creates particular cognitive-control states that bias the individual processing style toward either goal-persistence or cognitive flexibility. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Full Text Available The article shows that in China and other Far East countries, where Chinese Buddhism spread at the early stages of Mahāyāna Buddhism, traditional methods of Buddhist practice, as explained in the Āgamas, were in practice, but reinterpreted from the Mahāyānistic understanding. Eventually, in the periods following the decline of the Tang Dynasty those practices were mostly abandoned and replaced by pure Mahāyānistic meditation practices, especially those of the Chan (Zen and Pure Land schools. It can be clearly seen from the meditation treatises discussed in this article, which are attributed to Kumārajīva, the most popular translator of Indian Buddhist literature in China. Actually, as Western researchers show, these treatises are likely to be notes of Kumārajīva’s disciples, introduced into meditation by him.
Full Text Available Spiritual concerns are highly relevant, but often ignored, in psychotherapy in general and in suicide in particular. This article presents Internet data and clinical case material bearing on the topic, and describes an innovative therapeutic intervention administered in a group-workshop format with suicide survivors and mental health professionals. The technique incorporates relaxation and mindfulness meditation, with the addition of guided meditation in search of inner wisdom. Results of the group intervention are described and illustrated. Many participants reported a significant positive experience including connection to knowledge that was highly relevant to them in their current state of life. Whether such insights were experienced as coming from within (a deeper part of the self or from an external source (a guiding figure or presence, indications are that guided meditation can be a powerful resource for therapists and their clients, suicidal and otherwise. Possible applications in diverse populations and settings, as well as the need for further research, are discussed.
de Castro, John M
Contemplative practices can have profound effects on mindfulness and on physical and sensory and mystical experiences. Individuals who self-reported meditation, yoga, contemplative prayer, or a combination of practices and their patterns of practice were compared for mindfulness, kundalini effects, and mystical experiences. The results suggest that the amount of practice but not the pattern and social conditions of practice influences mindfulness and possibly mystical experiences. Meditation, yoga, contemplative prayer, or a combination of practices all were found to be associated with enhancements of mindfulness, kundalini effects, and mystical experiences, but meditation had particularly strong associations and may be the basis of the associations of yoga and prayer with these outcomes. The results further suggest that the primary association of contemplative practices is with the real time awareness and appreciation of sensory and perceptual experiences which may be the intermediary between disparate practices and mindfulness, kundalini effects, and mystical experiences. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Marconi, Anna; Gragnano, Gaia; Lunetta, Christian; Gatto, Ramona; Fabiani, Viviana; Tagliaferri, Aurora; Rossi, Gabriella; Sansone, Valeria; Pagnini, Francesco
There is a lack of studies about psychological interventions for people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and their caregivers. We investigated the experience of a meditation training program tailored for ALS needs. People with ALS (pALS) and their caregivers that joined a meditation program for ALS were interviewed at the end of the program. Verbatims were analyzed with a qualitative approach. Both pALS and their caregivers reported a positive impact on their psychological well-being, promoted by an increase in acceptance and non-judgmental attitude. Furthermore, coping strategies seem to improve, with a positive effect on resilience skills. The ALS meditation training program seems to be an effective psychological intervention for the promotion of well-being in pALS and their caregivers.
Jared R Lindahl
Full Text Available Buddhist-derived meditation practices are currently being employed as a popular form of health promotion. While meditation programs draw inspiration from Buddhist textual sources for the benefits of meditation, these sources also acknowledge a wide range of other effects beyond health-related outcomes. The Varieties of Contemplative Experience study investigates meditation-related experiences that are typically underreported, particularly experiences that are described as challenging, difficult, distressing, functionally impairing, and/or requiring additional support. A mixed-methods approach featured qualitative interviews with Western Buddhist meditation practitioners and experts in Theravāda, Zen, and Tibetan traditions. Interview questions probed meditation experiences and influencing factors, including interpretations and management strategies. A follow-up survey provided quantitative assessments of causality, impairment and other demographic and practice-related variables. The content-driven thematic analysis of interviews yielded a taxonomy of 59 meditation-related experiences across 7 domains: cognitive, perceptual, affective, somatic, conative, sense of self, and social. Even in cases where the phenomenology was similar across participants, interpretations of and responses to the experiences differed considerably. The associated valence ranged from very positive to very negative, and the associated level of distress and functional impairment ranged from minimal and transient to severe and enduring. In order to determine what factors may influence the valence, impact, and response to any given experience, the study also identified 26 categories of influencing factors across 4 domains: practitioner-level factors, practice-level factors, relationships, and health behaviors. By identifying a broader range of experiences associated with meditation, along with the factors that contribute to the presence and management of experiences reported
Raja Amarnath G
Full Text Available Objective: To study and assess the effectiveness of Heartfulness Meditation in reducing stress levels of nursing students in a learning environment. Methodology: A cross-sectional research designed using a standard Perceived Stress Questionnaire pertaining to the subjective perception of things in the learning and clinical environment leading to emotional stress such as workload, worries, tension, and harassment as well as joyful conditions. Overall 120 students from I, II and IV years of a private nursing college in Chennai, in the state of Tamil Nadu, India participate in 3 hours (1 hour each day on 3 consecutive days Heartfulness meditation workshop. Results: The predominant themes represented are perceptions of the learning environment and clinical practice, coping, personal issues, balancing college work, and personal life. Mean Baseline stress scores of workload is higher for first and second-year students compared with final year students; Worries and Harassment score is higher in second-year students; Joy score is higher for first-year students; Tension score is higher in final year students. After Heartfulness meditation workshop, the mean decrease in workload, worries, tension and harassment score and mean increase in Joy score is observed in the participants. Conclusion: The investigation on the effectiveness of Heartfulness Meditation as a mental and emotional support tool to deal with and to mitigate stress reveals positive results. Based on these results, it is evident that Heartfulness meditation can be employed as a coping mechanism to deal with stress in a clinical and learning environment. Given the adverse effects of stress on the physiological and psychological well-being of caregivers; Heartfulness Meditation may be considered for inclusion in the standard curriculum of nursing colleges.
Prinds, Christina; Hvidtjørn, Dorte; Skytthe, Axel; Mogensen, Ole; Hvidt, Niels Christian
Mothers' existential dimensions in the transition to motherhood have not been described thoroughly. They might experience disruption and new perspectives in existential ways and this may especially be the case in preterm birth. The aim of this study was twofold. First we investigated the existential dimension of motherhood transition in a secularized context, through practices of prayer and meditation. Second we described the relationship between time of birth (term/preterm) and the prayer/meditation practices of the mothers. Data were gathered from a nationwide questionnaire survey among first time mothers conducted during the summer 2011. All Danish women who gave birth before the 32(nd) pregnancy week (n = 255), and double the number of mothers who gave birth at full term (n = 658) in 2010 were included (total n = 913). The questionnaire consisted of 46 overall items categorized in seven sections, which independently cover important aspects of existential meaning-making related to becoming a mother. The respondent rate was 57% (n = 517). Moments of praying or meditation 6-18 months post partum were reported by 65%, and mothers who responded affirmatively, practiced prayer (n = 286) more than meditation (n = 89), p meditation between mothers of full term or preterm born children, not even after controlling for perinatal or post partum loss, mode of birth, age, status of cohabiting or education. In this explorative study we found specific practices of existential meaning-making through prayer and/or meditation among first time mothers, living in a very secularized context. Yet we know only little about character or importance of these practices among mothers, and hardly anything about existential meaning-making among new fathers. Hence the implications of meaning-making practices related to other dimensions of health are difficult to address in a qualified way in care for new mothers and families.
Alda, Marta; Puebla-Guedea, Marta; Rodero, Baltasar; Demarzo, Marcelo; Montero-Marin, Jesus; Roca, Miquel; Garcia-Campayo, Javier
Mindfulness refers to an awareness that emerges by intentionally focusing on the present experience in a nonjudgmental or evaluative manner. Evidence regarding its efficacy has been increasing exponentially, and recent research suggests that the practice of meditation is associated with longer leukocyte telomere length. However, the psychological mechanisms underlying this potential relationship are unknown. We examined the telomere lengths of a group of 20 Zen meditation experts and another 20 healthy matched comparison participants who had not previously meditated. We also measured multiple psychological variables related to meditation practice. Genomic DNA was extracted for telomere measurement using a Life Length proprietary program. High-throughput quantitative fluorescence in situ hybridization (HT-Q-FISH) was used to measure the telomere length distribution and the median telomere length (MTL). The meditators group had a longer MTL ( p = 0.005) and a lower percentage of short telomeres in individual cells ( p = 0.007) than those in the comparison group. To determine which of the psychological variables contributed more to telomere maintenance, two regression analyses were conducted. In the first model, which applied to the MTL, the following three factors were significant: age, absence of experiential avoidance, and Common Humanity subscale of the Self Compassion Scale. Similarly, in the model that examined the percentage of short telomeres, the same factors were significant: age, absence of experiential avoidance, and Common Humanity subscale of the Self Compassion Scale. Although limited by a small sample size, these results suggest that the absence of experiential avoidance of negative emotions and thoughts is integral to the connection between meditation and telomeres.
Kelm, Diana J; Ridgeway, Jennifer L; Gas, Becca L; Mohan, Monali; Cook, David A; Nelson, Darlene R; Benzo, Roberto P
Mindfulness training includes mindfulness meditation, which has been shown to improve both attention and self-awareness. Medical providers in the intensive care unit often deal with difficult situations with strong emotions, life-and-death decisions, and both interpersonal and interprofessional conflicts. The effect of mindfulness meditation training on healthcare providers during acute care tasks such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation remains unknown. Mindfulness meditation has the potential to improve provider well-being and reduce stress in individuals involved in resuscitation teams, which could then translate into better team communication and delivery of care under stress. A better understanding of this process could lead to more effective training approaches, improved team performance, and better patient outcomes. All participants were instructed to use a mindfulness meditation device (Muse™ headband) at home for 7 min twice a day or 14 min daily over the 4-week training period. This device uses brainwave sensors to monitor active versus relaxing brain activity and provides real-time feedback. We conducted a single-group pretest-posttest convergent mixed-methods study. We enrolled 24 healthcare providers, comprising 4 interprofessional code teams, including physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, and pharmacists. Each team participated in a simulation session immediately before and after the mindfulness training period. Each session consisted of two simulated cardiopulmonary arrest scenarios. Both quantitative and qualitative outcomes were assessed. The median proportion of participants who used the device as prescribed was 85%. Emotional balance, as measured by the critical positivity ratio, improved significantly from pretraining to posttraining (p = .02). Qualitative findings showed that mindfulness meditation changed how participants responded to work-related stress, including stress in real-code situations. Participants described the value of
Fjorback, Lone; Walach, Harald
This article systematically reviews the evidence for Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and analyses the conditions around their rising popularity. MBSR, MBCT and Mindfulness Meditation were used as key words. The inclusion criteria were......, and showed a tendency over active control in one study. MBCT reduced the risk of depressive relapse in all five included studies. Evidence supports that MBSR improves mental health and MBCT prevents depressive relapse. It is interesting to observe that meditation based therapy programs are rapidly enjoying...
Tang, Yi-Yuan; Tang, Rongxiang; Posner, Michael I
The core clinical symptoms of addiction include an enhanced incentive for drug taking (craving), impaired self-control (impulsivity and compulsivity), emotional dysregulation (negative mood) and increased stress reactivity. Symptoms related to impaired self-control involve reduced activity in anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), adjacent prefrontal cortex (mPFC) and other brain areas. Behavioral training such as mindfulness meditation can increase the function of control networks including those leading to improved emotion regulation and thus may be a promising approach for the treatment of addiction. In a series of randomized controlled trials (RCTs), we tested whether increased ACC/mPFC activity is related to better self-control abilities in executive functions, emotion regulation and stress response in healthy and addicted populations. After a brief mindfulness training (Integrative Body-Mind Training, IBMT), we used the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS) and Profile of Mood States (POMS) to measure emotion regulation, salivary cortisol for the stress response and fMRI for brain functional and DTI structural changes. Relaxation training was used to serve as an active control. In both smokers and nonsmokers, improved self-control abilities in emotion regulation and stress reduction were found after training and these changes were related to increased ACC/mPFC activity following training. Compared with nonsmokers, smokers showed reduced ACC/mPFC activity in the self-control network before training, and these deficits were ameliorated after training. These results indicate that promoting emotion regulation and improving ACC/mPFC brain activity can help for addiction prevention and treatment. Copyright © 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd.. All rights reserved.
Travis, Fred; Shear, Jonathan
This paper proposes a third meditation-category--automatic self-transcending--to extend the dichotomy of focused attention and open monitoring proposed by Lutz. Automatic self-transcending includes techniques designed to transcend their own activity. This contrasts with focused attention, which keeps attention focused on an object; and open monitoring, which keeps attention involved in the monitoring process. Each category was assigned EEG bands, based on reported brain patterns during mental tasks, and meditations were categorized based on their reported EEG. Focused attention, characterized by beta/gamma activity, included meditations from Tibetan Buddhist, Buddhist, and Chinese traditions. Open monitoring, characterized by theta activity, included meditations from Buddhist, Chinese, and Vedic traditions. Automatic self-transcending, characterized by alpha1 activity, included meditations from Vedic and Chinese traditions. Between categories, the included meditations differed in focus, subject/object relation, and procedures. These findings shed light on the common mistake of averaging meditations together to determine mechanisms or clinical effects. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Fingelkurts, Andrew A; Fingelkurts, Alexander A; Kallio-Tamminen, Tarja
Using theoretical analysis of self-consciousness concept and experimental evidence on the brain default mode network (DMN) that constitutes the neural signature of self-referential processes, we hypothesized that the anterior and posterior subnets comprising the DMN should show differences in their integrity as a function of meditation training. Functional connectivity within DMN and its subnets (measured by operational synchrony) has been measured in ten novice meditators using an electroencephalogram (EEG) recording in a pre-/post-meditation intervention design. We have found that while the whole DMN was clearly suppressed, different subnets of DMN responded differently after 4 months of meditation training: The strength of EEG operational synchrony in the right and left posterior modules of the DMN decreased in resting post-meditation condition compared to a pre-meditation condition, whereas the frontal DMN module on the contrary exhibited an increase in the strength of EEG operational synchrony. These findings combined with published data on functional-anatomic heterogeneity within the DMN and on trait subjective experiences commonly found following meditation allow us to propose that the first-person perspective and the sense of agency (the witnessing observer) are presented by the frontal DMN module, while the posterior modules of the DMN are generally responsible for the experience of the continuity of 'I' as embodied and localized within bodily space. Significance of these findings is discussed.
Leung, Mei-Kei; Chan, Chetwyn C H; Yin, Jing; Lee, Chack-Fan; So, Kwok-Fai; Lee, Tatia M C
Previous voxel-based morphometry (VBM) studies have revealed that meditation is associated with structural brain changes in regions underlying cognitive processes that are required for attention or mindfulness during meditation. This VBM study examined brain changes related to the practice of an emotion-oriented meditation: loving-kindness meditation (LKM). A 3 T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner captured images of the brain structures of 25 men, 10 of whom had practiced LKM in the Theravada tradition for at least 5 years. Compared with novices, more gray matter volume was detected in the right angular and posterior parahippocampal gyri in LKM experts. The right angular gyrus has not been previously reported to have structural differences associated with meditation, and its specific role in mind and cognitive empathy theory suggests the uniqueness of this finding for LKM practice. These regions are important for affective regulation associated with empathic response, anxiety and mood. At the same time, gray matter volume in the left temporal lobe in the LKM experts appeared to be greater, an observation that has also been reported in previous MRI meditation studies on meditation styles other than LKM. Overall, the findings of our study suggest that experience in LKM may influence brain structures associated with affective regulation.
M G, Ramesh; B, Sathian; E, Sinu; S Rai, Kiranmai
Psychological studies have shown that brief period of mindfulness meditation significantly improves critical cognitive skills. But, there are no studies which have assessed the effects of Brahma Kumaris Rajayoga Meditation (BKRM) practice on positive thinking and happiness in life. The present study was designed to test the hypothesis is BKRM enhances positive thinking and that essential to attain higher levels of self-satisfaction and happiness in life. This study is a cross sectional comparative study which was done between Rajayoga meditators and non-meditators. This study was conducted at BKRM Centres at Manipal and Udupi in Karnataka, India. Fifty subjects were selected for this study, which included those practising BKRM in their normal routine life (n=25) and non-meditators (n=25) who were aged 42.95+/15.29 years. Self-reported Oxford happiness questionnaire (OHQ) was administered to all subjects and their happiness scores and status were assessed and compared. Items related to self-satisfaction in life were selected from the OHQ and compared between meditators and non-meditators. Participants completed self-reported OHQ, from which data of happiness status and self-satisfaction in relation to meditation duration and frequency were analyzed by descriptive statistics and test of hypothesis. Mean happiness scores of BKRM were significantly higher (phappiness status were significantly higher (phappiness score and self-satisfaction score. BKRM helps in significantly increasing self-satisfaction and happiness in life by enhancing positive thinking. Irrespective of age and years of short-term or long-term meditation practice, enhanced positive thinking increases self-satisfaction and happiness in life.
Marshall, Rebecca Shisler; Laures-Gore, Jacqueline; Love, Kim
Background: Stroke is currently the leading cause of long-term disability in adults in the United States. There is a need for accessible, low-cost treatments of stroke-related disabilities such as aphasia. Aims: To explore an intervention for aphasia utilizing mindfulness meditation (MM). This preliminary study examines the feasibility of teaching…
Perelman, Abigayl M.; Miller, Sarah L.; Clements, Carl B.; Rodriguez, Amy; Allen, Kathryn; Cavanaugh, Ron
In an era marked by pronounced overcrowding, including an increasing number of offenders serving long-term sentences, correctional systems continue to search for innovative and effective treatments. Few jurisdictions have attempted non-Western approaches such as meditative practice to reduce stress, conflict, and rule infractions. The current…
Crowley, Claire; Munk, Dana
Statement of the Problem: The competing pressures of college life can increase stress and anxiety in college students and have negative outcomes on academic performance and overall well-being. The purpose of this study was to use qualitative measures to examine how participation in a college level experiential meditation course impacted students'…
This article describes a short-term treatment insight-oriented model for American Indian adolescents, called Dream Catcher Meditation. It is aimed at helping clients' express unconscious conflicts and to facilitate differentiation and healthy mutuality. Though its duration can vary, twelve sessions are outlined here. Session descriptions include goals and sample questions. Also included are anecdotal material and reflections about cultural relevancy.
Rizer, Carol Ann; Fagan, Mary Helen; Kilmon, Carol; Rath, Linda
Background: Understanding why individuals decide to participate in mindfulness-based practices can aid in the development of effective health promotion outreach efforts. Purpose: This study investigated the role of health beliefs and perceived stress on the intention to practice mindfulness meditation among undergraduate college students. Methods:…
van der Zwan, J.E.; de Vente, W.; Huizink, A.C.; Bögels, S.M.; de Bruin, E.I.
In contemporary western societies stress is highly prevalent, therefore the need for stress-reducing methods is great. This randomized controlled trial compared the efficacy of self-help physical activity (PA), mindfulness meditation (MM), and heart rate variability biofeedback (HRV-BF) in reducing
Muthukrishnan, Shobitha; Jain, Reena; Kohli, Sangeeta; Batra, Swaraj
Various pregnancy complications like hypertension, preeclampsia have been strongly correlated with maternal stress. One of the connecting links between pregnancy complications and maternal stress is mind-body intervention which can be part of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). Biologic measures of stress during pregnancy may get reduced by such interventions. To evaluate the effect of Mindfulness meditation on perceived stress scores and autonomic function tests of pregnant Indian women. Pregnant Indian women of 12 weeks gestation were randomised to two treatment groups: Test group with Mindfulness meditation and control group with their usual obstetric care. The effect of Mindfulness meditation on perceived stress scores and cardiac sympathetic functions and parasympathetic functions (Heart rate variation with respiration, lying to standing ratio, standing to lying ratio and respiratory rate) were evaluated on pregnant Indian women. There was a significant decrease in perceived stress scores, a significant decrease of blood pressure response to cold pressor test and a significant increase in heart rate variability in the test group (pwomen. The results of this study suggest that mindfulness meditation improves parasympathetic functions in pregnant women and is a powerful modulator of the sympathetic nervous system during pregnancy.
Wu, Shr-Da; Lo, Pei-Chen
The cardiac and respiratory systems can be viewed as two self-sustained oscillators with various interactions between them. In this study, the cardiorespiratory phase synchronization (CRPS) quantified by synchrogram was investigated to explore the phase synchronization between these two systems. The synchrogram scheme was applied to electrocardiogram (ECG) and respiration signals. Particular focus was the distinct cardiac-respiratory regulation phenomena intervened by inward-attention meditation and normal relaxation. Four synchronization parameters were measured: frequency ratio, lasting length, number of epochs, and total length. The results showed that normal rest resulted in much weaker CRPS. Statistical analysis reveals that the number of synchronous epochs and the total synchronization length significantly increase (p=0.024 and 0.034 respectively) during meditation. Furthermore, a predominance of 4:1 and 5:1 rhythm-ratio synchronizations was observed during meditation. Consequently, this study concludes that CRPS can be enhanced during meditation, compared with normal relaxation, and reveals a predominance of specific frequency ratios. Copyright (c) 2008 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
Singh, Nilkamal; Telles, Shirley
Evoked potentials (EPs) are a relatively noninvasive method to assess the integrity of sensory pathways. As the neural generators for most of the components are relatively well worked out, EPs have been used to understand the changes occurring during meditation. Event-related potentials (ERPs) yield useful information about the response to tasks, usually assessing attention. A brief review of the literature yielded eleven studies on EPs and seventeen on ERPs from 1978 to 2014. The EP studies covered short, mid, and long latency EPs, using both auditory and visual modalities. ERP studies reported the effects of meditation on tasks such as the auditory oddball paradigm, the attentional blink task, mismatched negativity, and affective picture viewing among others. Both EP and ERPs were recorded in several meditations detailed in the review. Maximum changes occurred in mid latency (auditory) EPs suggesting that maximum changes occur in the corresponding neural generators in the thalamus, thalamic radiations, and primary auditory cortical areas. ERP studies showed meditation can increase attention and enhance efficiency of brain resource allocation with greater emotional control.
Önem, E. E.
This study aimed to find whether meditation can be effective in terms of anxiety and vocabulary learning in a foreign language learning context. To test this, an experimental pre-test and post-test study was designed. 61 students (14 male-47 female) from the English Language Teaching Department of a state university in Turkey were assigned into…
Nidich, Sanford; Mjasiri, Shujaa; Nidich, Randi; Rainforth, Maxwell; Grant, James; Valosek, Laurent; Chang, Walter; Zigler, Ronald L.
The middle school level is of particular concern to educators because of poor standardized test performance. This study evaluated change in academic achievement in public middle school students practicing the Transcendental Meditation[R] program compared to controls. A total of 189 students who were below proficiency level at baseline in English…
Singh, Nilkamal; Telles, Shirley
Evoked potentials (EPs) are a relatively noninvasive method to assess the integrity of sensory pathways. As the neural generators for most of the components are relatively well worked out, EPs have been used to understand the changes occurring during meditation. Event-related potentials (ERPs) yield useful information about the response to tasks, usually assessing attention. A brief review of the literature yielded eleven studies on EPs and seventeen on ERPs from 1978 to 2014. The EP studies covered short, mid, and long latency EPs, using both auditory and visual modalities. ERP studies reported the effects of meditation on tasks such as the auditory oddball paradigm, the attentional blink task, mismatched negativity, and affective picture viewing among others. Both EP and ERPs were recorded in several meditations detailed in the review. Maximum changes occurred in mid latency (auditory) EPs suggesting that maximum changes occur in the corresponding neural generators in the thalamus, thalamic radiations, and primary auditory cortical areas. ERP studies showed meditation can increase attention and enhance efficiency of brain resource allocation with greater emotional control. PMID:26137479
This article examines parallel challenges and avenues for progress I have observed in my efforts to introduce improvisation in classical music studies, and meditation in music and overall academic settings. Though both processes were once central in their respective knowledge traditions--improvisation in earlier eras of European classical music,…
Lang, Ariel J.; Strauss, Jennifer L.; Bomyea, Jessica; Bormann, Jill E.; Hickman, Steven D.; Good, Raquel C.; Essex, Michael
In spite of the existence of good empirically supported treatments for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), consumers and providers continue to ask for more options for managing this common and often chronic condition. Meditation-based approaches are being widely implemented, but there is minimal research rigorously assessing their effectiveness.…
Van Dam, Nicholas T; van Vugt, Marieke K; Vago, David R; Schmalzl, Laura; Saron, Clifford D; Olendzki, Andrew; Meissner, Ted; Lazar, Sara W; Gorchov, Jolie; Fox, Kieran C R; Field, Brent A; Britton, Willoughby B; Brefczynski-Lewis, Julie A; Meyer, David E
In response to our article, Davidson and Dahl offer commentary and advice regarding additional topics crucial to a comprehensive prescriptive agenda for future research on mindfulness and meditation. Their commentary raises further challenges and provides an important complement to our article. More
Koole, S.L.; Govorun, O.; Chang, C.
Self-reported or explicit self-esteem frequently conflicts with indirectly assessed, implicit self-esteem. The present research investigated whether meditation may reduce such inner conflicts by promoting congruence between implicit and explicit self-esteem. Relative to control conditions,
Van Dam, Nicholas T; van Vugt, Marieke K; Vago, David R; Schmalzl, Laura; Saron, Clifford D; Olendzki, Andrew; Meissner, Ted; Lazar, Sara W; Kerr, Catherine E; Gorchov, Jolie; Fox, Kieran C R; Field, Brent A; Britton, Willoughby B; Brefczynski-Lewis, Julie A; Meyer, David E
During the past two decades, mindfulness meditation has gone from being a fringe topic of scientific investigation to being an occasional replacement for psychotherapy, tool of corporate well-being, widely implemented educational practice, and "key to building more resilient soldiers." Yet the
R.A. Gotink (Rinske); M.W. Vernooij (Meike); M.K. Ikram (Kamran); W.J. Niessen (Wiro); Krestin, G.P. (Gabriel P.); A. Hofman (Albert); H.W. Tiemeier (Henning); M.G.M. Hunink (Myriam)
textabstractTo determine the association between meditation and yoga practice, experienced stress, and amygdala and hippocampal volume in a large population-based study. This study was embedded within the population-based Rotterdam Study and included 3742 participants for cross-sectional
Cebolla, Ausiàs; Campos, Daniel; Galiana, Laura; Oliver, Amparo; Tomás, Jose Manuel; Feliu-Soler, Albert; Soler, Joaquim; García-Campayo, Javier; Demarzo, Marcelo; Baños, Rosa María
Several meditation practices are associated with mindfulness-based interventions but little is known about their specific effects on the development of different mindfulness facets. This study aimed to assess the relations among different practice variables, types of meditation, and mindfulness facets. The final sample was composed of 185 participants who completed an on-line survey, including information on the frequency and duration of each meditation practice, lifetime practice, and the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire. A Multiple Indicators Multiple Causes structural model was specified, estimated, and tested. Results showed that the Model's overall fit was adequate: χ 2 (1045)=1542.800 (p<0.001), CFI=0.902, RMSEA=0.042. Results revealed that mindfulness facets were uniquely related to the different variables and types of meditation. Our findings showed the importance of specific practices in promoting mindfulness, compared to compassion and informal practices, and they pointed out which one fits each mindfulness facet better. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Ratanasiripong, Paul; Park, Janet F; Ratanasiripong, Nop; Kathalae, Duangrat
The current study investigated the efficacy of two brief intervention programs-biofeedback and mindfulness meditation-on levels of state anxiety and perceived stress in second-year Thai nursing students as they began clinical training. Eighty-nine participants from a public nursing college in Thailand were randomly assigned to one of three groups: biofeedback group, mindfulness meditation group, or a control group. All participants were given pre- and postintervention surveys, which included demographic information; the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (State Anxiety Scale); and the Perceived Stress Scale. Findings indicated that biofeedback significantly reduced anxiety and maintained stress levels in nursing students. Mindfulness meditation similarly decreased anxiety levels, while also significantly lowering stress levels. The biofeedback group exhibited significant reduction in anxiety levels among the three groups at postintervention. Despite stressors and demands nursing students experience as they begin clinical practice, study findings support the use of biofeedback and mindfulness meditation interventions to assist nursing students in managing stress and anxiety. Copyright 2015, SLACK Incorporated.
Moye, Amir Sep; van Vugt, Marieke; van Vugt, Marieke K; Banks, Adrian P; Kennedy, William G
Although meditation and mindfulness practices are widely discussed and studied more and more in the scientific literature, there is little theory about the cognitive mechanisms that comprise it. Here we begin to develop such a theory by creating a computational cognitive model of a particular type
Hooff, M.L.M. van; Baas, M.
The effectiveness of meditation as a tool to recover from stress has already been widely established. However, less is known about the potential psychological mediating and moderating mechanisms affecting its effectiveness. The present study aimed to advance insight in this respect by examining the
Fox, Kieran C R; Dixon, Matthew L; Nijeboer, Savannah; Girn, Manesh; Floman, James L; Lifshitz, Michael; Ellamil, Melissa; Sedlmeier, Peter; Christoff, Kalina
Meditation is a family of mental practices that encompasses a wide array of techniques employing distinctive mental strategies. We systematically reviewed 78 functional neuroimaging (fMRI and PET) studies of meditation, and used activation likelihood estimation to meta-analyze 257 peak foci from 31 experiments involving 527 participants. We found reliably dissociable patterns of brain activation and deactivation for four common styles of meditation (focused attention, mantra recitation, open monitoring, and compassion/loving-kindness), and suggestive differences for three others (visualization, sense-withdrawal, and non-dual awareness practices). Overall, dissociable activation patterns are congruent with the psychological and behavioral aims of each practice. Some brain areas are recruited consistently across multiple techniques-including insula, pre/supplementary motor cortices, dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, and frontopolar cortex-but convergence is the exception rather than the rule. A preliminary effect-size meta-analysis found medium effects for both activations (d=0.59) and deactivations (d=-0.74), suggesting potential practical significance. Our meta-analysis supports the neurophysiological dissociability of meditation practices, but also raises many methodological concerns and suggests avenues for future research. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Full Text Available Recent research suggests that bodily signals and interoception are strongly related to our sense of time. Mindfulness meditators train to be aware of their body states and therefore could be more accurate at interval timing. In this study, n = 22 experienced mindfulness meditators and n = 22 matched controls performed both, an acoustic and a visual duration reproduction task of 8 s, 14s and 20s intervals, while heart rate and skin conductance were continuously assessed. In addition, participants accomplished a heart-beat perception task and two selective attention tasks. Results revealed no differences between meditators and controls with respect to performance in duration reproduction or attentional capacities. Additionally no group difference in heart beat perception scores was found. Across all subjects, correlational analyses revealed several associations between performance in the duration reproduction tasks and psychophysiological changes, the latter being also related to heart beat perception scores. Furthermore, former findings of linearly increasing cardiac periods and decreasing skin conductance levels during the auditory duration estimation task (Meissner and Wittmann, 2011 could be replicated, and these changes could also be observed during a visual duration reproduction task. In contrast to our earlier findings, the heart-beat perception test was not related with timing performance. Overall, although experienced meditators did not differ from matched controls with respect to duration reproduction and interoceptive awareness, this study adds significantly to the emerging view that time perception is related to autonomic regulation and awareness of body states.
B. Rael Cahn
Full Text Available Thirty-eight individuals (mean age: 34.8 years old participating in a 3-month yoga and meditation retreat were assessed before and after the intervention for psychometric measures, brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF, circadian salivary cortisol levels, and pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines. Participation in the retreat was found to be associated with decreases in self-reported anxiety and depression as well as increases in mindfulness. As hypothesized, increases in the plasma levels of BDNF and increases in the magnitude of the cortisol awakening response (CAR were also observed. The normalized change in BDNF levels was inversely correlated with BSI-18 anxiety scores at both the pre-retreat (r = 0.40, p < 0.05 and post-retreat (r = 0.52, p < 0.005 such that those with greater anxiety scores tended to exhibit smaller pre- to post-retreat increases in plasma BDNF levels. In line with a hypothesized decrease in inflammatory processes resulting from the yoga and meditation practices, we found that the plasma level of the anti-inflammatory cytokine Interleukin-10 was increased and the pro-inflammatory cytokine Interleukin-12 was reduced after the retreat. Contrary to our initial hypotheses, plasma levels of other pro-inflammatory cytokines, including Interferon Gamma (IFN-γ, Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF-α, Interleukin-1β (IL-1β, Interleukin-6 (IL-6, and Interleukin-8 (IL-8 were increased after the retreat. Given evidence from previous studies of the positive effects of meditative practices on mental fitness, autonomic homeostasis and inflammatory status, we hypothesize that these findings are related to the meditative practices throughout the retreat; however, some of the observed changes may also be related to other aspects of the retreat such as physical exercise-related components of the yoga practice and diet. We hypothesize that the patterns of change observed here reflect mind-body integration and well-being. The increased BDNF levels
Laneri, Davide; Krach, Sören; Paulus, Frieder M; Kanske, Philipp; Schuster, Verena; Sommer, Jens; Müller-Pinzler, Laura
Mindfulness has been shown to reduce stress, promote health, and well-being, as well as to increase compassionate behavior toward others. It reduces distress to one's own painful experiences, going along with altered neural responses, by enhancing self-regulatory processes and decreasing emotional reactivity. In order to investigate if mindfulness similarly reduces distress and neural activations associated with empathy for others' socially painful experiences, which might in the following more strongly motivate prosocial behavior, the present study compared trait, and state effects of long-term mindfulness meditation (LTM) practice. To do so we acquired behavioral data and neural activity measures using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during an empathy for social pain task while manipulating the meditation state between two groups of LTM practitioners that were matched with a control group. The results show increased activations of the anterior insula (AI) and anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) as well as the medial prefrontal cortex and temporal pole when sharing others' social suffering, both in LTM practitioners and controls. However, in LTM practitioners, who practiced mindfulness meditation just prior to observing others' social pain, left AI activation was lower and the strength of AI activation following the mindfulness meditation was negatively associated with trait compassion in LTM practitioners. The findings suggest that current mindfulness meditation could provide an adaptive mechanism in coping with distress due to the empathic sharing of others' suffering, thereby possibly enabling compassionate behavior. Hum Brain Mapp 38:4034-4046, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
van der Riet, Pamela; Levett-Jones, Tracy; Aquino-Russell, Catherine
A growing body of literature has identified a range of beneficial physiological and psychological outcomes from the regular practice of mindfulness meditation. For healthcare professionals, mindfulness meditation is claimed to reduce stress, anxiety and burnout, and enhance resilience. The objective of this integrative review was to critically appraise the literature that related to the effectiveness of mindfulness meditation programs for nurses and nursing students. This review was conducted using Whittemore and Knafl's framework for integrated reviews. Using the terms mindfulness, mindfulness-based-stress reduction, Vipassana, nurses, and nurse education a comprehensive search of the following electronic databases was conducted: CINAHAL, Medline, PsycINFO, EMBASE. EMCARE, ERIC and SCOPUS. The initial search located 1703 articles. After screening and checking for eligibility 20 articles were critically appraised using the Critical Appraisal Skills Program checklist for qualitative papers and McMaster's Critical appraisal form for quantitative papers. The final number of papers included in the review was 16. The results of this review identified that mindfulness meditation has a positive impact on nurses' and nursing students' stress, anxiety, depression, burnout, sense of well-being and empathy. However, the majority of the papers described small scale localised studies which limits generalisability. Contemporary healthcare is challenging and complex. This review indicated that mindfulness meditation is an effective strategy for preventing and managing the workplace stress and burnout, which so often plague nursing staff and students. Further studies with larger sample sizes using rigorous research methods would be useful in extending this work. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Full Text Available Abstract: Abstract: The cardiac dynamics during meditation is explored quantitatively with two chaos-based non-linear techniques viz. multi-fractal detrended fluctuation analysis and visibility network analysis techniques. The data used are the instantaneous heart rate (in beats/minute of subjects performing Kundalini Yoga and Chi meditation from PhysioNet. The results show consistent differences between the quantitative parameters obtained by both the analysis techniques. This indicates an interesting phenomenon of change in the complexity of the cardiac dynamics during meditation supported with quantitative parameters.The results also produce a preliminary evidence that these techniques can be used as a measure of physiological impact on subjects performing meditation.
Lou, H C; Kjaer, T W; Friberg, L
The aim of the present study was to examine whether the neural structures subserving meditation can be reproducibly measured, and, if so, whether they are different from those supporting the resting state of normal consciousness. Cerebral blood flow distribution was investigated with the 15O-H20...... PET technique in nine young adults, who were highly experienced yoga teachers, during the relaxation meditation (Yoga Nidra), and during the resting state of normal consciousness. In addition, global CBF was measured in two of the subjects. Spectral EEG analysis was performed throughout...... the investigations. In meditation, differential activity was seen, with the noticeable exception of V1, in the posterior sensory and associative cortices known to participate in imagery tasks. In the resting state of normal consciousness (compared with meditation as a baseline), differential activity was found...
Fayed, Nicolás; Lopez del Hoyo, Yolanda; Andres, Eva; Serrano-Blanco, Antoni; Bellón, Juan; Aguilar, Keyla; Cebolla, Ausias; Garcia-Campayo, Javier
Introduction This work aimed to determine whether 1H magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS), diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) are correlated with years of meditation and psychological variables in long-term Zen meditators compared to healthy non-meditator controls. Materials and Methods Design. Controlled, cross-sectional study. Sample. Meditators were recruited from a Zen Buddhist monastery. The control group was recruited from hospital staff. Meditators were administered questionnaires on anxiety, depression, cognitive impairment and mindfulness. 1H-MRS (1.5 T) of the brain was carried out by exploring four areas: both thalami, both hippocampi, the posterior superior parietal lobule (PSPL) and posterior cingulate gyrus. Predefined areas of the brain were measured for diffusivity (ADC) and fractional anisotropy (FA) by MR-DTI. Results Myo-inositol (mI) was increased in the posterior cingulate gyrus and Glutamate (Glu), N-acetyl-aspartate (NAA) and N-acetyl-aspartate/Creatine (NAA/Cr) was reduced in the left thalamus in meditators. We found a significant positive correlation between mI in the posterior cingulate and years of meditation (r = 0.518; p = .019). We also found significant negative correlations between Glu (r = −0.452; p = .045), NAA (r = −0.617; p = .003) and NAA/Cr (r = −0.448; P = .047) in the left thalamus and years of meditation. Meditators showed a lower Apparent Diffusion Coefficient (ADC) in the left posterior parietal white matter than did controls, and the ADC was negatively correlated with years of meditation (r = −0.4850, p = .0066). Conclusions The results are consistent with the view that mI, Glu and NAA are the most important altered metabolites. This study provides evidence of subtle abnormalities in neuronal function in regions of the white matter in meditators. PMID:23536796
Pagliaro, Gioacchino; Pandolfi, Paolo; Collina, Natalina; Frezza, Giovanni; Brandes, Alba; Galli, Margherita; Avventuroso, Federica Marzocchi; De Lisio, Sara; Musti, Muriel Assunta; Franceschi, Enrico; Esposti, Roberta Degli; Lombardo, Laura; Cavallo, Giovanna; Di Battista, Monica; Rimondini, Simonetta; Poggi, Rosalba; Susini, Cinzia; Renzi, Rina; Marconi, Linda
Tong Len meditation is an important therapeutic tool in the Tibetan medicine, and it can be used for self-healing and/or to heal others. Currently, in the West, there is no scientific study concerning the efficacy of a Tong Len distant healing effect on psychological disorders in cancer patients. To evaluate a distant healing effect of Tong Len meditation on stress, anxiety, depression, fatigue, and self-perceived quality of life in cancer patients. These psychological objectives were chosen as a consequence of the limited scientific literature of present day. We performed a double-blind randomized controlled trial on 103 cancer patients with tumors. Overall, 12 meditators used Tong Len in aid of 52 patients randomly selected as experimental group, while the remaining 51 patients constituted the control group. Patients and meditators did not know each other. All patients completed profile of mood states (POMS) and European Quality of Life-5 dimensions (EQ-5D) questionnaires before treatment (T0), after two (T1) and three months of treatment (T2), and one month after treatment cessation (T3). With regard to the parameters related to depression, a statistically significant improvement (P = .003) was observed in the treatment group compared to controls. On the other hand, the vigor/activity parameter saw significant improvements in the control group (P = .009). Both groups exhibited significant improvements in the other factors assessed in the POMS and EQ-5D questionnaires. This study did not provide sufficient evidence supporting an efficacy of Tong Len meditation in distant psychological healing as compared to a control condition. The research highlighted some psychological improvements through Tong Len distant meditation in a group of patients unknown to meditators. Therefore, the enhancement detected in most parameters in both treatment and control groups raises interest on in-depth analysis and evaluation of distant meditation on cancer patients to mitigate
This article is the first of two comparing findings of studies of advanced practitioners of Tibetan Buddhist meditation in remote regions of the Himalayas, with established results on long-term practitioners of the Transcendental Meditation programs. Many parallel levels of improvement were found, in sensory acuity, perceptual style and cognitive function, indicating stabilization of aspects of attentional awareness. Together with observed increases in EEG coherence and aspects of brain fun...
Engen, Haakon G; Bernhardt, Boris C; Skottnik, Leon; Ricard, Matthieu; Singer, Tania
Our goal was to assess the effects of long-term mental training in socio-affective skills on structural brain networks. We studied a group of long-term meditation practitioners (LTMs) who have focused on cultivating socio-affective skills using loving-kindness and compassion meditation for an average of 40k h, comparing these to meditation-naïve controls. To maximize homogeneity of prior practice, LTMs were included only if they had undergone extensive full-time meditation retreats in the same center. MRI-based cortical thickness analysis revealed increased thickness in the LTM cohort relative to meditation-native controls in fronto-insular cortices. To identify functional networks relevant for the generation of socio-affective states, structural imaging analysis were complemented by fMRI analysis in LTMs, showing amplitude increases during a loving-kindness meditation session relative to non-meditative rest in multiple prefrontal and insular regions bilaterally. Importantly, functional findings partially overlapped with regions of cortical thickness increases in the left ventrolateral prefrontal cortex and anterior insula, suggesting that these regions may play a central role in the generation of emotional states relevant for the meditative practice. Our multi-modal MRI approach revealed structural changes in LTMs who have cultivated loving-kindness and compassion for a significant period of their life in functional networks activated by these practices. These preliminary cross-sectional findings motivate future longitudinal work studying brain plasticity following the regular practice of skills aiming at enhancing human altruism and prosocial motivation. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Emotional support and a stress management program should be simultaneously provided to clients as effective preventive services for healthy behavioral change. This study was conducted to review various relaxation and meditation intervention methods and their applicability for a preventive service program. The author of this paper tried to find various relaxation and meditation programs through a literature review and program searching and to introduce them. The 'Relaxation Response' and 'Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)' are the most the widely used meditative programs in mainstream medical systems. Abdominal breathing, Progressive Musclular Relaxation (PMR), Relaxative Imagery, Autogenic Training (AT) and Biofeedback are other well-known techniques for relaxation and stress management. I have developed and implemented some programs using these methods. Relaxation and meditation classes for cancer patients and a meditation based stress coping workshop are examples of this program. Relaxation and meditation seem to be good and effective methods for primary, secondary and tertiary preventive service programs. Program development and standardization and further study are needed for more and wider use of the mind-body approach in the preventive service area of medicine.
Luders, Eileen; Cherbuin, Nicolas; Gaser, Christian
Normal aging is known to be accompanied by loss of brain substance. The present study was designed to examine whether the practice of meditation is associated with a reduced brain age. Specific focus was directed at age fifty and beyond, as mid-life is a time when aging processes are known to become more prominent. We applied a recently developed machine learning algorithm trained to identify anatomical correlates of age in the brain translating those into one single score: the BrainAGE index (in years). Using this validated approach based on high-dimensional pattern recognition, we re-analyzed a large sample of 50 long-term meditators and 50 control subjects estimating and comparing their brain ages. We observed that, at age fifty, brains of meditators were estimated to be 7.5years younger than those of controls. In addition, we examined if the brain age estimates change with increasing age. While brain age estimates varied only little in controls, significant changes were detected in meditators: for every additional year over fifty, meditators' brains were estimated to be an additional 1month and 22days younger than their chronological age. Altogether, these findings seem to suggest that meditation is beneficial for brain preservation, effectively protecting against age-related atrophy with a consistently slower rate of brain aging throughout life. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Full Text Available While overall life expectancy has been increasing, the human brain still begins deteriorating after the first two decades of life and continues degrading further with increasing age. Thus, techniques that diminish the negative impact of aging on the brain are desirable. Existing research, although scarce, suggests meditation to be an attractive candidate in the quest for an accessible and inexpensive, efficacious remedy. Here, we examined the link between age and cerebral gray matter re-analyzing a large sample (n=100 of long-term meditators and control subjects aged between 24 and 77 years. When correlating global and local gray matter with age, we detected negative correlations within both controls and meditators, suggesting a decline over time. However, the slopes of the regression lines were steeper and the correlation coefficients were stronger in controls than in meditators. Moreover, the age-affected brain regions were much more extended in controls than in meditators, with significant group-by-age interactions in numerous clusters throughout the brain. Altogether, these findings seem to suggest less age-related gray matter atrophy in long-term meditation practitioners.
Luders, Eileen; Cherbuin, Nicolas; Kurth, Florian
While overall life expectancy has been increasing, the human brain still begins deteriorating after the first two decades of life and continues degrading further with increasing age. Thus, techniques that diminish the negative impact of aging on the brain are desirable. Existing research, although scarce, suggests meditation to be an attractive candidate in the quest for an accessible and inexpensive, efficacious remedy. Here, we examined the link between age and cerebral gray matter re-analyzing a large sample (n = 100) of long-term meditators and control subjects aged between 24 and 77 years. When correlating global and local gray matter with age, we detected negative correlations within both controls and meditators, suggesting a decline over time. However, the slopes of the regression lines were steeper and the correlation coefficients were stronger in controls than in meditators. Moreover, the age-affected brain regions were much more extended in controls than in meditators, with significant group-by-age interactions in numerous clusters throughout the brain. Altogether, these findings seem to suggest less age-related gray matter atrophy in long-term meditation practitioners. PMID:25653628
Haslam, Alyson; Wirth, Michael D; Robb, Sara Wagner
The purpose of this study was to characterize sympathetic activity by using waking salivary alpha-amylase (sAA) concentrations in a group of long-term meditation instructors and to examine the association between meditation (depth, dose and duration) and the waking alpha-amylase response. Salivary alpha-amylase samples were collected (immediately upon waking and at 15-min, 30-min and 45-min intervals after waking) from mindfulness-based stress reduction instructors to determine both the area under the curve and the awakening slope (difference in alpha-amylase concentrations between waking and 30-min post-waking). It was determined through general linear models that neither years of meditation nor meditation dose were associated with the awakening sAA slope, but higher scores for meditation depth (greater depth) was associated with a more negative (or steeper) awakening slope [Quartile (Q)1: -7 versus Q4: -21 U/mL; p = 0.06], in fully adjusted models. Older age (p = 0.04) and a later time of waking (p meditate more deeply. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Tomljenović, Helena; Begić, Dražen; Maštrović, Zora
The amount of studies showing different benefits of practicing meditation is growing. EEG brainwave patterns objectively reflect both the cognitive processes and objects of meditation. This study aimed to examine the effects of transcendental meditation (TM) practice on baseline EEG brainwave patterns (outside of meditation) and to examine weather TM reduces state and trait anxiety. Standard EEG recordings were conducted on volunteer participants (N=12), all students or younger employed people, before and after a three-month meditation training. Artifact-free 100-second epochs were selected and analyzed by Fast Fourier Transformation (FFT) analysis. Endlers Multidimensional Anxiety Scales (EMAS) were used to assess anxiety levels. Power (μV(2)) and coherence levels were compared in the alpha, beta, theta and delta frequency band. Changes in EEG patterns after meditation practice were found mostly in the theta band. An interaction effect was found on the left hemisphere (pmeditation practice. Most of the changes were found in the occipital and temporal areas, less in the central and frontal areas. State anxiety decreased after TM practice. Findings suggest TM practice could be helpful in treating different kinds of disorders, especially anxiety disorders.
Tomasino, Barbara; Fregona, Sara; Skrap, Miran; Fabbro, Franco
The brain network governing meditation has been studied using a variety of meditation practices and techniques practices eliciting different cognitive processes (e.g., silence, attention to own body, sense of joy, mantras, etc.). It is very possible that different practices of meditation are subserved by largely, if not entirely, disparate brain networks. This assumption was tested by conducting an activation likelihood estimation (ALE) meta-analysis of meditation neuroimaging studies, which assessed 150 activation foci from 24 experiments. Different ALE meta-analyses were carried out. One involved the subsets of studies involving meditation induced through exercising focused attention (FA). The network included clusters bilaterally in the medial gyrus, the left superior parietal lobe, the left insula and the right supramarginal gyrus (SMG). A second analysis addressed the studies involving meditation states induced by chanting or by repetition of words or phrases, known as “mantra.” This type of practice elicited a cluster of activity in the right SMG, the SMA bilaterally and the left postcentral gyrus. Furthermore, the last analyses addressed the effect of meditation experience (i.e., short- vs. long-term meditators). We found that frontal activation was present for short-term, as compared with long-term experience meditators, confirming that experts are better enabled to sustain attentional focus, rather recruiting the right SMG and concentrating on aspects involving disembodiment. PMID:23316154
Full Text Available The brain network governing meditation has been studied using a variety of meditation practices and techniques practices eliciting different cognitive processes (e.g., silence, attention to own body, sense of joy, mantras, etc.. It is very possible that different practices of meditation are subserved by largely, if not entirely, disparate brain networks. This assumption was tested by conducting an activation likelihood estimation (ALE meta-analysis of meditation neuroimaging studies, which assessed 150 activation foci from 24 experiments. Different ALE meta-analyses were carried out. One involved the subsets of studies involving meditation induced through exercising focused attention. The network included clusters bilaterally in the medial gyrus, the left superior parietal lobe, the left insula and the right supramarginal gyrus. A second analysis addressed the studies involving meditation states induced by chanting or by repetition of words or phrases, known as ‘mantra’. This type of practice elicited a cluster of activity in the right supramarginal gyrus, the SMA bilaterally and the left postcentral gyrus. Furthermore, the last analyses addressed the effect of meditation experience (i.e., short- vs. long-term meditators. We found that frontal activation was present for short-term, as compared with long-term experience meditators, confirming that experts are better enabled to sustain attentional focus, rather recruiting the right supramarginal gyrus and concentrating on aspects involving disembodiment.
Taren, Adrienne A; Gianaros, Peter J; Greco, Carol M; Lindsay, Emily K; Fairgrieve, April; Brown, Kirk Warren; Rosen, Rhonda K; Ferris, Jennifer L; Julson, Erica; Marsland, Anna L; Creswell, J David
Mindfulness meditation training has been previously shown to enhance behavioral measures of executive control (e.g., attention, working memory, cognitive control), but the neural mechanisms underlying these improvements are largely unknown. Here, we test whether mindfulness training interventions foster executive control by strengthening functional connections between dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC)-a hub of the executive control network-and frontoparietal regions that coordinate executive function. Thirty-five adults with elevated levels of psychological distress participated in a 3-day randomized controlled trial of intensive mindfulness meditation or relaxation training. Participants completed a resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging scan before and after the intervention. We tested whether mindfulness meditation training increased resting state functional connectivity (rsFC) between dlPFC and frontoparietal control network regions. Left dlPFC showed increased connectivity to the right inferior frontal gyrus (T = 3.74), right middle frontal gyrus (MFG) (T = 3.98), right supplementary eye field (T = 4.29), right parietal cortex (T = 4.44), and left middle temporal gyrus (T = 3.97, all p < .05) after mindfulness training relative to the relaxation control. Right dlPFC showed increased connectivity to right MFG (T = 4.97, p < .05). We report that mindfulness training increases rsFC between dlPFC and dorsal network (superior parietal lobule, supplementary eye field, MFG) and ventral network (right IFG, middle temporal/angular gyrus) regions. These findings extend previous work showing increased functional connectivity among brain regions associated with executive function during active meditation by identifying specific neural circuits in which rsFC is enhanced by a mindfulness intervention in individuals with high levels of psychological distress. Clinicaltrials.gov,NCT01628809.
Hankey, Alex; Shetkar, Rashmi
A simple theory of health has recently been proposed: while poor quality regulation corresponds to poor quality health so that improving regulation should improve health, optimal regulation optimizes function and optimizes health. Examining the term 'optimal regulation' in biological systems leads to a straightforward definition in terms of 'criticality' in complexity biology, a concept that seems to apply universally throughout biology. Criticality maximizes information processing and sensitivity of response to external stimuli, and for these reasons may be held to optimize regulation. In this way a definition of health has been given in terms of regulation, a scientific concept, which ties into detailed properties of complex systems, including brain cortices, and mental health. Models of experience and meditation built on complexity also point to criticality: it represents the condition making self-awareness possible, and is strengthened by meditation practices leading to the state of pure consciousness-the content-free state of mind in deep meditation. From this it follows that healthy function of the brain cortex, its sensitivity,y and consistency of response to external challenges should improve by practicing techniques leading to content-free awareness-transcending the original focus introduced during practice. Evidence for this is reviewed.
Full Text Available Although research on the effects of mindfulness meditation (MM is increasing, still very little has been done to address its influence on the white matter (WM of the brain. We hypothesized that the practice of MM might affect the WM microstructure adjacent to five brain regions of interest associated with mindfulness. Diffusion tensor imaging was employed on samples of meditators and non-meditators (n=64 in order to investigate the effects of MM on group difference and aging. Tract-Based Spatial Statistics was used to estimate the fractional anisotrophy of the WM connected to the thalamus, insula, amygdala, hippocampus and anterior cingulate cortex. The subsequent generalized linear model analysis revealed group differences and a group-by-age interaction in all five selected regions. These data provide preliminary indications that the practice of MM might result in WM matter connectivity change and might provide evidence on its ability to help diminish age-related WM degeneration in key regions which participate in processes of mindfulness.
Nancy Alker Craigmyle
Full Text Available Abstract During fMRI studies of meditation the cortical salience detecting and executive networks become active during awareness of mind wandering, shifting and sustained attention. The anterior cingulate (AC is activated during awareness of mind wandering.The AC modulates both the peripheral sympathetic nervous system (SNS and the central locus coeruleus (LC norepinephrine systems, which form the principal neuromodulatory system, regulating in multiple ways both neuronal and non-neuronal cells to maximize adaptation in changing environments. The LC is the primary source of central norepinephrine (C-NE and nearly the exclusive source of cortical norepinephrine. Normally activated by novel or salient stimuli, the AC initially inhibits the SNS reflexively, lowering peripheral norepinephrine (P-NE and activates the LC, increasing C-NE.Moderate levels of C-NE enhance working memory through alpha 2 adrenergic receptors, while higher levels of C-NE, acting on alpha 1 and beta receptors, enhance other executive network functions such as the stopping of ongoing behavior, attentional set shifting and sustained attention. The actions of the AC on both the central and peripheral noradrenergic systems are implicated in the beneficial effects of meditation. This paper will explore some of the known functions and interrelationships of the AC, SNS and LC with respect to their possible relevance to meditation.
M. A. D. Danucalov
Full Text Available Familial caregivers of patients with Alzheimer's disease exhibit reduced quality of life and increased stress levels. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of an 8-week yoga and compassion meditation program on the perceived stress, anxiety, depression, and salivary cortisol levels in familial caregivers. A total of 46 volunteers were randomly assigned to participate in a stress-reduction program for a 2-month period (yoga and compassion meditation program—YCMP group (n=25 or an untreated group for the same period of time (control group (n=21. The levels of stress, anxiety, depression, and morning salivary cortisol of the participants were measured before and after intervention. The groups were initially homogeneous; however, after intervention, the groups diverged significantly. The YCMP group exhibited a reduction of the stress (P<0.05, anxiety (P<0.000001, and depression (P<0.00001 levels, as well as a reduction in the concentration of salivary cortisol (P<0.05. Our study suggests that an 8-week yoga and compassion meditation program may offer an effective intervention for reducing perceived stress, anxiety, depression, and salivary cortisol in familial caregivers.
Sealy, Patricia Ann
Autoethnography is a qualitative research approach whereby the researcher shares personal stories that relate to the broader cultural context. Living through breast cancer showed me how reflective journaling and meditation can help one to cope with locally advanced breast cancer. The purpose of this autoethnography is to assist nurses in gaining a greater understanding of the primary cultural implications of (a) unresolved emotional issues from the past complicating current treatment and recovery for locally advanced breast cancer, and that (b) reflective journaling and meditation can provide an opportunity to "socially reconstruct" past psychological injury. In this example of autoethnography, I reconstructed the past by re-experiencing childhood wounds through meditation, accompanied by myself in the role of the nurturing mother providing comfort and support to the wounded inner child. That approach affirmed me in my current mothering role and provided imagery of the comfort that I was lacking in my childhood. Such duality empowered me toward self-acceptance and self-worth. Loss, grief, fear, and anxiety are considered universal states and emotions that interfere with quality of life. Finding meaning in suffering can heal pain and free energy for the pursuit of justice, peace, and joy.
Integrative medicine (IM) approaches have gained significant interest in recent years to provide a solution for the health care challenges we face today. Yogic cognitive-behavioral practices are among the most widely used IM approaches and include diverse practices such as yoga asanas, meditation, breathing exercises, Qi Gong, Tai Chi Chih, and various others. Studies to date suggest that these yogic/meditative practices have significant positive effects on the mind-body system and thereby can increase wellness and support the healing process from disease. Previous work has provided evidence for both psychological and physiological effects of these practices; however, the mechanisms of these effects, especially at the molecular level, have largely been missing. Three recent studies started to provide some of this information through gene expression profiling in circulating immune cells, which support the hypothesis that yogic/meditative practices have a measurable effect at the molecular level. These studies are reviewed herein and some future perspectives are considered. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Hoge, Elizabeth A; Guidos, Brittany M; Mete, Mihriye; Bui, Eric; Pollack, Mark H; Simon, Naomi M; Dutton, Mary Ann
To examine the effect of mindfulness meditation on occupational functioning in individuals with Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Fifty-seven individuals with GAD (mean (SD) age=39 (13); 56% women) participated in an 8-week clinical trial in which they were randomized to mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) or an attention control class. In this secondary analysis, absenteeism, entire workdays missed, partial workdays missed, and healthcare utilization patterns were assessed before and after treatment. Compared to the attention control class, participation in MBSR was associated with a significantly greater decrease in partial work days missed for adults with GAD (t=2.734, df=51, p=0.009). Interestingly, a dose effect was observed during the 24-week post-treatment follow-up period: among MBSR participants, greater home mindfulness meditation practice was associated with less work loss and with fewer mental health professional visits. Mindfulness meditation training may improve occupational functioning and decrease healthcare utilization in adults with GAD. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Jeitler, Michael; Brunnhuber, Stefan; Meier, Larissa; Lüdtke, Rainer; Büssing, Arndt; Kessler, Christian; Michalsen, Andreas
Chronic neck pain is a common medical complaint partly mediated by psychosocial distress and having a high socioeconomic impact. There is preliminary evidence that stress reduction by meditation might be beneficial in chronic pain syndromes. We aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of an 8-week meditation program (jyoti meditation) in patients with chronic neck pain by means of a randomized clinical trial. Eighty-nine patients (aged 49.7 ± 10.5 years, 73 female) with chronic neck pain who scored >40 mm on a 100-mm visual analog scale and had concomitant increased perceived stress were randomized to an 8-week meditation program (jyoti meditation) with weekly 90-minute classes (n = 45) or to a home-based exercise program (n = 44) with a wait list offer for meditation. Both groups were instructed to practice at home. Outcomes were assessed at baseline and after 8 weeks. Primary outcome measure was change of mean pain at rest (visual analog scale score) from baseline to week 8. Secondary outcomes included pain at motion, functional disability, pain-related bothersomeness, perceived stress, quality of life, and psychological outcomes. Patients had neck pain for a mean of 11 years. Eighteen patients in the meditation group and 16 patients in the exercise group were lost to follow-up. Meditation training significantly reduced pain when compared to the exercise group after 8 weeks (reduction of 45.5 ± 23.3 mm to 21.6 ± 17.2 mm in the meditation group, and 43.8 ± 22.0 mm to 37.7 ± 21.5 mm in the exercise group; mean difference: 13.2 mm [95% confidence interval: 2.1, 24.4; P = .02]). Pain-related bothersomeness decreased more in the meditation group (group difference 11.0 mm [95% confidence interval: 1.0, 21.0; P = .03]). No significant treatment effects were found for pain at motion, psychological scores, and quality of life, although the meditation group showed nonsignificant greater improvements compared to the exercise group. In conclusion
Cahn, B Rael; Goodman, Matthew S; Peterson, Christine T; Maturi, Raj; Mills, Paul J
Thirty-eight individuals (mean age: 34.8 years old) participating in a 3-month yoga and meditation retreat were assessed before and after the intervention for psychometric measures, brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), circadian salivary cortisol levels, and pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines. Participation in the retreat was found to be associated with decreases in self-reported anxiety and depression as well as increases in mindfulness. As hypothesized, increases in the plasma levels of BDNF and increases in the magnitude of the cortisol awakening response (CAR) were also observed. The normalized change in BDNF levels was inversely correlated with BSI-18 anxiety scores at both the pre-retreat ( r = 0.40, p mind-body integration and well-being. The increased BDNF levels observed is a potential mediator between meditative practices and brain health, the increased CAR is likely a reflection of increased dynamic physiological arousal, and the relationship of the dual enhancement of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokine changes to healthy immunologic functioning is discussed.
Van Gordon, William; Shonin, Edo; Dunn, Thomas J; Garcia-Campayo, Javier; Griffiths, Mark D
The purpose of this study was to conduct the first randomized controlled trial (RCT) to evaluate the effectiveness of a second-generation mindfulness-based intervention (SG-MBI) for treating fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS). Compared to first-generation mindfulness-based interventions, SG-MBIs are more acknowledging of the spiritual aspect of mindfulness. A RCT employing intent-to-treat analysis. Adults with FMS received an 8-week SG-MBI known as meditation awareness training (MAT; n = 74) or an active control intervention known as cognitive behaviour theory for groups (n = 74). Assessments were performed at pre-, post-, and 6-month follow-up phases. Meditation awareness training participants demonstrated significant and sustained improvements over control group participants in FMS symptomatology, pain perception, sleep quality, psychological distress, non-attachment (to self, symptoms, and environment), and civic engagement. A mediation analysis found that (1) civic engagement partially mediated treatment effects for all outcome variables, (2) non-attachment partially mediated treatment effects for psychological distress and sleep quality, and (3) non-attachment almost fully mediated treatment effects for FMS symptomatology and pain perception. Average daily time spent in meditation was found to be a significant predictor of changes in all outcome variables. Meditation awareness training may be a suitable treatment for adults with FMS and appears to ameliorate FMS symptomatology and pain perception by reducing attachment to self. Statement of contribution What is already known on this subject? Designing interventions to treat fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) continues to be a challenge. There is growing interest into the applications of mindfulness-based interventions for treating FMS. Second-generation mindfulness-based interventions (SG-MBIs) are a key new direction in mindfulness research. What does this study add? Meditation awareness training - an SG-MBI - resulted
The Serenity of the Meditating Mind: A Cross-Cultural Psychometric Study on a Two-Factor Higher Order Structure of Mindfulness, Its Effects, and Mechanisms Related to Mental Health among Experienced Meditators
Tran, Ulrich S.; Cebolla, Ausiàs; Glück, Tobias M.; Soler, Joaquim; Garcia-Campayo, Javier; von Moy, Theresa
Objective To investigate the psychometric and structural properties of the Five Facets Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ) among meditators, to develop a short form, and to examine associations of mindfulness with mental health and the mechanisms of mindfulness. Methods Two independent samples were used, a German (n = 891) and a Spanish (n = 393) meditator sample, practicing various meditation styles. Structural and psychometric properties of the FFMQ were investigated with multigroup confirmatory factor analysis and exploratory structural equation modeling. Associations with mental health and mechanisms of mindfulness were examined with path analysis. Results The derived short form broadly matched a previous item selection in samples of non-meditators. Self-regulated Attention and Orientation to Experience governed the facets of mindfulness on a higher-order level. Higher-order factors of mindfulness and meditation experience were negatively associated with symptoms of depression and anxiety, and perceived stress. Decentering and nonattachment were the most salient mechanisms of mindfulness. Aspects of emotion regulation, bodily awareness, and nonattachment explained the effects of mindfulness on depression and anxiety. Conclusions A two-component conceptualization for the FFMQ, and for the study of mindfulness as a psychological construct, is recommended for future research. Mechanisms of mindfulness need to be examined in intervention studies. PMID:25330072
The serenity of the meditating mind: a cross-cultural psychometric study on a two-factor higher order structure of mindfulness, its effects, and mechanisms related to mental health among experienced meditators.
Ulrich S Tran
Full Text Available OBJECTIVE: To investigate the psychometric and structural properties of the Five Facets Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ among meditators, to develop a short form, and to examine associations of mindfulness with mental health and the mechanisms of mindfulness. METHODS: Two independent samples were used, a German (n = 891 and a Spanish (n = 393 meditator sample, practicing various meditation styles. Structural and psychometric properties of the FFMQ were investigated with multigroup confirmatory factor analysis and exploratory structural equation modeling. Associations with mental health and mechanisms of mindfulness were examined with path analysis. RESULTS: The derived short form broadly matched a previous item selection in samples of non-meditators. Self-regulated Attention and Orientation to Experience governed the facets of mindfulness on a higher-order level. Higher-order factors of mindfulness and meditation experience were negatively associated with symptoms of depression and anxiety, and perceived stress. Decentering and nonattachment were the most salient mechanisms of mindfulness. Aspects of emotion regulation, bodily awareness, and nonattachment explained the effects of mindfulness on depression and anxiety. CONCLUSIONS: A two-component conceptualization for the FFMQ, and for the study of mindfulness as a psychological construct, is recommended for future research. Mechanisms of mindfulness need to be examined in intervention studies.
Creswell, J. David; Myers, Hector F.; Cole, Steven W.; Irwin, Michael R.
Mindfulness meditation training has stress reduction benefits in various patient populations, but its effects on biological markers of HIV-1 progression are unknown. The present study tested the efficacy of an 8-week Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) meditation program compared to a 1-day control seminar on CD4+ T lymphocyte counts in stressed HIV infected adults. A single-blind randomized controlled trial was conducted with enrollment and follow-up occurring between November 2005 and December 2007. A diverse community sample of 48 HIV-1 infected adults was randomized and entered treatment in either an 8-week MBSR or a 1-day control stress reduction education seminar. The primary outcome was circulating counts of CD4+ T lymphocytes. Participants in the 1-day control seminar showed declines in CD4+ T lymphocyte counts whereas counts among participants in the 8-week MBSR program were unchanged from baseline to post-intervention (time × treatment condition interaction, p = .02). This effect was independent of antiretroviral (ARV) medication use. Additional analyses indicated that treatment adherence to the mindfulness meditation program, as measured by class attendance, mediated the effects of mindfulness meditation training on buffering CD4+ T lymphocyte declines. These findings provide an initial indication that mindfulness meditation training can buffer CD4+ T lymphocyte declines in HIV-1 infected adults. PMID:18678242
Jain, Felipe A.; Walsh, Roger N.; Eisendrath, Stuart J.; Christensen, Scott; Cahn, B. Rael
Background Recently, the application of meditative practices to the treatment of depressive disorders has met with increasing clinical and scientific interest, due to a lower side-effect burden, potential reduction of polypharmacy, as well as theoretical considerations that such interventions may target some of the cognitive roots of depression. We aimed to determine the state of the evidence supporting this application. Methods Randomized, controlled trials of techniques meeting the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) definition of meditation, for participants suffering from clinically diagnosed depressive disorders, not currently in remission, were selected. Meditation therapies were separated into praxis (i.e. how they were applied) components, and trial outcomes were reviewed. Results Eighteen studies meeting inclusionary criteria were identified, encompassing seven distinct techniques and 1173 patients, with Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy comprising the largest proportion. Studies including patients suffering from acute major depressive episodes (N = 10 studies), and those with residual subacute clinical symptoms despite initial treatment (N = 8), demonstrated moderate to large reductions in depression symptoms within group, and relative to control groups. There was significant heterogeneity of techniques and trial designs. Conclusions A substantial body of evidence indicates that meditation therapies may have salutary effects on patients suffering from clinical depressive disorders during the acute and subacute phases of treatment. Due to methodological deficiences and trial heterogeneity, large-scale, randomized controlled trials with well-described comparator interventions and measures of expectation are needed to clarify the role of meditation in the depression treatment armamentarium. PMID:25591492
Fung Kei Cheng, PhD
Full Text Available Childhood mental health problems not only incur a financial burden but more importantly damages individual and family well-being, which compels mental care practitioners to search for solutions, among which meditation is a more economical method. This integrative review investigates the effectiveness of meditation on psychological problems for adolescents under age of 20 through different types of meditation, though mainly mindfulness-based modes. The 36 reviewed publications include quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods research, conducted in North America, Europe, and the Asia Pacific region, related to developmental disabilities, emotional problems, and mental illnesses. Outcomes indicate a decrease in self-harm thoughts, disruptive behaviour, stress, anxiety, impulsivity, and psychological distress; and improvements in self-control, quality of sleep, emotional regulation, executive function, anger management, and social competence, resulting in better academic performance, quality of life, mental wellness, and child-parent relationships. This review suggests the integration of meditation into physical activities, and music and art therapies, as well as randomised controlled trials to examine such synthesis of these disciplines. In conclusion, meditation is a potential curative and preventive measure, both low cost and non-intrusive, for the promotion of adolescent mental wellness. This sheds light on nurses who look after children with mental health.
Turakitwanakan, Wanpen; Mekseepralard, Chantana; Busarakumtragul, Panaree
Mindfulness meditation is a method to decrease stress and increase memory. So, mindfulness meditation should increase serum brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). To study the effect of mindfulness meditation on the serum BDNF of medical students. The study group consisted of 30 male and female second-year medical students that volunteered to participate in the study, aged 19.1 ± 0.55 year olds (range 18-20) from Srinakharinwirot University. Their blood was drawn to measure BDNF before and after a four-day mindfulness meditation programme. The comparison of serum BDNF levels before and after meditation were analysed by paired t-test. The subjects were 66.77%female and 33.33% male. The average serum BDNF level before the meditation was 17.67 ng/ml (SD 3.58). After meditation, there was a decrease in serum BDNF to 17.34 ng/ml, which was however not statistically significant (SD 4.04, p > 0.05). The levels of blood BDNF decreases slightly after practising meditation. We plan to investigate the reason in the future.
Efthimiadis-Keith, Helen; Lindegger, Graham
This study is set out to examine the subjective experience of using the Ignatian method of meditation to reflect on and pray through Ruth 2. A group of male and female Theology students from the University of KwaZulu-Natal were invited to reflect upon/pray through Ruth 2 using Ignatian meditation. Following this exercise, participants were invited to participate in a focus group in which they shared their experience of this exercise, focusing particularly on some of the gendered aspects of the experience. The transcribed focus group material was subjected to a critical thematic analysis, in order to identify which core aspects of the experience of using this method of meditation and reflection were responsible for the reported subjective experiences. The analysis also included a comparison of the experience for men and women participating in this exercise, and the differential effect of various aspects of the exercise on men and women.
Lauche, Romy; Sibbritt, David; Ostermann, Thomas; Fuller, Nicholas R; Adams, Jon; Cramer, Holger
To analyze whether yoga or meditation use is associated with body (dis)satisfaction and weight control methods in Australian women. Women ages 34 to 39 y from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health were surveyed regarding body satisfaction, weight control behaviors, and yoga and meditation practice. Associations of body satisfaction and weight control methods with yoga/meditation practice were analyzed using chi-squared tests and multiple logistic regression modelling. Of the 8009 women, 49% were overweight or obese. Sixty-five percent of women with normal body mass index (BMI) and approximately 95% of women with overweight/obesity wanted to lose weight. At least one in four women with normal BMI was dissatisfied with body weight and shape, as were more than two in three women with overweight/obesity. The most common weight control methods included exercising (82.7%), cutting down meal sizes (76.8%), and cutting down sugars or fats (71.9%). Yoga/meditation was practiced frequently by 688 women (8.6%) and occasionally by 1176 women (14.7%). Yoga/meditation users with normal BMI were less likely dissatisfied with body weight and shape. All yoga/meditation users more likely exercised and followed a low glycemic diet or diet books; and women with obesity occasionally using yoga/meditation also more likely used fasting or smoking to lose weight. Yoga/meditation users with normal BMI appear to be more satisfied with their body weight and shape than non-yoga/meditation users. While women with normal BMI or overweight tend to rely on healthy weight control methods, women with obesity occasional using yoga/meditation may more likely utilize unhealthy weight control methods. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Edwards, Meghan K; Loprinzi, Paul D
No review papers have examined studies that have directly compared non-active forms of meditation with exercise to evaluate effects on physical or psychosocial outcomes, which was the purpose of this paper. Studies were included if they had a randomized controlled trial (RCT) design, included a non-active form of meditation and exercise as intervention arms, and evaluated physical or psychosocial outcomes. The quality of included RCTs was rated using the Cochrane Collaboration's tool for assessing risk of bias in randomized trials. Five RCTs met the inclusion criteria. The total sample size across all studies was N = 325. Of the main outcomes assessed across the five studies, meditation was shown to be more effective than the exercise comparison arm when evaluating the psychosocial outcomes of anxiety, altruism, and life changes. Additionally, meditation was more effective at reducing chronic neck pain at rest and pain-related bothersomeness. Exercise, however, was more effective in improving physical health-related quality of life, HDL and LDL cholesterol, and fasting blood glucose levels. The interventions were found to be comparable when evaluating the outcomes of well-being, ethanol consumption, and perceived stress levels. Four of the evaluated studies were determined to have an overall 'unclear' risk of bias and one study was found to have a 'high' risk of bias. Exercise and non-active meditation may uniquely influence various health-related outcomes. A continued exploration of the effects of exercise and non-active meditation in controlled trials may yield a better understanding of their benefits.
Full Text Available Teresa M Edenfield, Sy Atezaz SaeedDepartment of Psychiatric Medicine, Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, Greenville, NC, USAAbstract: In recent years, complementary and alternative medicine (CAM treatments have increased in popularity. This is especially true for treatments that are related to exercise and mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs in the treatment of both mental and physical illness. MBIs, such as Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR, which are derived from ancient Buddhist and Yoga philosophies, have become popular treatments in contemporary psychotherapy. While there is growing evidence that supports the role of these interventions in relapse prevention, little is known about the role that MBIs play in the treatment of acute symptoms of depression and anxiety. Even less is known about the importance of specific components of MBIs (eg, mindfulness meditation [MM] and the overall impact that these interventions have on the experience or expression of psychological distress. Moreover, few studies have rigorously evaluated the dose-response relationship that is required to effect positive symptom change and the mechanisms of change that are responsible for observed improvements. This review will define meditation and mindfulness, discuss the relationship between stress and health and how MM relates to therapeutically engaging the relaxation response, and review the empirical findings that are related to the efficacy of MM in the treatment of depression and anxiety symptoms. Given the paucity of research that examines the applications of these treatments in clinical populations, the limitations of applying these findings to clinical samples will be mentioned. A brief review of the issues related to the possible mechanisms of change and the dose-response relationship regarding MBIs, particularly MM, will be provided. Finally, limitations of the extant literature and
Shannahoff-Khalsa, David S
The ancient system of Kundalini Yoga (KY) includes a vast array of meditation techniques. Some were discovered to be specific for treating psychiatric disorders and others are supposedly beneficial for treating cancers. To date, 2 clinical trials have been conducted for treating obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). The first was an open uncontrolled trial and the second a single-blinded randomized controlled trial (RCT) comparing a KY protocol against the Relaxation Response and Mindfulness Meditation (RRMM) techniques combined. Both trials showed efficacy on all psychological scales using the KY protocol; however, the RCT showed no efficacy on any scale with the RRMM control group. The KY protocol employed an OCD-specific meditation technique combined with other techniques that are individually specific for anxiety, low energy, fear, anger, meeting mental challenges, and turning negative thoughts into positive thoughts. In addition to OCD symptoms, other symptoms, including anxiety and depression, were also significantly reduced. Elements of the KY protocol other than the OCD-specific technique also may have applications for psycho-oncology patients and are described here. Two depression-specific KY techniques are described that also help combat mental fatigue and low energy. A 7-part protocol is described that would be used in KY practice to affect the full spectrum of emotions and distress that complicate a cancer diagnosis. In addition, there are KY techniques that practitioners have used in treating cancer. These techniques have not yet been subjected to formal clinical trials but are described here as potential adjunctive therapies. A case history demonstrating rapid onset of acute relief of intense fear in a terminal breast cancer patient using a KY technique specific for fear is presented. A second case history is reported for a surviving male diagnosed in 1988 with terminal prostate cancer who has used KY therapy long term as part of a self
Full Text Available Mindfulness-based interventions are increasingly being used as methods to promote psychological well-being of clinical and nonclinical adult populations. Much less is known, however, on the feasibility of these forms of mental training on healthy primary school students. Here, we tested the effects of a mindfulness-meditation training on a group of 16 healthy children within 7–8 years of age from an Italian primary school. An active control condition focused on emotion awareness was employed on a group of 15 age-matched healthy children from the same school. Both programs were delivered by the same instructors three times per week, for 8 total weeks. The same main teacher of the two classes did not participate in the trainings but she completed questionnaires aimed at giving comprehensive pre-post training evaluations of behavior, social, emotion, and attention regulation skills in the children. A children’s self-report measure of mood and depressive symptoms was also used. From the teacher’s reports we found a specific positive effect of the mindfulness-meditation training in reducing attention problems and also positive effects of both trainings in reducing children's internalizing problems. However, subjectively, no child in either group reported less depressive symptoms after the trainings. The findings were interpreted as suggestive of a positive effect of mindfulness-meditation on several children’s psychological well-being dimensions and were also discussed in light of the discrepancy between teacher and children’s reports. More generally, the results were held to speak in favor of the effectiveness of mindfulness-based interventions for healthy primary school children.
Traditional moral philosophy has long focused on rationality, principled thinking, and good old-fashioned willpower, but recent evidence strongly suggests that moral judgments and prosocial behavior are more heavily influenced by emotion and intuition. As the evidence mounts, rational traditions emphasizing deliberative analysis and conscious decision making are called into question. The first section highlights some compelling evidence supporting the primacy of affective states in motivating moral judgments and behavior. The real challenge is finding a way to align intuition with desired behavior. In cool reflective states, one may desire to be a kind and loving person. But when it is time to act, the moment is often accompanied by strong affect-laden intuitions. I argue that if affective states are the primary motivators of behavior, then moral sentiments must be trained through habituation in order to increase prosocial behavior. The second section provides empirical evidence linking emotional training with increased prosociality. To highlight this connection, focus is placed on the relationship between habitual meditation training, compassion, and prosocial behavior. Recent studies by Antoine Lutz, Richard Davidson, Susanne Leiberg, and others show that various meditation practices can dramatically affect the human person at various levels, i.e., increased physical health, neural restructuring, regulation and development of emotions, and increased helping behavior, to name a few. The current article focuses on the impact the habit of loving-kindness meditation (LKM) has on compassion and prosocial behavior. Recent studies strongly support the conclusion that LKM training hones compassion and ultimately leads to an increase in compassionate behavior.
Tracey J. Shors
Full Text Available Sexual violence against women often leads to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD, a mental illness characterized by intrusive thoughts and memories about the traumatic event (Shors and Millon, 2016. These mental processes are obviously generated by the brain but often felt in the body. MAP Training My Brain™ is a novel clinical intervention that combines mental training of the brain with physical training of the body (Curlik and Shors, 2013; Shors et al., 2014. Each training session begins with 20-min of sitting meditation, followed by 10-min of slow-walking meditation, and ending with 30-min of aerobic exercise at 60–80% of the maximum heart rate (see maptrainmybrain.com. In previous studies, the combination of mental and physical (MAP training together significantly reduced symptoms of depression and ruminative thoughts, while reducing anxiety (Shors et al., 2014, 2017; Alderman et al., 2016. We also documented positive changes in brain activity during cognitive control and whole-body oxygen consumption in various populations. In the present pilot study, we asked whether the combination of meditation and aerobic exercise during MAP Training would reduce trauma-related thoughts, ruminations, and memories in women and if so, whether the combination would be more effective than either activity alone. To test this hypothesis, interventions were provided to a group of women (n = 105, many of whom had a history of sexual violence (n = 32. Groups were trained with (1 MAP Training, (2 meditation alone, (3 aerobic exercise alone, or (4 not trained. Individuals in training groups completed two sessions a week for at least 6 weeks. MAP Training My Brain™ significantly reduced post-traumatic cognitions and ruminative thoughts in women with a history of sexual violence, whereas meditation alone, and exercise alone did not. MAP Training significantly enhanced a measure of self-worth, whereas meditation and exercise alone did not. Similar positive
Shors, Tracey J; Chang, Han Y M; Millon, Emma M
Sexual violence against women often leads to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a mental illness characterized by intrusive thoughts and memories about the traumatic event (Shors and Millon, 2016). These mental processes are obviously generated by the brain but often felt in the body. MAP Training My Brain ™ is a novel clinical intervention that combines mental training of the brain with physical training of the body (Curlik and Shors, 2013; Shors et al., 2014). Each training session begins with 20-min of sitting meditation, followed by 10-min of slow-walking meditation, and ending with 30-min of aerobic exercise at 60-80% of the maximum heart rate (see maptrainmybrain.com). In previous studies, the combination of mental and physical (MAP) training together significantly reduced symptoms of depression and ruminative thoughts, while reducing anxiety (Shors et al., 2014, 2017; Alderman et al., 2016). We also documented positive changes in brain activity during cognitive control and whole-body oxygen consumption in various populations. In the present pilot study, we asked whether the combination of meditation and aerobic exercise during MAP Training would reduce trauma-related thoughts, ruminations, and memories in women and if so, whether the combination would be more effective than either activity alone. To test this hypothesis, interventions were provided to a group of women ( n = 105), many of whom had a history of sexual violence ( n = 32). Groups were trained with (1) MAP Training, (2) meditation alone, (3) aerobic exercise alone, or (4) not trained. Individuals in training groups completed two sessions a week for at least 6 weeks. MAP Training My Brain ™ significantly reduced post-traumatic cognitions and ruminative thoughts in women with a history of sexual violence, whereas meditation alone, and exercise alone did not. MAP Training significantly enhanced a measure of self-worth, whereas meditation and exercise alone did not. Similar positive effects
Franco Justo, Clemente
Full Text Available This study analyzes the effects of a meditation program on level of verbal creativity (fluency, flexibility and originality in a group of students in Spain’s two-year educational program for university preparation (Bachillerato. Participants formed two groups: a experimental group that participated in a meditation program, and a control group that did not take part in this intervention. Creativitylevels for the two groups were assessed using the verbal battery of the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking, with significant improvement found in the experimental group as compared to the control group for the variables studied.
Castellar, Juarez I; Fernandes, César A; Tosta, C Eduardo
Breast cancer survivors frequently present long-lasting impairments, caused either by the disease or its treatment, capable of compromising their emotional health and quality of life. Meditation appears to be a valuable complementary measure for overcoming some of these impairments. The purpose of the present investigation was to assess the effect of pranic meditation on the quality of life and mental health of breast cancer survivors. This study was a prospective single-arm observational study using before and after measurements. The subjects were 75 women submitted either to breast cancer therapy or to posttherapy control who agreed to practice pranic meditation for 20 minutes, twice a day, during 8 weeks, after receiving a formal training. The quality of life of the practitioners was assessed by the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) QLQ-C30 and EORTC BR-023 questionnaires, and the mental health status by the Goldberg's General Health Questionnaire. After 8 weeks of pranic meditation practice, the subjects showed a significant improvement of their quality of life scores that included physical (P = .0007), role (P = .01), emotional (P = .002), and social functioning (P = .004), as well as global health status (P = .005), fatigue (P meditation was associated with improvement of the mental health parameters of the practitioners that included psychic stress (P = .001), death ideation (P = .02), performance diffidence (P = .001), psychosomatic disorders (P = .02), and severity of mental disorders (P = .0003). The extension of the meditation period from 8 to 15 weeks caused no substantial extra benefits in practitioners. The results of this pilot study showed that breast cancer survivors presented significant benefits related to their mental health and quality of life scores after a short period of practice of pranic meditation, consisting of simple and easy-to-learn exercises. However, because of the limitations of the study, further
Full Text Available Abstract Background Attribution of agency involves the ability to distinguish our own actions and their sensory consequences which are self-generated from those generated by external agents. There are several pathological cases in which motor awareness is dramatically impaired. On the other hand, awareness-enhancement practices like tai-chi and yoga are shown to improve perceptual-motor awareness. Meditation is known to have positive impacts on perception, attention and consciousness itself, but it is still unclear how meditation changes sensorimotor integration processes and awareness of action. The aim of this study was to investigate how visuomotor performance and self-agency is modulated by mindfulness meditation. This was done by studying meditators’ performance during a conflicting reaching task, where the congruency between actions and their consequences is gradually altered. This task was presented to novices in meditation before and after an intensive 8 weeks mindfulness meditation training (MBSR. The data of this sample was compared to a group of long-term meditators and a group of healthy non-meditators. Results Mindfulness resulted in a significant improvement in motor control during perceptual-motor conflict in both groups. Novices in mindfulness demonstrated a strongly increased sensitivity to detect external perturbation after the MBSR intervention. Both mindfulness groups demonstrated a speed/accuracy trade-off in comparison to their respective controls. This resulted in slower and more accurate movements. Conclusions Our results suggest that mindfulness meditation practice is associated with slower body movements which in turn may lead to an increase in monitoring of body states and optimized re-adjustment of movement trajectory, and consequently to better motor performance. This extended conscious monitoring of perceptual and motor cues may explain how, while dealing with perceptual-motor conflict, improvement in motor
Enma Taimara Cisneros Acosta
Full Text Available Background: chronic renal failure is within the first 35 death causes in the country within the last five years.Objective: to determine the effectiveness of the combined use of the group psychological intervention with the focalized meditation (FM in the psychological rehabilitation of patients suffering from terminal chronic renal failure who underwent hemodialysis treatment in “Juan Bruno Zayas” General Hospital in Santiago de Cuba from January to June, 2014.Methods: a pre-test, post-test and control group intervention was carried out. The study sample was divided into three groups: one for the group psychological intervention (GPI, another one for the focalized meditation FM and the other one for the combined use of them both. The research process had three stages: the diagnostic phase with the use of: interview, observation, state-trait anxiety inventory (STAI, Beck Diagnostic Inventory (BDI, and coping ways questionnaire; the intervention, where treatment was imposed with six sessions of group psychological intervention to a group, eight sessions of focalized meditation to another one and the combination of them both to the other one; and the last phase, which was the post-intervention one, was carried out to evaluate the changes of the impaired adjustment and coping with emotional states, applying the same diagnostic techniques.Results: after the application of the therapeutic modalities, the results were: in the groups treated with the GPI and FM separately, the 80 % of the subjects reduced their anxiety levels; meanwhile, with the combination of the techniques, improvement was for the 100 % of the patients. The variable depression had a similar behavior. As for the coping styles: in the GPI group, 80 % of the subjects got active coping styles and the 20 % got mixed ones; in the FM group, the 40 % showed active styles, another 40 % passive styles, and 20 % got mixed ones; in the group with the combined treatment, the results were the
David A. F. Haaga
Full Text Available A randomized wait-list controlled trial (=295 university students of the effects of the Transcendental Meditation program was conducted in an urban setting. Substance use was assessed by self-report at baseline and 3 months later. For smoking and illicit drug use, there were no significant differences between conditions. For alcohol use, sex X intervention condition interactions were significant; TM instruction lowered drinking rates among male but not female students. TM instruction could play a valuable role in reducing alcohol use among male university students. Limitations are noted, along with suggestions for further research.
Jennifer Streiffer Mascaro
Full Text Available Although kindness-based contemplative practices are increasingly employed by clinicians and cognitive researchers to enhance prosocial emotions, social cognitive skills, and well-being, and as a tool to understand the basic workings of the social mind, we lack a coherent theoretical model with which to test the mechanisms by which kindness-based meditation may alter the brain and body. Here we link contemplative accounts of compassion and loving-kindness practices with research from social cognitive neuroscience and social psychology to generate predictions about how diverse practices may alter brain structure and function and related aspects of social cognition. Contingent on the nuances of the practice, kindness-based meditation may enhance the neural systems related to faster and more basic perceptual or motor simulation processes, simulation of another’s affective body state, slower and higher-level perspective-taking, modulatory processes such as emotion regulation and self/other discrimination, and combinations thereof. This theoretical model will be discussed alongside best practices for testing such a model and potential implications and applications of future work.
Full Text Available Objectives: While recent literature has shown that mindfulness training has positive effects on treating anxiety and depression, there has been virtually no research investigating whether effects differ across genders—despite the fact that men and women differ in clinically significant ways. The current study investigated whether college-based meditation training had different effects on negative affect for men and women.Methods: Seventy-seven university students (36 women, age = 20.7 ± 3.0 years participated in 12-week courses with meditation training components. They completed self-report questionnaires of affect, mindfulness, and self-compassion before and after the course.Results: Compared to men, women showed greater decreases in negative affect and greater increases on scales measuring mindfulness and self-compassion. Women’s improvements in negative affect were correlated to improvements in measures of both mindfulness skills and self-compassion. In contrast, men showed non-significant increases in negative affect, and changes in affect were only correlated with ability to describe emotions, not any measures of experiential or self-acceptance.Conclusion: These findings suggest that women may have more favorable responses than men to school-based mindfulness training, and that the effectiveness of mindfulness-based interventions may be maximized by gender-specific modifications.
Stefan G. Hofmann
Full Text Available Conventional treatments for mood disorders primarily focus on reducing negative affect, but little on enhancing positive affect. Loving-kindness meditation (LKM is a traditional meditation practice directly oriented toward enhancing unconditional and positive emotional states of kindness towards oneself and others. We report here two independent and uncontrolled studies carried out at different centers, one in Boston, USA (n = 10, and one in Frankfurt, Germany (n = 8, to examine the potential therapeutic utility of a brief LKM group intervention for symptoms of dysthymia and depression. Results at both centers suggest that LKM was associated with large-sized effects on self-reported symptoms of depression (d = 3.33 and 1.90, negative affect (d = 1.98 and 0.92, and positive affect (d = 1.63 and 0.94. Large effects were also found for clinician-reported changes in depression, rumination and specific positive emotions, and moderate effects for changes in adaptive emotion regulation strategies. The qualitative data analyses provide additional support for the potential clinical utility of the intervention. This proof-of-concept evaluation of LKM as a clinical strategy warrants further investigation.
Agarwal, Siddharth; Kumar, Vijai; Agarwal, Sapna; Brugnoli, Maria Paola; Agarwal, Ansh
Human body is a biological, open system and maintains itself in the changing environment. Disease state is cured by many medicinal systems for healing. Esoteric healing (through introspective hypnosis, meditation and spiritual intercession) is the system where its believers regard Supreme Being as Omnipotent, Omnipresent and Omniscient. Such persons take ill health as a boon and pray through meditation that He may by His Mercy grant health or if God wishes otherwise, they happily accept it so that they keep moving ahead on their spiritual path. This study is a review of literature, where results clearly point towards better psychological and spiritual healing in patients who believe in esoteric cures. Modern science in terms of cognitive psychology or neurophysiology has begun to emphasize the role of consciousness but, that is confined only to the physical world. It is only with the advent of Param Purush Puran Dhani Soami Ji Maharaj (200 years ago) that in the religion of Saints, the ultimate consciousness or the Super Consciousness of the highest order has been revealed.
Pipe, Teri Britt; Bortz, Jennifer J; Dueck, Amylou; Pendergast, Debra; Buchda, Vicki; Summers, Jay
The aim of this study was to rigorously evaluate a brief stress management intervention for nurse leaders. Despite the nursing shortage, evidence-based workplace approaches addressing nurse stress have not been well studied. Nurse leaders (n = 33) were randomly assigned to brief mindfulness meditation course (MMC) or leadership course (control). Self-report measures of stress were administered at baseline and within 1 week of course completion. Among MMC participants, change scores (from baseline to postintervention) on several subscales of the Symptom Checklist 90-Revised showed significantly more improvement in self-reported stress symptoms relative to controls. Mindfulness meditation course participants had significantly more improvement in Positive Symptom Distress Index (P = 0.010; confidence interval [CI] = -0.483 to -0.073) and Global Severity Index (P = 0.019; CI = -0.475 to -0.046) and nearly significantly more improvement in Positive Symptom Total (P = 0.066; CI = -16.66 to 0.581) compared with controls. Results support preliminary effectiveness of a 4-week MMC in reducing self-reported stress symptoms among nursing leaders.
Raffone, Antonino; Srinivasan, Narayanan
While enormous progress has been made to identify neural correlates of consciousness (NCC), crucial NCC aspects are still very controversial. A major hurdle is the lack of an adequate definition and characterization of different aspects of conscious experience and also its relationship to attention and metacognitive processes like monitoring. In this paper, we therefore attempt to develop a unitary theoretical framework for NCC, with an interdependent characterization of endogenous attention, access consciousness, phenomenal awareness, metacognitive consciousness, and a non-referential form of unified consciousness. We advance an adaptive workspace hypothesis about the NCC based on the global workspace model emphasizing transient resonant neurodynamics and prefrontal cortex function, as well as meditation-related characterizations of conscious experiences. In this hypothesis, transient dynamic links within an adaptive coding net in prefrontal cortex, especially in anterior prefrontal cortex, and between it and the rest of the brain, in terms of ongoing intrinsic and long-range signal exchanges, flexibly regulate the interplay between endogenous attention, access consciousness, phenomenal awareness, and metacognitive consciousness processes. Such processes are established in terms of complementary aspects of an ongoing transition between context-sensitive global workspace assemblies, modulated moment-to-moment by body and environment states. Brain regions associated to momentary interoceptive and exteroceptive self-awareness, or first-person experiential perspective as emphasized in open monitoring meditation, play an important modulatory role in adaptive workspace transitions.
Saper, Robert; Vinjamury, Sivarama; Elder, Charles
Focus Area: Integrative Approaches to Care The panel discussants will present on the outcomes of four recent pragmatic trials covering the spectrum of Ayurvedic medicine, yoga, and meditation as therapeutic approaches for both acute and chronic conditions. The presenters will discuss: (1) a pilot study of a whole-systems Ayurveda and Yoga Therapy intervention for obesity; (2) a comparative eﬀectiveness randomized controlled trial of hatha yoga, physical therapy, and education for non-specific chronic low back pain in low-income minority populations; (3) an investigation of the therapeutic usefulness of Shirodhara (Ayurvedic oil dripping therapy) as a treatment for insomnia; and (4) a discussion of the evidence base supporting implementation of meditation interventions in schools and workplace settings. Discussants will present information on study designs, research methodology, and outcome measure selection to highlight special considerations in conducting research on whole medical systems that use multi-target therapies and focus on patient-centered outcomes. Ayurvedic medicine and yoga are characterized by low-cost, noninvasive interventions that can be usefully offered as part of an integrative medicine therapeutic approach.
Van Gordon, William; Shonin, Edo; Griffiths, Mark D
Background Sex addiction is a disorder that can have serious adverse functional consequences. Treatment effectiveness research for sex addiction is currently underdeveloped, and interventions are generally based on the guidelines for treating other behavioral (as well as chemical) addictions. Consequently, there is a need to clinically evaluate tailored treatments that target the specific symptoms of sex addiction. It has been proposed that second-generation mindfulness-based interventions (SG-MBIs) may be an appropriate treatment for sex addiction because in addition to helping individuals increase perceptual distance from craving for desired objects and experiences, some SG-MBIs specifically contain meditations intended to undermine attachment to sex and/or the human body. The current study conducts the first clinical investigation into the utility of mindfulness for treating sex addiction. Case presentation An in-depth clinical case study was conducted involving an adult male suffering from sex addiction that underwent treatment utilizing an SG-MBI known as Meditation Awareness Training (MAT). Following completion of MAT, the participant demonstrated clinically significant improvements in addictive sexual behavior, as well as reductions in depression and psychological distress. The MAT intervention also led to improvements in sleep quality, job satisfaction, and non-attachment to self and experiences. Salutary outcomes were maintained at 6-month follow-up. Discussion and conclusion The current study extends the literature exploring the applications of mindfulness for treating behavioral addiction, and findings indicate that further clinical investigation into the role of mindfulness for treating sex addiction is warranted.
The aim of this thesis was to investigate the acute autonomic effects of the Transcendental Meditation Program (TM) and resolve the conflict arising from discrepant neurochemical and psychophysiological data. Three experimental investigations were performed. The first examined beta 2 -adrenergic receptors (AR's) on peripheral blood lymphocytes, via [I 125 ]iodocyanopindolol binding, in 10 male mediating and 10 age matched non-meditating control subjects, to test the hypothesis that the long-term practice of TM and the TM Sidhi Program (TMSP) reduces end organ sensitivity to adrenergic agonists. The second investigated respiratory sinus arrhythmia (an indirect measure of cardiac Parasympathetic Nervous System tone), and skin resistance (a measure of Sympathetic Nervous System tone) during periods of spontaneous respiratory apneusis, a phenomenon occurring during TM that is known to mark the subjective experience of transcending. The third was within subject investigation of the acute effects of the TMSP on 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) activity. Platelet 5-HT was assayed by high pressure liquid chromatography with electrochemical detection, plasma prolactin (PL) and lutenizing hormone (LH) by radioimmunoassay, tryptophan by spectrofluorimetry, and alpha-1-acid glycoprotein (AGP, a modulator of 5-HT uptake) by radial immunodiffusion assay
Zeng, Xianglong; Chiu, Cleo P K; Wang, Rong; Oei, Tian P S; Leung, Freedom Y K
While it has been suggested that loving-kindness meditation (LKM) is an effective practice for promoting positive emotions, the empirical evidence in the literature remains unclear. Here, we provide a systematic review of 24 empirical studies (N = 1759) on LKM with self-reported positive emotions. The effect of LKM on positive emotions was estimated with meta-analysis, and the influence of variations across LKM interventions was further explored with subgroup analysis and meta-regression. The meta-analysis showed that (1) medium effect sizes for LKM interventions on daily positive emotions in both wait-list controlled RCTs and non-RCT studies; and (2) small to large effect sizes for the on-going practice of LKM on immediate positive emotions across different comparisons. Further analysis showed that (1) interventions focused on loving-kindness had medium effect size, but interventions focused on compassion showed small effect sizes; (2) the length of interventions and the time spent on meditation did not influence the effect sizes, but the studies without didactic components in interventions had small effect sizes. A few individual studies reported that the nature of positive emotions and individual differences also influenced the results. In sum, LKM practice and interventions are effective in enhancing positive emotions, but more studies are needed to identify the active components of the interventions, to compare different psychological operations, and to explore the applicability in clinical populations.
Marilú Roxana Soto-Vásquez
Full Text Available The goal of this study was to verify whether association of aromatherapy with essential oils of Satureja brevicalyx or Satureja boliviana and mindfulness meditation can reduce anxiety levels in humans. A randomized experimental trial was carried out with 108 participants who were divided into 6 groups, comprising a waiting list control group and five experimental groups. Aromatherapy was carried out by inhalation of essential oils while mindfulness intervention program was focused on “flow meditation”. The anxiety index was evaluated by State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI. Measures were taken two times: pretest and posttest. State and Trait anxiety scores showed a decrease in posttest study phase in comparison with pretest in all experimental groups (p < 0.005, especially in those where aromatherapy and mindfulness meditation were used together. All Cohen's d scores were over to 1 that means a large size effect in anxiety variable. Percentages of change showed reductions of anxiety variable ranging between 20% and 47%. All treatments used isolated or associated, may be considered alternative treatment options for anxiety.
Shannahoff-Khalsa, David S
The ancient system of Kundalini yoga includes a vast array of meditation techniques and many were discovered to be specific for treating the psychiatric disorders as we know them today. One such technique was found to be specific for treating obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), the fourth most common psychiatric disorder, and the tenth most disabling disorder worldwide. Two published clinical trials are described here for treating OCD using a specific Kundalini yoga protocol. This OCD protocol also includes techniques that are useful for a wide range of anxiety disorders, as well as a technique specific for learning to manage fear, one for tranquilizing an angry mind, one for meeting mental challenges, and one for turning negative thoughts into positive thoughts. Part of that protocol is included here and published in detail elsewhere. In addition, a number of other disorder-specific meditation techniques are included here to help bring these tools to the attention of the medical and scientific community. These techniques are specific for phobias, addictive and substance abuse disorders, major depressive disorders, dyslexia, grief, insomnia and other sleep disorders.
Full Text Available While it has been suggested that loving-kindness meditation (LKM is an effective practice for promoting positive emotions, the empirical evidence in the literature remains unclear. Here, we provide a systematic review of 24 empirical studies (N = 1759 on LKM with self-reported positive emotions. The effect of LKM on positive emotions was estimated with meta-analysis, and the influence of variations across LKM interventions was further explored with subgroup analysis and meta-regression. The meta-analysis showed that (1 medium effect sizes for LKM interventions on daily positive emotions in both wait-list controlled RCTs and non-RCT studies; and (2 small to large effect sizes for the on-going practice of LKM on immediate positive emotions across different comparisons. Further analysis showed that (1 interventions focused on loving-kindness had medium effect size, but interventions focused on compassion showed small effect sizes; (2 the length of interventions and the time spent on meditation did not influence the effect sizes, but the studies without didactic components in interventions had small effect sizes. A few individual studies reported that the nature of positive emotions and individual differences also influenced the results. In sum, LKM practice and interventions are effective in enhancing positive emotions, but more studies are needed to identify the active components of the interventions, to compare different psychological operations, and to explore the applicability in clinical populations.
Full Text Available Mindfulness training has recently gained much research interest because of its putative benefits for both mental and physical health. However, little is available in its effects on Asian students. Therefore, a quasi-experimental pre/posttest design was used to assess the effects of a one-semester mindfulness meditation course in 152 first-year Taiwanese university students and compared with 130 controls. The Chinese version of the College Learning Effectiveness Inventory (CLEI and a computer software program focused on specific cognitive tasks were used for the evaluation. Results from the analysis of covariance revealed that while the score of the full CLEI scale was significantly higher in the intervention group compared with the control (P=0.022, none of the comparisons between the nine CLEI subscales were significantly different between the two groups. For the computer cognitive tasks, the intervention group exhibited significantly better performance in the accuracy of the digital vigilance task (P=0.048, choice reaction time (P=0.004, spatial working memory (P=0.042, and digital vigilance task reaction time (P=0.004. This study showed that a one-semester mindfulness meditation course was able to improve learning effectiveness and both attention and memory aspects of cognitive performance among Taiwanese university students.
Crescentini, Cristiano; Urgesi, Cosimo; Campanella, Fabio; Eleopra, Roberto; Fabbro, Franco
Explicit self-representations often conflict with implicit and intuitive self-representations, with such discrepancies being seen as a source of psychological tension. Most of previous research on the psychological effects of mindfulness-meditation has assessed people's self-attitudes at an explicit level, leaving unknown whether mindfulness-meditation promotes changes on implicit self-representations. Here, we assessed the changes in implicit and explicit self-related religious/spiritual (RS) representations in healthy participants following an 8-week mindfulness-oriented meditation (MOM) program. Before and after meditation, participants were administered implicit (implicit association test) and explicit (self-reported questionnaires) RS measures. Relative to control condition, MOM led to increases of implicit RS in individuals whit low pre-existing implicit RS and to more widespread increases in explicit RS. On the assumption that MOM practice may enhance the clarity of one's transcendental thoughts and feelings, we argued that MOM allows people to transform their intuitive feelings of implicit RS as well as their explicit RS attitudes. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Chang, Chih-Hao; Lo, Pei-Chen
Remarkable changes in cardiorespiratory interactions are frequently experienced by Chan meditation practitioners following years of practice. This study compares the results of our study on cardiorespiratory interactions for novice (control group) and experienced (experimental group) Chan meditation practitioners. The effectual co-action between the cardiac and respiratory systems was evaluated by the degree of cardiorespiratory phase synchronization (CRPS). In addition, an adaptive-frequency-range (AFR) scheme to reliably quantify heart rate variability (HRV) was developed for assessing the regulation of sympathetic-parasympathetic activity and the efficiency of pulmonary gas exchange. The enhanced HRV method, named HRVAFR, can resolve the issue of overestimating HRV under the condition of slow respiration rates, which is frequently encountered in studies on Chan meditation practitioners. In the comparison of the three data sets collected from the two groups, our findings resulted in innovative hypotheses to interpret the extraordinary process of the rejuvenation of cardiorespiratory functions through long-term Dharma-Chan meditation practice. Particularly, advanced practitioners exhibit a continuously high degree of cardiorespiratory phase synchronization, even during rapid breathing. Based on our post-experimental interview with advanced practitioners, the activation of inner Chakra energy, during the course of Chan-detachment practice, frequently induces perceptible physiological-mental reformation, including an efficient mechanism for regulating cardiorespiratory interactions.
Kox, M.; Stoffels, M.; Smeekens, S.P.; Alfen, N. van; Gomes, M.E.R.; Eijsvogels, T.M.H.; Hopman, M.T.E.; Hoeven, J.G. van der; Netea, M.G.; Pickkers, P.
OBJECTIVE: In this case study, we describe the effects of a particular individual's concentration/meditation technique on autonomic nervous system activity and the innate immune response. The study participant holds several world records with regard to tolerating extreme cold and claims that he can
Reddy, L Ram Gopal; Kuntamalla, Srinivas
Heart rate variability analysis is fast gaining acceptance as a potential non-invasive means of autonomic nervous system assessment in research as well as clinical domains. In this study, a new nonlinear analysis method is used to detect the degree of nonlinearity and stochastic nature of heart rate variability signals during two forms of meditation (Chi and Kundalini). The data obtained from an online and widely used public database (i.e., MIT/BIH physionet database), is used in this study. The method used is the delay vector variance (DVV) method, which is a unified method for detecting the presence of determinism and nonlinearity in a time series and is based upon the examination of local predictability of a signal. From the results it is clear that there is a significant change in the nonlinearity and stochastic nature of the signal before and during the meditation (p value > 0.01). During Chi meditation there is a increase in stochastic nature and decrease in nonlinear nature of the signal. There is a significant decrease in the degree of nonlinearity and stochastic nature during Kundalini meditation.
Walton, Kenneth G; Schneider, Robert H; Salerno, John W; Nidich, Sanford I
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains the leading cause of death in the United States today and a major contributor to total health care costs. Psychosocial stress has been implicated in CVD, and psychosocial approaches to primary and secondary prevention are gaining research support. This third article in the series on psychosocial stress and CVD continues the evaluation of one such approach, the Maharishi Transcendental Meditation program, a psychophysiological approach from the Vedic tradition that is systematically taught by qualified teachers throughout the world. Evidence suggests not only that this program can provide benefits in prevention but also that it may reduce CVD-related and other health care expenses. On the basis of data from the studies available to date, the Transcendental Meditation program may be responsible for reductions of 80% or greater in medical insurance claims and payments to physicians. This article evaluates the implications of research on the Transcendental Meditation program for health care policy and for large-scale clinical implementation of the program. The Transcendental Meditation program can be used by individuals of any ethnic or cultural background, and compliance with the practice regimen is generally high. The main steps necessary for wider adoption appear to be: (1) educating health care providers and patients about the nature and expected benefits of the program, and (2) adjustments in public policies at the state and national levels to allow this program to be included in private and public health insurance plans.
Yoo, Yang-Gyeong; Lee, Duck-Joo; Lee, In-Soo; Shin, Namin; Park, Ju-Yeon; Yoon, Mi-Ra; Yu, Boas
This study analyzed the effects of a school-based mind subtraction meditation program on depression, social anxiety, aggression, and salivary cortisol levels of 42 elementary school children in South Korea. The research design was a nonequivalent group comparison with pretest and post-test. The experimental group was given 8weeks of the meditation program. The results showed social anxiety, aggression, and salivary cortisol levels were significantly lowered in the experimental group. This demonstrated that the school-based mind subtraction meditation program could be effective in improving psychosocial and behavioral aspects of mental health in elementary school children. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Pinniger, Rosa; Brown, Rhonda F; Thorsteinsson, Einar B; McKinley, Patricia
To determine whether tango dancing is as effective as mindfulness meditation in reducing symptoms of psychological stress, anxiety and depression, and in promoting well-being. This study employed analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) and multiple regression analysis. Ninety-seven people with self-declared depression were randomised into tango dance or mindfulness meditation classes, or to control/waiting-list. classes were conducted in a venue suitable for both activities in the metropolitan area of Sydney, Australia. Participants completed six-week programmes (1½h/week of tango or meditation). The outcome measures were assessed at pre-test and post-test. Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale; The Self Esteem Scale; Satisfaction with Life Scale, and Mindful Attention Awareness Scale. Sixty-six participants completed the program and were included in the statistical analysis. Depression levels were significantly reduced in the tango (effect size d=0.50, p=.010), and meditation groups (effect size d=0.54, p=.025), relative to waiting-list controls. Stress levels were significantly reduced only in the tango group (effect size d=0.45, p=.022). Attending tango classes was a significant predictor for the increased levels of mindfulness R(2)=.10, adjusted R(2)=.07, F (2,59)=3.42, p=.039. Mindfulness-meditation and tango dance could be effective complementary adjuncts for the treatment of depression and/or inclusion in stress management programmes. Subsequent trials are called to explore the therapeutic mechanisms involved. Crown Copyright © 2012. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Shannahoff-Khalsa, D S; Ray, L E; Levine, S; Gallen, C C; Schwartz, B J; Sidorowich, J J
The objective of this study was to compare efficacy of two meditation protocols for treating patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Patients were randomized to two groups-matched for sex, age, and medication status-and blinded to the comparison protocol. They were told the trial would last for 12 months, unless one protocol proved to be more efficacious. If so, groups would merge, and the group that received the less efficacious treatment would also be afforded 12 months of the more effective one. The study was conducted at Children's Hospital, San Diego, Calif. Patients were selected according to Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Third Edition-Revised (DSM-III-R) criteria and recruited by advertisements and referral. At baseline, Group 1 included 11 adults and 1 adolescent, and Group 2 included 10 adults. Group 1 employed a kundalini yoga meditation protocol and Group 2 employed the Relaxation Response plus Mindfulness Meditation technique. Baseline and 3-month interval testing was conducted using the Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS), Symptoms Checklist-90-Revised Obsessive Compulsive (SCL-90-R OC) and Global Severity Index (SCL-90-R GSI) scales, Profile of Moods scale (POMS), Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), and Purpose in Life (PIL) test. Seven adults in each group completed 3 months of therapy. At 3 months, Group 1 demonstrated greater improvements (Student's independent groups t-test) on the Y-BOCS, SCL-90-R OC and GSI scales, and POMS, and greater but nonsignificant improvements on the PSS and PIL test. An intent-to-treat analysis (Y-BOCS) for the baseline and 3-month tests showed that only Group 1 improved. Within-group statistics (Student's paired t-tests) showed that Group 1 significantly improved on all six scales, but Group 2 had no improvements. Groups were merged for an additional year using Group 1 techniques. At 15 months, the final group (N=11) improved 71%, 62%, 66%, 74%, 39%, and 23%, respectively, on
Cancer is certainly one of the most upsetting things that can happen in a life time, it manages to totally destroy the balance of those affected. The person can suffer from anxiety and fear to such a point that they see their future with terror. These difficulties have a devastating effect on the quality of life of the patient and their families, the latter often being given little consideration by carers. Sometime tailored psychotherapy or medical care can partially contribute only to help the patient and their families-caregiver. Techniques such as Yoga and some structured meditation, e.g. Mindfulness which work on the "feeling" of mind and body can be of help. These techniques lead to a reduction in distress and so add to a better quality of life, fundamental in each stage of the illness.
Full Text Available This article undertakes the issues of applying the allegorical method of withdrawing meanings from the biblical text during the meditation. It bases on The Fasciculus of various prayer (Fascykuł nabożeństwa różnego by Adam Opatowiusz (1574–1647. The author used the ways of rhetorical allegorization and biblical theory of senses in order to realize the persuasive aims of prayer comprehended as means of spiritual growth. The rhetorical allegorization includes the relation between biblical senses and human experience, which results in four kinds of allegory: the biblical-biblical, biblical-experimental, experimental-biblical and experimental-experimental allegory. It helps in explaining, developing and referring the biblical meanings to spiritual life being also a pivot of reflection whereas the literary elements are subordinated to the spiritual matter.
In this accessible overview of current knowledge, an expert team of editors and authors describe experimental approaches to consciousness. These approaches are shedding light on some of the hitherto unknown aspects of the distinct states of human consciousness, including the waking state, different states of sleep and dreaming, meditation and more. The book presents the latest research studies by the contributing authors, whose specialities span neuroscience, neurology, biomedical engineering, clinical psychology and psychophysiology, psychosocial medicine and anthropology. Overall this anthology provides the reader with a clear picture of how different states of consciousness can be defined, experimentally measured and analysed. A future byproduct of this knowledge may be anticipated in the development of systematic corrective treatments for many disorders and pathological problems of consciousness.
Jorge Luis Queiroz Carvalho
Full Text Available In this work we aim to identify and describe the markers of utterance responsibility in academic texts through modality and mediative. The theoretical and methodological approach we follow is based on textual analysis of discourses postulates according to Adam (2011. Our theoretical background is also based on Rabatel (2009 studies on the utterance responsibility; Campos (2004 and Castilho & Castilho (2002 on the category of modalities, Guentchèva (1994 regarding the meditative category, and Neves (2012, which promotes a discussion that articulates both categories. The analysis showed that speakers-utterers (S1/U1 base their points of view on the second utterer's points of view (U2. We also observed that S1/U1 expressed different degrees of engagement in relation to the information reported, assuming or imputing the utterance responsibility
Capurro, A.; Diambra, L.; Malta, C. P.
We present a model for the respiratory modulation of the heart beat-to-beat interval series. The model consists of a pacemaker, that simulates the membrane potential of the sinoatrial node, modulated by a periodic input signal plus correlated noise that simulates the respiratory input. The model was used to assess the waveshape of the respiratory signals needed to reproduce in the phase space the trajectory of experimental heart beat-to-beat interval data. The data sets were recorded during meditation practices of the Chi and Kundalini Yoga techniques. Our study indicates that in the first case the respiratory signal has the shape of a smoothed square wave, and in the second case it has the shape of a smoothed triangular wave.
Cramer, Holger; Sibbritt, David; Park, Crystal L; Adams, Jon; Lauche, Romy
To examine the relationship between yoga/meditation practice and health behavior in Australian women. Women aged 19-25years, 31-36years, and 62-67years from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health (ALSWH) were surveyed regarding smoking, alcohol or drug use, physical activity and dietary behavior; and whether they practiced yoga/meditation on a regular basis. Associations of health behaviors with yoga/meditation practice were analyzed using multiple logistic regression modelling. 11,344, 8200, and 9151 women aged 19-25years, 31-36years, and 62-67years, respectively, were included of which 29.0%, 21.7%, and 20.7%, respectively, practiced yoga/meditation. Women practicing yoga/meditation were significantly more likely to report at least moderate physical activity levels (OR=1.50-2.79), to follow a vegetarian (OR=1.67-3.22) or vegan (OR=2.26-3.68) diet, and to report the use of marijuana (OR=1.28-1.89) and illicit drugs in the last 12 months (OR=1.23-1.98). Yoga/meditation practice was associated with higher physical activity levels, a higher likelihood of vegetarian or vegan diet use, and a higher likelihood of drug use. While health professionals should keep the potential vulnerability of yoga/meditation practitioners to drug use in mind, the positive associations of yoga/meditation with a variety of positive health behaviors warrant its consideration in preventive medicine and healthcare. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Full Text Available Mindfulness meditation involves attending to emotions without cognitive fixation of emotional experience. Over time, this practice is held to promote alterations in trait affectivity and attentional control with resultant effects on well-being and cognition. However, relatively little is known regarding the neural substrates of meditation effects on emotion and cognition. The present study investigated the neurocognitive correlates of emotion interference on cognition in Yoga practitioners and a matched control group underwent fMRI while performing an event-related affective Stroop task. The task includes image viewing trials and Stroop trials bracketed by neutral or negative emotional distractors. During image viewing trials, Yoga practitioners exhibited less reactivity in right dlPFC to negative as compared to neutral images; whereas the control group had the opposite pattern. A main effect of valence (negative > neutral was observed in limbic regions (e.g. amygdala, of which the magnitude was inversely related to dlPFC activation. Exploratory analyses revealed that the magnitude of amygdala activation predicted decreased self-reported positive affect in the Control group, but not among Yoga practitioners. During Stroop trials, Yoga practitioners had greater activation in vlPFC during Stroop trials when negative, compared to neutral, emotional distractor were presented; the control group exhibited the opposite pattern. Taken together, these data suggest that though Yoga practitioners exhibit limbic reactivity to negative emotional stimuli, such reactivity does not have downstream effects on later mood state. This uncoupling of viewing negative emotional images and affect among Yoga practitioners may be occasioned by their selective implementation of frontal executive-dependent strategies to reduce emotional interference during competing cognitive demands and not during emotional processing per se.
K.Wallace, qui vient des Etats Unis, parle des effects physiologiques de la méditation transcendantale. Il a fait son bachelor en physique à l'Université de Los Angeles et son doctorat en physiologie aussi à Los Angeles, mais à l'Institut de Recherche sur le cerveau. Il travaille maintenat à Harvard Medical School ou il continue des recherches biochimiques et physiologiques sur l'application médicale de la méditation transcendantale. Il s'occupe principalement des maladies cardiaques et de hypertension artérielle.
Britton, Willoughby B.; Lepp, Nathaniel E.; Niles, Halsey F.; Rocha, Tomas; Fisher, Nathan; Gold, Jonathan
Children in the United States are at risk for numerous psychological problems, such as anxiety, attention problems, and mood disorders, and are underserved by current mental health provisions. The current study is a pilot trial to examine the effects of a nonelective, classroom-based, teacher-implemented, mindfulness meditation intervention on standard clinical measures of mental health and affect in middle school children. A total of 101 healthy sixth-grade students (55 boys and 46 girls) were randomized to either an Asian history course with daily mindfulness meditation practice (intervention group) or an African history course with a matched experiential activity (active control group). Self-reported data was collected by administering the Youth Self Report (YSR), a modified Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, and the Cognitive and Affective Mindfulness Measure -Revised before and after 6 weeks of meditation or active control condition. Both meditators and active controls decreased significantly on the YSR Internalizing Problems, Externalizing Problems, and Attention Problems subscales but did not differ in the extent of their improvements. Both groups also showed comparable improvements on measures in affect. Meditators were significantly less likely to develop suicidal ideation or thoughts of self-harm than controls. Improvements in affect were correlated with increases in mindfulness in meditators but not controls. These results suggest that mindfulness training may yield both unique and nonspecific benefits that are shared by other novel activities. PMID:24930819
This article is the first of two comparing findings of studies of advanced practitioners of Tibetan Buddhist meditation in remote regions of the Himalayas, with established results on long-term practitioners of the Transcendental Meditation programs. Many parallel levels of improvement were found, in sensory acuity, perceptual style and cognitive function, indicating stabilization of aspects of attentional awareness. Together with observed increases in EEG coherence and aspects of brain function, such changes are consistent with growth towards a state of total brain functioning, i.e. development of full mental potential. They are usually accompanied by improved health parameters. How they may be seen to be consistent with growth of enlightenment will be the subject of a second article.
Full Text Available This article is the first of two comparing findings of studies of advanced practitioners of Tibetan Buddhist meditation in remote regions of the Himalayas, with established results on long-term practitioners of the Transcendental Meditation programs. Many parallel levels of improvement were found, in sensory acuity, perceptual style and cognitive function, indicating stabilization of aspects of attentional awareness. Together with observed increases in EEG coherence and aspects of brain function, such changes are consistent with growth towards a state of total brain functioning, i.e. development of full mental potential. They are usually accompanied by improved health parameters. How they may be seen to be consistent with growth of enlightenment will be the subject of a second article.
Michael J Larson
Full Text Available Meditation is associated with positive health behaviors and improved cognitive control. One mechanism for the relationship between meditation and cognitive control is changes in activity of the anterior cingulate cortex-mediated neural pathways. The error-related negativity (ERN and error positivity (Pe components of the scalp-recorded event-related potential (ERP represent cingulate-mediated functions of performance monitoring that may be modulated by mindfulness meditation. We utilized a flanker task, an experimental design, and a brief mindfulness intervention in a sample of 55 healthy non-meditators (n = 28 randomly assigned to the mindfulness group and n = 27 randomly assigned to the control group to examine autonomic nervous system functions as measured by blood pressure and indices of cognitive control as measured by response times, error rates, post-error slowing, and the ERN and Pe components of the ERP. Systolic blood pressure significantly differentiated groups following the mindfulness intervention and following the flanker task. There were non-significant differences between the mindfulness and control groups for response times, post-error slowing, and error rates on the flanker task. Amplitude and latency of the ERN did not differ between groups; however, amplitude of the Pe was significantly smaller in individuals in the mindfulness group than in the control group. Findings suggest that a brief mindfulness intervention is associated with reduced autonomic arousal and decreased amplitude of the Pe, an ERP associated with error awareness, attention, and motivational salience, but does not alter amplitude of the ERN or behavioral performance. Implications for brief mindfulness interventions and state versus trait affect theories of the ERN are discussed. Future research examining graded levels of mindfulness and tracking error awareness will clarify relationship between mindfulness and performance monitoring.
Van Wijk, Eduard P A; Van Wijk, Roeland; Bajpai, Rajendra P
Research on human ultra-weak photon emission (UPE) has suggested a typical human emission anatomic percentage distribution pattern. It was demonstrated that emission intensities are lower in long-term practitioners of meditation as compared to control subjects. The percent contribution of emission from different anatomic locations was not significantly different for meditation practitioners and control subjects. Recently, a procedure was developed to analyze the fluctuations in the signals by measuring probabilities of detecting different numbers of photons in a bin and correct these for background noise. The procedure was tested utilizing the signal from three different body locations of a single subject, demonstrating that probabilities have non-classical features and are well described by the signal in a coherent state from the three body sites. The values indicate that the quantum state of photon emitted by the subject could be a coherent state in the subject being investigated. The objective in the present study was to systematically quantify, in subjects with long-term meditation experience and subjects without this experience, the photon count distribution of 12 different locations. Data show a variation in quantum state parameters within each individual subject as well as variation in quantum state parameters between the groups.
dos Santos, Teresa Maria; Kozasa, Elisa Harumi; Carmagnani, Isabel Sampaio; Tanaka, Luiza Hiromi; Lacerda, Shirley Silva; Nogueira-Martins, Luiz Antonio
Mindfulness meditation has been shown to effectively mitigate the negative effects of stress among nursing professionals, but in countries like Brazil, these practices are relatively unexplored. To evaluate the effects of a Stress Reduction Program (SRP) including mindfulness and loving kindness meditation among nursing professionals working in a Brazilian hospital setting. Pilot study with a mixed model using quantitative and qualitative methods was used to evaluate a group of participants. The quantitative data were analyzed at three different time points: pre-intervention, post-intervention, and follow-up. The qualitative data were analyzed at post-intervention. Hospital São Paulo (Brazil). Sample 13 nursing professionals, including nurses, technicians, and nursing assistants working in a hospital. Participants underwent mindfulness and loving kindness meditation during a period of six weeks. Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI), Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS), Self-Compassion Scale (SCS), WHOQOL-BREF quality of life assessment, and Work Stress Scale (WSS). Qualitative data were collected via a group interview following six weeks participation in the SRP. The quantitative analyses revealed a significant reduction (P stress, burnout, depression, and anxiety (trait). These variables showed no significant differences between post-intervention and follow-up scores. The WHOQOL-BREF revealed significant increase (P nursing activities. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Klein, Penelope; Picard, George; Baumgarden, Joseph; Schneider, Roger
Abstract : Qigong is the meditative movement and therapeutic exercise of Eastern medicine. A growing body of evidence is validating its health benefits leading to mechanistic questions of how it works. The purpose of this article is to explore mechanisms of action related to Qigong, with the intent of unifying Eastern and Western exercise theory and to present a model for Qigong exercise analysis. Three exercises from a standardized Qigong form: 'Plucking the Stars', 'Lotus Leaves Rustle in the Wind', and 'Pacing Forwards and Backwards' were selected for meditative, energetic, and physical analyses. Meditative aspects include relaxation response, interoception and exteroception. Energetic aspects include stimulation of meridians through mental intent, acupressure, and self-massage. Physical aspects include flexibility, strength, articular stimulation, neuro-integration, respiratory effect, fascial stretch, visceral massage, balance challenge CranioSacral pump, lymphatic and venous return and glandular stimulation, and physiologic response to relaxation. Knowledge of mechanisms of action for specific Qigong exercises can guide operational definition of Qigong, selection of outcomes assessment in future research, inform prescriptive practice addressing clinical health issues, and advance adoption of Qigong practice within integrative health care. The model of analysis demonstrated in this discussion may assist in these endeavors.
Smernoff, Eric; Mitnik, Inbal; Kolodner, Ken; Lev-Ari, Shahar
"The Work" is a meditative technique that enables the identification and investigation of thoughts that cause an individual stress and suffering. Its core is comprised of four questions and turnarounds that enable the participant to experience a different interpretation of reality. We assessed the effect of "The Work" meditation on quality of life and psychological symptoms in a non-clinical sample. This study was designed as a single-group pilot clinical trial (open label). Participants (n = 197) enrolled in a nine-day training course ("The School for The Work") and completed a set of self-administered measures on three occasions: before the course (n = 197), after the course (n = 164), and six months after course completion (n = 102). Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II), Subjective Happiness Scale (SHS), Quality of Life Inventory (QOLI), Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology-Self Report (QIDS-SR16), Outcome Questionnaire 45.2 (OQ-45.2), State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory-2 (STAXI-2), and State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI). A mixed models analysis revealed significant positive changes between baseline compared to the end of the intervention and six-month follow-up in all measures: BDI-II (t = 10.24, P Work" meditation technique as an effective intervention for improvement in psychological state and quality of life in the general population. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Chiesa, Alberto; Brambilla, Paolo; Serretti, Alessandro
Chiesa A, Brambilla P, Serretti A. Functional neural correlates of mindfulness meditations in comparison with psychotherapy, pharmacotherapy and placebo effect. Is there a link? Mindfulness meditations (MM) are a group of meditation practices which are increasingly receiving attention. The aim of the present work is to review current findings about the neural correlates of MM and compare such findings with other specific and non-specific treatments. A literature search was undertaken using MEDLINE, ISI web of knowledge, the Cochrane database and references of retrieved articles. Studies which focused on the functional neural correlates of MM, psychotherapy, pharmacotherapy and placebo published up to August 2009 were screened in order to be considered for the inclusion. Main findings suggest that long-term MM practice allows a more flexible emotional regulation by engaging frontal cortical structures to dampen automatic amygdala activation. A large overlap exists between cerebral areas activated during MM, psychotherapy, pharmacotherapy and those activated by placebo. However, while MM, psychotherapy and placebo seem to act through a top-down regulation, antidepressants seem to act through a bottom-up process. MM seem to target specific brain areas related to emotions and emotional regulation. Similar mechanisms have been observed also in other interventions, particularly psychotherapy.
Franco Justo, Clemente
To check the effectiveness of a mindfulness development meditation technique on stress and anxiety in a group of primary-care physicians. Quasi-experimental with pretest/posttest/follow-up measurements in a control group and an experimental group. SITE: University of Almeria. 38 primary-care physicians enrolled in a Teaching Aptitude Course (CAP). An experimental group and a control group were formed with 19 participants in each. The experimental group took a psycho-educational meditation program for training and practice in mindfulness. The Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), the Strain Questionnaire and the State-Trait Anxiety Questionnaire were used to measure stress and anxiety levels. A comparative statistical analysis was performed using the Mann-Whitney non-parametric U test, finding a significant reduction in all the primary-care physician stress and anxiety variables in the experimental group compared to the control group in pretest-posttest and follow-up tests. The results of this study support the effectiveness of mindfulness development meditation techniques in decreasing stress and anxiety in primary-care physicians. Nevertheless, the study shows various limitations that would have to be corrected in successive studies to bring more validity to the results. Copyright © 2009 Elsevier España, S.L. All rights reserved.
Effectiveness of mindfulness meditation on pain and quality of life of patients with chronic low back pain Eighty-eight patients diagnosed as NSCLBP by physician and randomly assigned to experimental (MBSR+ usual medical care and the control group (usual medical care only. The subjects assessed in 3 times frames; before, after and 4 weeks after intervention by Mac Gil pain and standard brief quality of life scales. Data obtained from the final sample analyzed by ANCOVA using SPSS software. Results: The findings showed MBSR was effective in reduction of pain severity and the patients who practiced 8 sessions meditation reported significantly lower pain than patients who only received usual medical care. There was a significant effect of the between subject factor group (F [1, 45] = 16.45, P < 0.001 and (F [1, 45] = 21.51, P < 0.001 for physical quality of life and (F [1, 45] = 13.80, P < 0.001 and (F [1, 45] = 25.07, P < 0.001 mental quality of life respectively. Conclusion: MBSR as a mind-body therapy including body scan, sitting and walking meditation was effective intervention on reduction of pain severity and improvement of physical and mental quality of life of female patients with NSCLBP.
Prakhinkit, Susaree; Suppapitiporn, Siriluck; Tanaka, Hirofumi; Suksom, Daroonwan
The objectives of this study were to determine the effects of the novel Buddhism-based walking meditation (BWM) and the traditional walking exercise (TWE) on depression, functional fitness, and vascular reactivity. This was a randomized exercise intervention study. The study was conducted in a university hospital setting. Forty-five elderly participants aged 60-90 years with mild-to-moderate depressive symptoms were randomly allocated to the sedentary control, TWE, and BWM groups. The BWM program was based on aerobic walking exercise incorporating the Buddhist meditations performed 3 times/week for 12 weeks. Depression score, functional fitness, and endothelium-dependent vasodilation as measured by the flow-mediated dilation (FMD) were the outcome measures used. Muscle strength, flexibility, agility, dynamic balance, and cardiorespiratory endurance increased in both exercise groups (p<0.05). Depression score decreased (p<0.05) only in the BWM group. FMD improved (p<0.05) in both exercise groups. Significant reduction in plasma cholesterol, triglyceride, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and C-reactive protein were found in both exercise groups, whereas low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, cortisol, and interleukin-6 concentrations decreased only in the BWM group. Buddhist walking meditation was effective in reducing depression, improving functional fitness and vascular reactivity, and appears to confer greater overall improvements than the traditional walking program.
Michael R. Hagerty
Full Text Available We report the first neural recording during ecstatic meditations called jhanas and test whether a brain reward system plays a role in the joy reported. Jhanas are Altered States of Consciousness (ASC that imply major brain changes based on subjective reports: (1 external awareness dims, (2 internal verbalizations fade, (3 the sense of personal boundaries is altered, (4 attention is highly focused on the object of meditation, and (5 joy increases to high levels. The fMRI and EEG results from an experienced meditator show changes in brain activity in 11 regions shown to be associated with the subjective reports, and these changes occur promptly after jhana is entered. In particular, the extreme joy is associated not only with activation of cortical processes but also with activation of the nucleus accumbens (NAc in the dopamine/opioid reward system. We test three mechanisms by which the subject might stimulate his own reward system by external means and reject all three. Taken together, these results demonstrate an apparently novel method of self-stimulating a brain reward system using only internal mental processes in a highly trained subject.
Cramer, Holger; Sibbritt, David; Adams, Jon; Lauche, Romy
Falls are the leading cause of injuries in women across all ages. While yoga has been shown to increase balance, it has also been associated with injuries due to falls during practice. This study aimed to analyse whether regular yoga or meditation practice is associated with the frequency of falls and fall-related injuries in upper middle-aged Australian women. Women aged 59-64 years from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health (ALSWH) were queried regarding falls and falls-related injuries; and whether they regularly practiced yoga or meditation. Associations of falls and falls-related injuries with yoga or meditation practice were analysed using chi-squared tests and multiple logistic regression modelling. Of 10,011 women, 4413 (44.1%) had slipped, tripped or stumbled, 2770 (27.7%) had fallen to the ground, 1398 (14.0%) had been injured as a result of falling, and 901 (9.0%) women had sought medical attention for a fall-related injury within the previous 12 months. Yoga or meditation was practiced regularly by 746 (7.5%) women. No associations of falls, fall-related injuries and treatment due to falls-related injury with yoga or meditation practice were found. No association between yoga or meditation practice and falls or fall-related injuries have been found. Further studies are warranted for conclusive judgement of benefits and safety of yoga and meditation in relation to balance, falls and fall-related injuries. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
Kok, Bethany E; Singer, Tania
Despite increasing interest in the effects of mental training practices such as meditation, there is much ambiguity regarding whether and to what extent the various types of mental practice have differential effects on psychological change. To address this gap, we compare the effects of four common meditation practices on measures of state change in affect, mind-wandering, meta-cognition, and interoception. In the context of a 9-month mental training program called the ReSource Project, 229 mid-life adults (mean age 41) provided daily reports before and after meditation practice. Participants received training in the following three successive modules: the first module (presence) included breathing meditation and body scan, the second (affect) included loving-kindness meditation, and the third (perspective) included observing-thought meditation. Using multilevel modeling, we found that body scan led to the greatest state increase in interoceptive awareness and the greatest decrease in thought content, loving-kindness meditation led to the greatest increase in feelings of warmth and positive thoughts about others, and observing-thought meditation led to the greatest increase in meta-cognitive awareness. All practices, including breathing meditation, increased positivity of affect, energy, and present focus and decreased thought distraction. Complementary network analysis of intervariate relationships revealed distinct phenomenological clusters of psychological change congruent with the content of each practice. These findings together suggest that although different meditation practices may have common beneficial effects, each practice can also be characterized by a distinct short-term psychological fingerprint, the latter having important implications for the use of meditative practices in different intervention contexts and with different populations.
Gebauer, Jochen E; Nehrlich, Andreas D; Stahlberg, Dagmar; Sedikides, Constantine; Hackenschmidt, Anke; Schick, Doreen; Stegmaier, Clara A; Windfelder, Cara C; Bruk, Anna; Mander, Johannes
Mind-body practices enjoy immense public and scientific interest. Yoga and meditation are highly popular. Purportedly, they foster well-being by curtailing self-enhancement bias. However, this "ego-quieting" effect contradicts an apparent psychological universal, the self-centrality principle. According to this principle, practicing any skill renders that skill self-central, and self-centrality breeds self-enhancement bias. We examined those opposing predictions in the first tests of mind-body practices' self-enhancement effects. In Experiment 1, we followed 93 yoga students over 15 weeks, assessing self-centrality and self-enhancement bias after yoga practice (yoga condition, n = 246) and without practice (control condition, n = 231). In Experiment 2, we followed 162 meditators over 4 weeks (meditation condition: n = 246; control condition: n = 245). Self-enhancement bias was higher in the yoga (Experiment 1) and meditation (Experiment 2) conditions, and those effects were mediated by greater self-centrality. Additionally, greater self-enhancement bias mediated mind-body practices' well-being benefits. Evidently, neither yoga nor meditation fully quiet the ego; to the contrary, they boost self-enhancement.
Colzato, Lorenza S; Sellaro, Roberta; Samara, Iliana; Hommel, Bernhard
Here we consider the possibility that meditation has an immediate impact on information processing. Moreover, we were interested to see whether this impact affects attentional input control, as previous observations suggest, or the handling of response conflict. Healthy adults underwent a brief single session of either focused attention meditation (FAM), which is assumed to increase top-down control, or open monitoring meditation (OMM), which is assumed to weaken top-down control, before performing a Simon task-which assesses conflict-resolution efficiency. While the size of the Simon effect (reflecting the efficiency of handling response conflict) was unaffected by type of meditation, the amount of dynamic behavioral adjustments (i.e., trial-to-trial variability of the Simon effect: the Gratton effect) was considerably smaller after OMM than after FAM. Our findings suggest that engaging in meditation instantly creates a cognitive-control state that has a specific impact on conflict-driven control adaptations. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Yoo, Yang Gyeong; Lee, In Soo
Self-esteem and school adjustment of children in the lower grades of primary school, the beginning stage of school life, have a close relationship with development of personality, mental health and characters of children. Therefore, the present study aimed to verify the effect of school-based Maum Meditation program on children in the lower grades of primary school, as a personality education program. The result showed that the experimental group with application of Maum Meditation program had significant improvements in self-esteem and school adjustment, compared to the control group without the application. In conclusion, since the study provides significant evidence that the intervention of Maum Meditation program had positive effects on self-esteem and school adjustment of children in the early stage of primary school, it is suggested to actively employ Maum Meditation as a school-based meditation program for mental health promotion of children in the early school ages, the stage of formation of personalities and habits. PMID:23777717
Lunthita M. Duthely
Full Text Available Population studies paint a dismal picture of the mental health status of adolescents, in the US and worldwide. Positive psychology, which takes a preventative approach to keeping individuals in higher states of well-being, is being implemented increasingly among youth, with the goal of avoiding future mental health and psychological problems. In this study, a novel intervention, which fused the practice of meditation with gratitude visualizations, was tested among adolescents. The purpose of this quasi-experimental study was to determine the extent to which the intervention affected life satisfaction, school satisfaction, and measured gratitude, among a culturally diverse cohort of adolescents. Instrumentation consisted of three positive psychology measures—the Student Life Satisfaction Scale, the School Satisfaction Subscale, and the Gratitude Questionnaire-Six-Item Form. Participants were randomly assigned either to the delayed-intervention, no-treatment control group or to the experimental group. The four-week intervention was manualized primarily from the heart-centered gratitude visualizations outlined in a happiness and positive emotions handbook, The Jewels of Happiness: Inspiration and Wisdom to Guide Your Life-Journey. The intervention significantly affected life satisfaction, school satisfaction, and gratitude of the experimental group, when compared to the control group. Medium to large effect sizes were detected using the ANCOVA statistical test.
This paper presents adolescent aggression as mediated by the level of differentiation of self. No research has directly addressed Bowen's notion that level of differentiation impacts child functioning including aggression. Level of differentiation is discussed in conjunction with social, gender and cultural norms as manifested in aggressive behavior. Female adolescent aggression is described as mainly relationship focused and expressed via verbal threats, intimidation and manipulation, while male aggression is described mainly as overt physical violence involving dominance and competitiveness. Research on differentiation focuses mainly on Western cultures that tend to be individualistic. Jewish-Israeli society is in transition from collectivistic to individualistic cultural values in the midst of ongoing hostilities. These processes create conflict regarding togetherness and individuality needs among adolescents, who are exposed to contradictory messages regarding separating and staying close. External as well as internal expressions of aggression (depression, suicide) are presented as coping strategies in the service of a wounded self-negotiating with the world. Guided mindfulness meditation is a powerful technique for facilitating healing and growth toward autonomy by helping adolescents connect to their inner voice. This technique may be especially useful in the adolescent search for self-awareness, meaning and life purpose. Bodily, cognitive and emotional experiences are treated as informative regarding the 'self' and facilitate expansion of self-perception and individuality.
Rahl, Hayley A.; Lindsay, Emily K.; Pacilio, Laura E.; Brown, Kirk W.; Creswell, J. David
Mindfulness meditation programs, which train individuals to monitor their present moment experience in an open or accepting way, have been shown to reduce mind-wandering on standardized tasks in several studies. Here we test two competing accounts for how mindfulness training reduces mind-wandering, evaluating whether the attention monitoring component of mindfulness training alone reduces mind-wandering or whether the acceptance training component is necessary for reducing mind-wandering. Healthy young adults (N=147) were randomized to either a 3-day brief mindfulness training condition incorporating instruction in both attention monitoring and acceptance, a mindfulness training condition incorporating attention monitoring instruction only, a relaxation training condition, or a reading control condition. Participants completed measures of dispositional mindfulness and treatment expectancies before the training session on Day 1 and then completed a 6-minute Sustained Attention Response Task (SART) measuring mind-wandering after the training session on Day 3. Acceptance training was important for reducing mind-wandering, such that the monitoring + acceptance mindfulness training condition had the lowest mind-wandering relative to the other conditions, including significantly lower mind-wandering relative to the monitor-only mindfulness training condition. In one of the first experimental mindfulness training dismantling studies to-date, we show that training in acceptance is a critical driver of mindfulness training reductions in mind-wandering. This effect suggests that acceptance skills may facilitate emotion regulation on boring and frustrating sustained attention tasks that foster mind-wandering, such as the SART. PMID:27819445
Full Text Available This paper presents adolescent aggression as mediated by the level of differentiation of self. No research has directly addressed Bowen's notion that level of differentiation impacts child functioning including aggression. Level of differentiation is discussed in conjunction with social, gender and cultural norms as manifested in aggressive behavior. Female adolescent aggression is described as mainly relationship focused and expressed via verbal threats, intimidation and manipulation, while male aggression is described mainly as overt physical violence involving dominance and competitiveness. Research on differentiation focuses mainly on Western cultures that tend to be individualistic. Jewish-Israeli society is in transition from collectivistic to individualistic cultural values in the midst of ongoing hostilities. These processes create conflict regarding togetherness and individuality needs among adolescents, who are exposed to contradictory messages regarding separating and staying close. External as well as internal expressions of aggression (depression, suicide are presented as coping strategies in the service of a wounded self-negotiating with the world. Guided mindfulness meditation is a powerful technique for facilitating healing and growth toward autonomy by helping adolescents connect to their inner voice. This technique may be especially useful in the adolescent search for self-awareness, meaning and life purpose. Bodily, cognitive and emotional experiences are treated as informative regarding the “self” and facilitate expansion of self-perception and individuality.
Stefano, George B; Esch, Tobias
Relaxation techniques are part of the integrative medicine movement that is of growing importance for mainstream medicine. Complementary medical therapies have the potential to affect many physiological systems. Repeatedly studies show the benefits of the placebo response and relaxation techniques in the treatment of hypertension, cardiac arrhythmias, chronic pain, insomnia, anxiety and mild and moderate depression, premenstrual syndrome, and infertility. In itself, relaxation is characterized by a decreased metabolism, heart rate, blood pressure, and rate of breathing as well as an increase in skin temperature. Relaxation approaches, such as progressive muscle relaxation, autogenic training, meditation and biofeedback, are effective in lowering systolic and diastolic blood pressure in hypertensive patients by a significant margin. Given this association with changes in vascular tone, we have hypothesized that nitric oxide, a demonstrated vasodilator substance, contribute to physiological activity of relaxation approaches. We examined the scientific literature concerning the disorders noted earlier for their nitric oxide involvement in an attempt to provide a molecular rationale for the positive effects of relaxation approaches, which are physiological and cognitive process. We conclude that constitutive nitric oxide may crucially contribute to potentially beneficial outcomes and effects in diverse pathologies, exerting a global healing effect.
Vernon A. Barnes
Full Text Available Background. An early sign of ventricular remodeling is increased left ventricular mass (LVM which over time may lead to left ventricular hypertrophy, the strongest predictor of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, other than advancing age. Methods. 62 (30 TM; 32 CTL African American adolescents (age 16.2±1.3 years with high normal systolic BP were randomly assigned to either 4-month Transcendental Meditation (TM or health education control groups. The echocardiographic-derived measure of LVM index (LVMI = LVM/ht2.7 was measured before and after the 4-month TM study and at 4-month followup. 2D-guided M-mode echocardiography using a Hewlett Packard 5500 echosonograph was used to determine LVMI. Results. The TM group exhibited a greater decrease in LVMI at 4-month followup compared to the CTL group (−2.6 versus +0.3 gm/ht2.7, P<0.04. The TM group exhibited a lesser increase in BMI at 4-month follow-up compared to the CTL group (0.2±1.6 versus 1.1±1.4, P<0.03. Conclusion. These findings indicate that among a group of prehypertensive African American adolescents, 4 months of TM compared to heath education resulted in a significant decrease in LVMI, and these changes were maintained at 4-month follow-up.
Arch, Joanna J; Landy, Lauren N; Brown, Kirk Warren
Arch et al. (2014) demonstrated that brief self-compassion meditation training (SCT) dampened sympathetic (salivary alpha-amylase) and subjective anxiety responses to the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST), relative to attention and no-instruction control conditions. The present study examined baseline predictors and moderators of these SCT intervention effects. Baseline characteristics included two stress vulnerability traits (social anxiety and rumination) and two potential resiliency traits (non-attachment and self-compassion). We investigated how these traits moderated the effects of SCT on response to the TSST, relative to the control conditions. We also tested how these individual differences predicted TSST responses across conditions in order to uncover characteristics that confer increased vulnerability and resiliency to social stressors. Trait non-attachment, rumination (for sympathetic TSST response only), and social anxiety (for subjective TSST response only) interacted with training condition to moderate TSST responses such that following SCT, lower attachment and lower social anxiety predicted lower TSST stress responses, relative to those scoring higher on these traits. In contrast, trait self-compassion neither moderated nor predicted responses to the TSST. Thus, although SCT had robust effects on buffering stress across individuals with varying levels of trait self-compassion, other psychological traits enhanced or dampened the effect of SCT on TSST responses. These findings support the importance of examining the role of relevant baseline psychological traits to predict sympathetic and subjective responses to social evaluative threat, particularly in the context of resiliency training. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Kyeong, Sunghyon; Kim, Joohan; Kim, Dae Jin; Kim, Hesun Erin; Kim, Jae-Jin
A sense of gratitude is a powerful and positive experience that can promote a happier life, whereas resentment is associated with life dissatisfaction. To explore the effects of gratitude and resentment on mental well-being, we acquired functional magnetic resonance imaging and heart rate (HR) data before, during, and after the gratitude and resentment interventions. Functional connectivity (FC) analysis was conducted to identify the modulatory effects of gratitude on the default mode, emotion, and reward-motivation networks. The average HR was significantly lower during the gratitude intervention than during the resentment intervention. Temporostriatal FC showed a positive correlation with HR during the gratitude intervention, but not during the resentment intervention. Temporostriatal resting-state FC was significantly decreased after the gratitude intervention compared to the resentment intervention. After the gratitude intervention, resting-state FC of the amygdala with the right dorsomedial prefrontal cortex and left dorsal anterior cingulate cortex were positively correlated with anxiety scale and depression scale, respectively. Taken together, our findings shed light on the effect of gratitude meditation on an individual's mental well-being, and indicate that it may be a means of improving both emotion regulation and self-motivation by modulating resting-state FC in emotion and motivation-related brain regions.
D. Anthony Larivière
Full Text Available Both Nicholas Malebranche and Pierre-Daniel Huet were at first positively influenced by Descartes's Meditations, and both came to perceive shortcomings in that work. With respect to mind-body dualism, Malebranche attempted to strengthen Descartes's position by jettisoning clarity and distinctness basing it instead on a principle of intentionality. Huet jettisoned the whole position in favor of skepticism. The source of their different responses lay in their different estimations of Descartes's integrity.Tanto Nicholas Malebranche como Pierre-Daniel Huet foram inicialmente positivamente influenciados pelas Meditações de Descartes e ambos terminaram por perceber falhas nesta obra. No que concerne o dualismo mente e corpo, Malebranche buscou fortalecer a posição cartesiana abandonando o critério de clareza e distinção em favor de um princípio de intencionalidade. Huet abandonou o cartesianismo como um todo em favor do ceticismo. A fonte destas respostas diversas está nas avaliações distintas que fizeram da integridade de Descartes.
Van Gordon, William; Shonin, Edo; Dunn, Thomas J; Garcia-Campayo, Javier; Demarzo, Marcelo M P; Griffiths, Mark D
Background and aims Workaholism is a form of behavioral addiction that can lead to reduced life and job satisfaction, anxiety, depression, burnout, work-family conflict, and impaired productivity. Given the number of people affected, there is a need for more targeted workaholism treatments. Findings from previous case studies successfully utilizing second-generation mindfulness-based interventions (SG-MBIs) for treating behavioral addiction suggest that SG-MBIs may be suitable for treating workaholism. This study conducted a controlled trial to investigate the effects of an SG-MBI known as meditation awareness training (MAT) on workaholism. Methods Male and female adults suffering from workaholism (n = 73) were allocated to MAT or a waiting-list control group. Assessments were performed at pre-, post-, and 3-month follow-up phases. Results MAT participants demonstrated significant and sustained improvements over control-group participants in workaholism symptomatology, job satisfaction, work engagement, work duration, and psychological distress. Furthermore, compared to the control group, MAT participants demonstrated a significant reduction in hours spent working but without a decline in job performance. Discussion and conclusions MAT may be a suitable intervention for treating workaholism. Further controlled intervention studies investigating the effects of SG-MBIs on workaholism are warranted.
Full Text Available Use of complementary medicines and therapies (CAM and modification of lifestyle factors such as physical activity, exercise, and diet are being increasingly considered as potential therapeutic options for anxiety disorders. The objective of this metareview was to examine evidence across a broad range of CAM and lifestyle interventions in the treatment of anxiety disorders. In early 2012 we conducted a literature search of PubMed, Scopus, CINAHL, Web of Science, PsycInfo, and the Cochrane Library, for key studies, systematic reviews, and metaanalyses in the area. Our paper found that in respect to treatment of generalized anxiety or specific disorders, CAM evidence revealed current support for the herbal medicine Kava. One isolated study shows benefit for naturopathic medicine, whereas acupuncture, yoga, and Tai chi have tentative supportive evidence, which is hampered by overall poor methodology. The breadth of evidence does not support homeopathy for treating anxiety. Strong support exists for lifestyle modifications including adoption of moderate exercise and mindfulness meditation, whereas dietary improvement, avoidance of caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine offer encouraging preliminary data. In conclusion, certain lifestyle modifications and some CAMs may provide a beneficial role in the treatment of anxiety disorders.
Winters, Drew E; Beerbower, Emily
Adolescents involved in the juvenile justice system are prone to more traumatic events than other adolescents, leaving them in danger of developmental difficulties. Trauma exposure is predictive of poor outcomes including mental and physical health issues as well as criminal activity. Current treatment approaches either have a nominal effect on recidivism rates or increase the likelihood of future criminal offenses. This article explores adolescent brain development, the unique difficulties that juvenile justice youth face, and mindfulness meditation as an adjunctive treatment to system-based treatment. Mindfulness meditation may be a way to redress damage to the brain and facilitate healthy brain development, thus impacting prosocial behavior. Practice implications include integrating mindfulness meditation as an important part of rehabilitative efforts with juvenile justice youth.
Full Text Available Fairness violations elicit powerful behavioral and affective responses. Indeed, people are willing to incur costs to sanction unfair behavior. Here we study the possible impact of long-term mental training in socio-affective capacities such as compassion on altruistic punishment and compensatory behavior in economic games. To this end we recruited a group of long-term meditation practitioners (LTPs who had engaged in an average of 40K hours of mental training exercises including compassion-related meditation, along with a group of meditation-naïve controls. Participants played several adaptations of the dictator game in which they had the opportunity to punish the dictator both when they were the recipients of the dictator’s offer and when they were third-party witnesses to the dictator’s treatment of an anonymous second player. Compared to controls, LTPs were less likely to punish when they were the victims of fairness violations. However, both groups punished equivalently when they witnessed others receiving unfair treatment. In post-task questionnaires, controls reported significantly more anger in response to unfair offers than LTPs, although fairness judgments did not differ between groups. These data suggest that because the LTPs were less angered by unfair treatment of themselves, they punished that behavior less. However, when they witnessed the unfair treatment of others, they engaged in norm-reinforcing punishment. Finally, when participants played an additional game which included the opportunity to recompense victims, LTPs were more likely to do so. Together these data point to differential approaches to justice whereby LTPs engaged less in vengeful, retributive justice and focused more on norm reinforcement and the restoration of equity. These differences suggest that social preferences are plastic and that altruistic responses to unfairness may be shaped by the prolonged cultivation of prosocial motivation, altruism and
Full Text Available Introduction: Burnout, depression, and suicidality among residents of all specialties have become a critical focus of attention for the medical education community. Methods: As part of the 2017 Resident Wellness Consensus Summit in Las Vegas, Nevada, resident participants from 31 programs collaborated in the Educator Toolkit workgroup. Over a seven-month period leading up to the summit, this workgroup convened virtually in the Wellness Think Tank, an online resident community, to perform a literature review and draft curricular plans on three core wellness topics. These topics were second victim syndrome, mindfulness and meditation, and positive psychology. At the live summit event, the workgroup expanded to include residents outside the Wellness Think Tank to obtain a broader consensus of the evidence-based toolkits for these three topics. Results: Three educator toolkits were developed. The second victim syndrome toolkit has four modules, each with a pre-reading material and a leader (educator guide. In the mindfulness and meditation toolkit, there are three modules with a leader guide in addition to a longitudinal, guided meditation plan. The positive psychology toolkit has two modules, each with a leader guide and a PowerPoint slide set. These toolkits provide educators the necessary resources, reading materials, and lesson plans to implement didactic sessions in their residency curriculum. Conclusion: Residents from across the world collaborated and convened to reach a consensus on high-yield—and potentially high-impact—lesson plans that programs can use to promote and improve resident wellness. These lesson plans may stand alone or be incorporated into a larger wellness curriculum.
Chung, Arlene S; Smart, Jon; Zdradzinski, Michael; Roth, Sarah; Gende, Alecia; Conroy, Kylie; Battaglioli, Nicole
Burnout, depression, and suicidality among residents of all specialties have become a critical focus of attention for the medical education community. As part of the 2017 Resident Wellness Consensus Summit in Las Vegas, Nevada, resident participants from 31 programs collaborated in the Educator Toolkit workgroup. Over a seven-month period leading up to the summit, this workgroup convened virtually in the Wellness Think Tank, an online resident community, to perform a literature review and draft curricular plans on three core wellness topics. These topics were second victim syndrome, mindfulness and meditation, and positive psychology. At the live summit event, the workgroup expanded to include residents outside the Wellness Think Tank to obtain a broader consensus of the evidence-based toolkits for these three topics. Three educator toolkits were developed. The second victim syndrome toolkit has four modules, each with a pre-reading material and a leader (educator) guide. In the mindfulness and meditation toolkit, there are three modules with a leader guide in addition to a longitudinal, guided meditation plan. The positive psychology toolkit has two modules, each with a leader guide and a PowerPoint slide set. These toolkits provide educators the necessary resources, reading materials, and lesson plans to implement didactic sessions in their residency curriculum. Residents from across the world collaborated and convened to reach a consensus on high-yield-and potentially high-impact-lesson plans that programs can use to promote and improve resident wellness. These lesson plans may stand alone or be incorporated into a larger wellness curriculum.
score >45. Exclusion criteria: Service related trauma within last 3 months, history of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder , dementia, moderate or severe...7.7% 0.0% 8.3% 0.191 Bipolar disorder , % 7.7% 10.3% 13.9% 0.681 Substance use disorder , % 30.8% 43.6% 41.7% 0.458 Major depressive disorder ...Award Number: W81XWH-12-1-0576 TITLE: A Randomized, Controlled Trial of Meditation Compared to Exposure Therapy and Education Control on PTSD in
Park, Moon Soo; Moon, Joo Hyun; Kang, Chang Sun
Public participation is essential in each step of the nuclear-related decision-making process. Recently, the electronic systems using the Internet have become quite popular, and have emerged as a good medium for communicating with the public. In this study, a comprehensive utilization of electronic public participation was used to analyze public opinion on a given nuclear-related decision-making process. The degree of deliberation and meditation of the public participating in an electronic poll survey was evaluated, and the decision-making factors representing the personal characteristics of the poll respondents such as age, income, education, residence, degree of knowledge and concern were carefully incorporated when preparing the poll-survey questionnaire for its evaluation. Fuzzy analysis was used to assess and aggregate the responses to each decision-making factor. As a case study, this procedure was used to analyzing public opinion on the location of a low-level radioactive waste disposal facility on the campus of Seoul National University. The results show that there is a tendency of respondents who are on the negative side of the argument to be more deliberate and meditative in their decision-making process than those on the positive side. Knowledge and residence were found to be important decision-making factors
Mitchell, John T; McIntyre, Elizabeth M; English, Joseph S; Dennis, Michelle F; Beckham, Jean C; Kollins, Scott H
Mindfulness meditation training is garnering increasing empirical interest as an intervention for ADHD in adulthood, although no studies of mindfulness as a standalone treatment have included a sample composed entirely of adults with ADHD or a comparison group. The aim of this study was to assess the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary efficacy of mindfulness meditation for ADHD, executive functioning (EF), and emotion dysregulation symptoms in an adult ADHD sample. Adults with ADHD were stratified by ADHD medication status and otherwise randomized into an 8-week group-based mindfulness treatment ( n = 11) or waitlist group ( n = 9). Treatment feasibility and acceptability were positive. In addition, self-reported ADHD and EF symptoms (assessed in the laboratory and ecological momentary assessment), clinician ratings of ADHD and EF symptoms, and self-reported emotion dysregulation improved for the treatment group relative to the waitlist group over time with large effect sizes. Improvement was not observed for EF tasks. Findings support preliminary treatment efficacy, though require larger trials.
Park, Moon Soo [Department of Nuclear Engineering, Seoul National University, San 56-1 Shilim-dong, Gwanak-gu, Seoul 151-742 (Korea, Republic of)]. E-mail: email@example.com; Moon, Joo Hyun [Department of Nuclear Engineering, Seoul National University, San 56-1 Shilim-dong, Gwanak-gu, Seoul 151-742 (Korea, Republic of); Kang, Chang Sun [Department of Nuclear Engineering, Seoul National University, San 56-1 Shilim-dong, Gwanak-gu, Seoul 151-742 (Korea, Republic of)
Public participation is essential in each step of the nuclear-related decision-making process. Recently, the electronic systems using the Internet have become quite popular, and have emerged as a good medium for communicating with the public. In this study, a comprehensive utilization of electronic public participation was used to analyze public opinion on a given nuclear-related decision-making process. The degree of deliberation and meditation of the public participating in an electronic poll survey was evaluated, and the decision-making factors representing the personal characteristics of the poll respondents such as age, income, education, residence, degree of knowledge and concern were carefully incorporated when preparing the poll-survey questionnaire for its evaluation. Fuzzy analysis was used to assess and aggregate the responses to each decision-making factor. As a case study, this procedure was used to analyzing public opinion on the location of a low-level radioactive waste disposal facility on the campus of Seoul National University. The results show that there is a tendency of respondents who are on the negative side of the argument to be more deliberate and meditative in their decision-making process than those on the positive side. Knowledge and residence were found to be important decision-making factors.
Loizzo, Joseph J
Meditation research has begun to clarify the brain effects and mechanisms of contemplative practices while generating a range of typologies and explanatory models to guide further study. This comparative review explores a neglected area relevant to current research: the validity of a traditional central nervous system (CNS) model that coevolved with the practices most studied today and that provides the first comprehensive neural-based typology and mechanistic framework of contemplative practices. The subtle body model, popularly known as the chakra system from Indian yoga, was and is used as a map of CNS function in traditional Indian and Tibetan medicine, neuropsychiatry, and neuropsychology. The study presented here, based on the Nalanda tradition, shows that the subtle body model can be cross-referenced with modern CNS maps and challenges modern brain maps with its embodied network model of CNS function. It also challenges meditation research by: (1) presenting a more rigorous, neural-based typology of contemplative practices; (2) offering a more refined and complete network model of the mechanisms of contemplative practices; and (3) serving as an embodied, interoceptive neurofeedback aid that is more user friendly and complete than current teaching aids for clinical and practical applications of contemplative practice. © 2016 New York Academy of Sciences.
Full Text Available Introduction: Bullying is a form of low-level violence in the school environment that if unnoticed to become dangerous forms of violence occurs. The aim of this study was examining the relationship between anxiety, stress and depression and female adolescents' suicidal thoughts with the meditating role of the victim of bullying. Materials and Methods: This study is descriptive and has used the correlation method. For this purpose in the academic year 2016-2017, 300 students of high school girl students (seventh and eighth grade of public schools of Pakdasht city were selected by random cluster sampling method and they filled in the suicidal thoughts, anxiety, stress, depression and victim of bullying questionnaire. For data analysis, Pearson’s correlation method and structural equation modeling were used by using SPSS-19 and LISRELV8.80 software. Results: Pearson’s correlational results showed that there is a positive and meaningful relation between anxiety, stress, depression and victim of bullying with suicidal thoughts (P≤0.01. Also the victim of bullying variable has a meditating role in relation among research variable and all of the direct and indirect effects of anxiety, stress, depression and victim of bullying on suicidal thoughts are meaningful. Conclusion: The results indicate that anxiety, stress, depression along with victim of bullying in female adolescents cause suicidal thoughts therefore preventing and reducing the risk at schools is absolutely necessary.
Erbe, Ryan; Lohrmann, David
Stress poses one of the biggest threats to the health and well-being of young people. Adolescents are especially vulnerable to the negative effects of stress due to developmental factors. Recently, Mindfulness Meditation (MM) programs have been implemented into both clinical and school-based settings to reduce stress and promote the health of…
Sparrow, Gregory; Hurd, Ryan; Carlson, Ralph; Molina, Ana
An experimental home study examined the impact of a pre-sleep protocol for enhancing self-awareness, lucidity, and responsiveness in dreams. It included ingesting the cholinesterase inhibitor galantamine--which is widely reported to increase the frequency of lucid dreaming--prior to engaging in middle-of-the-night meditation and the imaginary reliving of a distressing dream while exercising new responses. Thirty-five participants completed an eight-night study, which included pre- and post-baseline nights and six conditions: waking for 40 min before returning to bed, called Wake-Back-to-Bed (WBTB); Wake-Back-to-Bed plus placebo (WBTB + P); Wake-Back-to-Bed plus galantamine (WBTB + G); meditation and dream reliving (MDR); meditation and dream reliving plus placebo (MDR + P); and meditation and dream reliving plus galantamine (MDR + G). The outcome measures included lucidity, reflectiveness, interactive behavior, role change, constructive action, and fear and threat, as measured by the participants' self-ratings. The results support the use of this protocol in further studies of lucid dream induction and nightmare/trauma resolution. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
de Bruin, Esther I.; Formsma, Anne R.; Frijstein, Gerard; Bögels, Susan M.
Work-related stress and associated illness and burnout is rising in western society, with now as much as almost a quarter of European and half of USA's employees estimated to be at the point of burnout. Mindfulness meditation, yoga, and physical exercise have all shown beneficial effects for
Tomasino, Barbara; Fabbro, Franco
Mindfulness meditation is a form of attention control training. The training exercises the ability to repeatedly focus attention. We addressed the activation changes related to an 8-weeks mindfulness-oriented focused attention meditation training on an initially naïve subject cohort. Before and after training participants underwent an fMRI experiment, thus, although not strictly a cross over design, they served as their internal own control. During fMRI they exercised focused attention on breathing and body scan as compared to resting. We found increased and decreased activation in different parts of the prefrontal cortex (PFC) by comparing pre- vs. post-mindfulness training (MT) during breathing and body scan meditation exercises that were compared against their own resting state. In the post-MT (vs. pre-MT) meditation increased activation in the right dorsolateral PFC and in the left caudate/anterior insula and decreased activation in the rostral PFC and right parietal area 3b. Thus a brief mindfulness training caused increased activation in areas involved in sustaining and monitoring the focus of attention (dorsolateral PFC), consistent with the aim of mindfulness that is exercising focused attention mechanisms, and in the left caudate/anterior insula involved in attention and corporeal awareness and decreased activation in areas part of the "default mode" network and is involved in mentalizing (rostral PFC), consistent with the ability trained by mindfulness of reducing spontaneous mind wandering. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Colbert, Robert D.
High school graduation rates nationally have declined in recent years, despite public and private efforts. The purpose of the current study was to determine whether practice of the Quiet Time/Transcendental Meditation® program at a medium-size urban school results in higher school graduation rates compared to students who do not receive training…
Full Text Available Hatha yoga techniques, including physical postures (asanas, breathing exercises (pranayama, and meditation, involve the practice of mindfulness. In turn, yoga meditation practices may induce the state of mindfulness, which, when evoked recurrently through repeated practice, may accrue into trait or dispositional mindfulness. Putatively, these changes may be mediated by experience-dependent neuroplastic changes. Though prior studies have identified differences in gray matter volume (GMV between long-term mindfulness practitioners and controls, no studies to date have reported on whether yoga meditation is associated with GMV differences. The present study investigated GMV differences between yoga meditation practitioners (YMP and a matched control group (CG. The YMP group exhibited greater GM volume in frontal, limbic, temporal, occipital, and cerebellar regions; whereas the CG had no greater regional greater GMV. In addition, the YMP group reported significantly fewer cognitive failures on the Cognitive Failures Questionnaire (CFQ, the magnitude of which was positively correlated with GMV in numerous regions identified in the primary analysis. Lastly, GMV was positively correlated with the duration of yoga practice. Results from this preliminary study suggest that hatha yoga practice may be associated with the promotion of neuroplastic changes in executive brain systems, which may confer therapeutic benefits that accrue with repeated practice.
de Bruin, E.I.; Formsma, A.R.; Frijstein, G.; Bögels, S.M.
Work-related stress and associated illness and burnout is rising in western society, with now as much as almost a quarter of European and half of USA’s employees estimated to be at the point of burnout. Mindfulness meditation, yoga, and physical exercise have all shown beneficial effects for
impulsivity.Following the meditation workshop,the rate of commission errors decreased, indicating decreased impulsivity, and the variation in RTs in the CPT task decreased, indicating improved sustained attention.Significant improvements were obtained in mindfulness,perceived-stress,rumination,depression,state-anxiety,and sleep-disturbances. Correlations were also obtained between reading improvement and increased mindfulness following the workshop.Thus, whereas mindfulness training did not affect specific types errors and did not improve dyslexia, it did affect the reading of adults with developmental dyslexia and ADHD, by helping them to stay on the straight path of the of the lexical route.
Tarrasch, Ricardo; Berman, Zohar; Friedmann, Naama
impulsivity. Following the meditation workshop, the rate of commission errors decreased, indicating decreased impulsivity, and the variation in RTs in the CPT task decreased, indicating improved sustained attention. Significant improvements were obtained in participants' mindfulness, perceived-stress, rumination, depression, state-anxiety, and sleep-disturbances. Correlations were also obtained between reading improvement and increased mindfulness following the workshop. Thus, whereas mindfulness training did not affect specific types of errors and did not improve dyslexia, it did affect the reading of adults with developmental dyslexia and ADHD, by helping them to stay on the straight path of the lexical route while reading. Thus, the reading improvement induced by mindfulness sheds light on the intricate relation between attention and reading. Mindfulness reduced impulsivity and improved sustained attention, and this, in turn, improved reading of adults with developmental dyslexia and ADHD, by helping them to read via the straight path of the lexical route.
Mitchell, John T.; Zylowska, Lidia; Kollins, Scott H.
Research examining nonpharmacological interventions for adults diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has expanded in recent years and provides patients with more treatment options. Mindfulness-based training is an example of an intervention that is gaining promising preliminary empirical support and is increasingly administered in clinical settings. The aim of this review is to provide a rationale for the application of mindfulness to individuals diagnosed with ADHD, describe the current state of the empirical basis for mindfulness training in ADHD, and summarize a treatment approach specific to adults diagnosed with ADHD: the Mindful Awareness Practices (MAPs) for ADHD Program. Two case study examples are provided to demonstrate relevant clinical issues for practitioners interested in this approach. Directions for future research, including mindfulness meditation as a standalone treatment and as a complementary approach to cognitive-behavioral therapy, are provided. PMID:25908900
Travis, F; Olson, T; Egenes, T; Gupta, H K
This study tested the prediction that reading Vedic Sanskrit texts, without knowledge of their meaning, produces a distinct physiological state. We measured EEG, breath rate, heart rate, and skin conductance during: (1) 15-min Transcendental Meditation (TM) practice; (2) 15-min reading verses of the Bhagavad Gita in Sanskrit; and (3) 15-min reading the same verses translated in German, Spanish, or French. The two reading conditions were randomly counterbalanced, and subjects filled out experience forms between each block to reduce carryover effects. Skin conductance levels significantly decreased during both reading Sanskrit and TM practice, and increased slightly during reading a modern language. Alpha power and coherence were significantly higher when reading Sanskrit and during TM practice, compared to reading modern languages. Similar physiological patterns when reading Sanskrit and during practice of the TM technique suggests that the state gained during TM practice may be integrated with active mental processes by reading Sanskrit.
Bongseok Joo, Ryan
One surprising and yet relatively unknown aspect of contemporary Korean Buddhism is the significant influence of American and European Buddhism. Between 1989 and 2009, South Koreans witnessed well-educated “blue-eyed” monastic residents via the Korean media, and the emergence of new bestsellers by authors like Thich Nhat Hahn and Jack Kornfield, written initially for Western audiences but since translated into Korean. The new teachings from the West have inspired a sudden growth of interest in vipassanā meditation as an “alternative” to Kanhwa Sŏn practice, and the emergence of a new academic field: Buddhist psychotherapy. This new wave of transnational influence from the West has changed not only the way Koreans practice Buddhism but also how they perceive Buddhist history and their own identities. In addition, the perceived “prestige” of Buddhism in the West has provided a new rhetorical strategy to defend Buddhism against other religions, particularly Korean evangelical Christianity.
Full Text Available The paper shows connection between the cultivation of attention in Buddhist meditation vipassanā and the phenomenological theory of affectivity. At first, it shortly describes the way how the praxis of meditation achieves progress of mindfulness. Then, this experience is interpreted from the point of view of Husserl’s theory of passive constitution. Finally, it describes mindfulness in terms of the boundary between activity and passivity of human being in the world.
Tarrasch, Ricardo; Berman, Zohar; Friedmann, Naama
impulsivity. Following the meditation workshop, the rate of commission errors decreased, indicating decreased impulsivity, and the variation in RTs in the CPT task decreased, indicating improved sustained attention. Significant improvements were obtained in participants’ mindfulness, perceived-stress, rumination, depression, state-anxiety, and sleep-disturbances. Correlations were also obtained between reading improvement and increased mindfulness following the workshop. Thus, whereas mindfulness training did not affect specific types of errors and did not improve dyslexia, it did affect the reading of adults with developmental dyslexia and ADHD, by helping them to stay on the straight path of the lexical route while reading. Thus, the reading improvement induced by mindfulness sheds light on the intricate relation between attention and reading. Mindfulness reduced impulsivity and improved sustained attention, and this, in turn, improved reading of adults with developmental dyslexia and ADHD, by helping them to read via the straight path of the lexical route. PMID:27242565
Innes, Kim E; Selfe, Terry Kit; Khalsa, Dharma Singh; Kandati, Sahiti
While effective therapies for preventing or slowing cognitive decline in at-risk populations remain elusive, evidence suggests mind-body interventions may hold promise. In this study, we assessed the effects of Kirtan Kriya meditation (KK) and music listening (ML) on cognitive outcomes in adults experiencing subjective cognitive decline (SCD), a strong predictor of Alzheimer's disease. Sixty participants with SCD were randomized to a KK or ML program and asked to practice 12 minutes/day for 3 months, then at their discretion for the ensuing 3 months. At baseline, 3 months, and 6 months we measured memory and cognitive functioning [Memory Functioning Questionnaire (MFQ), Trail-making Test (TMT-A/B), and Digit-Symbol Substitution Test (DSST)]. The 6-month study was completed by 53 participants (88%). Participants performed an average of 93% (91% KK, 94% ML) of sessions in the first 3 months, and 71% (68% KK, 74% ML) during the 3-month, practice-optional, follow-up period. Both groups showed marked and significant improvements at 3 months in memory and cognitive performance (MFQ, DSST, TMT-A/B; p's≤0.04). At 6 months, overall gains were maintained or improved (p's≤0.006), with effect sizes ranging from medium (DSST, ML group) to large (DSST, KK group; TMT-A/B, MFQ). Changes were unrelated to treatment expectancies and did not differ by age, gender, baseline cognition scores, or other factors. Findings of this preliminary randomized controlled trial suggest practice of meditation or ML can significantly enhance both subjective memory function and objective cognitive performance in adults with SCD, and may offer promise for improving outcomes in this population.
Bedford, Felice L
A new theory of mind-body interaction in healing is proposed based on considerations from the field of perception. It is suggested that the combined effect of visual imagery and mindful meditation on physical healing is simply another example of cross-modal adaptation in perception, much like adaptation to prism-displaced vision. It is argued that psychological interventions produce a conflict between the perceptual modalities of the immune system and vision (or touch), which leads to change in the immune system in order to realign the modalities. It is argued that mind-body interactions do not exist because of higher-order cognitive thoughts or beliefs influencing the body, but instead result from ordinary interactions between lower-level perceptual modalities that function to detect when sensory systems have made an error. The theory helps explain why certain illnesses may be more amenable to mind-body interaction, such as autoimmune conditions in which a sensory system (the immune system) has made an error. It also renders sensible erroneous changes, such as those brought about by "faith healers," as conflicts between modalities that are resolved in favor of the wrong modality. The present view provides one of very few psychological theories of how guided imagery and mindfulness meditation bring about positive physical change. Also discussed are issues of self versus non-self, pain, cancer, body schema, attention, consciousness, and, importantly, developing the concept that the immune system is a rightful perceptual modality. Recognizing mind-body healing as perceptual cross-modal adaptation implies that a century of cross-modal perception research is applicable to the immune system.
Full Text Available The most successful programming offered in juvenile justice facilities do not transfer easily back to communities to give youth the opportunity to practice intervention skills once they return home. Having this opportunity is particularly important to youth leaving state custody given that they disproportionately return to poor communities and disrupted families that both exacerbate behaviors associated with juvenile justice involvement and act as barriers to much needed services and support. With this in mind, a randomized controlled trial was used to quantitatively assess the ability of freely available Internet-based mindfulness meditation instruction to increase mindfulness in treatment youth, with weekly journals and open-ended post-test questions used to qualitatively explore the treatment experience. Findings suggest that an Internet delivery of mindfulness meditation is both engaging to incarcerated youth, helpful to them in coping with life in a juvenile justice facility, and able to increase mindfulness in youth who practice it.
Fang, Lei; Fang, Min; Guo, Min-Min
To reveal the force mechanism for therapeutic effect of pushing manipulation with one-finger meditation. A total of 15 participants were recruited in this study and assigned to an expert group, a skilled group and a novice group, with 5 participants in each group. Mechanical signals were collected from a biomechanical testing platform, and these data were further observed via similarity analysis and cluster analysis. Comparing the force waveforms of manipulation revealed that the manipulation forces were similar between the expert group and the skilled group (P>0.05). The mean value of vertical force was 9.8 N, and 95% CI rang from 6.37 to 14.70 N, but there were significant differences compared with the novice group (PPushing manipulation with one-finger meditation is a kind of light stimulation manipulation on the acupoint, and force characteristics of double waveforms continuously alternated during manual operation.
Chen, Fangfang; Lv, Xueyu; Fang, Jiliang; Yu, Shan; Sui, Jing; Fan, Lingzhong; Li, Tao; Hong, Yang; Wang, XiaoLing; Wang, Weidong; Jiang, Tianzi
Meditation has been increasingly evaluated as an important complementary therapeutic tool for the treatment of depression. The present study employed resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) to examine the effect of body-mind relaxation meditation induction (BMRMI) on the brain activity of depressed patients and to investigate possible mechanisms of action for this complex intervention. 21 major depressive disorder patients (MDDs) and 24 age and gender-matched healthy controls (HCs) received rs-fMRI scans at baseline and after listening to a selection of audio designed to induce body-mind relaxation meditation. The rs-fMRI data were analyzed using Matlab toolbox to obtain the amplitude of low-frequency fluctuations (ALFF) of the BOLD signal for the whole brain. A mixed-design repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) was performed on the whole brain to find which brain regions were affected by the BMRMI. An additional functional connectivity analysis was used to identify any atypical connection patterns after the BMRMI. After the BMRMI experience, both the MDDs and HCs showed decreased ALFF values in the bilateral frontal pole (BA10). Additionally, increased functional connectivity from the right dorsal medial prefrontal cortex (dmPFC) to the left dorsal lateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC) and the left lateral orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) was identified only in the MDDs after the BMRMI. In order to exclude the impact of other events on the participants׳ brain activity, the Hamilton Rating Scales for Depression (HDRS) was not measured after the body-mind relaxation induction. Our findings support the hypothesis that body-mind relaxation meditation induction may regulate the activities of the prefrontal cortex and thus may have the potential to help patients construct reappraisal strategies that can modulate the brain activity in multiple emotion-processing systems. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Gebauer, Jochen; Nehrlich, A.D.; Stahlberg, D.; Sedikides, Constantine; Hackenschmidt, D; Schick, D; Stegmaie, C A; Windfelder, C. C; Bruk, A; Mander, J V
Mind-body practices enjoy immense public and scientific interest. Yoga and meditation are highly popular. Purportedly, they foster well-being by “quieting the ego” or, more specifically, curtailing self-enhancement. However, this ego-quieting effect contradicts an apparent psychological universal, the self-centrality principle. According to this principle, practicing any skill renders it self-central, and self-centrality breeds self-enhancement. We examined those opposing predictions in the f...
Lomas, Tim; Cartwright, Tina; Edginton, Trudi; Ridge, Damien
Traditional masculinities can mean men are unable or unwilling to deal constructively with distress. However, researchers increasingly acknowledge that men and masculinities (including hegemonic styles) are diverse. Moreover, men can positively manage their well-being, although little research explores how they do so. Uniquely, our study sought to find men who report finding ways to care for themselves to examine narratives about how such self-care originated. We aimed to do this by exploring issues underpinning men's journeys towards meditation, focusing on implications for well-being. In-depth interviews were conducted in 2009 with 30 meditators, selected using principles of maximum variation sampling, and analysed with a modified 'constant comparison' approach. Men's journeys towards meditation were fraught with difficulties. Men described crossing a threshold from boyhood into 'manhood' where they encountered traditional forms of masculinity (e.g. stoicism), and most described subsequent strategies to disconnect from emotions. While men eventually found ways to engage more constructively with their emotions and well-being, this article explores the struggle and distress of their journeys.
Kim E Innes
Full Text Available Alzheimer's disease (AD is a chronic, progressive, brain disorder that affects at least 5.3 million Americans at an estimated cost of $148 billion, figures that are expected to rise steeply in coming years. Despite decades of research, there is still no cure for AD, and effective therapies for preventing or slowing progression of cognitive decline in at-risk populations remain elusive. While the etiology of AD remains uncertain, chronic stress, sleep deficits, and mood disturbance, conditions common in those with cognitive impairment, have been prospectively linked to the development and progression of both chronic illness and memory loss and are significant predictors of AD. Therapies such as meditation that specifically target these risk factors may thus hold promise for slowing and possibly preventing cognitive decline in those at risk. In this paper, we briefly review the existing evidence regarding the potential utility of meditation as a therapeutic intervention for those with and at risk for AD, discuss possible mechanisms underlying the observed benefits of meditation, and outline directions for future research.
Sendhilkumar, Ragupathy; Gupta, Anupam; Nagarathna, Raghuram; Taly, Arun B
To study the add-on effects of pranayama and meditation in rehabilitation of patients with Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS). This randomized control pilot study was conducted in neurological rehabilitation unit of university tertiary research hospital. Twenty-two GBS patients, who consented for the study and satisfied selection criteria, were randomly assigned to yoga and control groups. Ten patients in each group completed the study. The yoga group received 15 sessions in total over a period of 3 weeks (1 h/session), one session per day on 5 days per week that consisted of relaxation, Pranayama (breathing practices) and Guided meditation in addition to conventional rehabilitation therapeutics. The control group received usual rehabilitation care. All the patients were assessed using Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, Numeric pain rating scale, Hospital anxiety and Depression scale and Barthel index score. Mann-Whitney U test and Wilcoxon's signed rank test were used for statistical analysis. Quality of sleep improved significantly with reduction of PSQI score in the yoga group (p = 0.04). There was reduction of pain scores, anxiety and depression in both the groups without statistical significance between groups (pain p > 0.05, anxiety p > 0.05 and depression p > 0.05). Overall functional status improved in both groups without significant difference (p > 0.05). Significant improvement was observed in quality of sleep with yogic relaxation, pranayama, and meditation in GBS patients.
Lavretsky, H; Epel, E S; Siddarth, P; Nazarian, N; Cyr, N St; Khalsa, D S; Lin, J; Blackburn, E; Irwin, M R
This study examined the effects of brief daily yogic meditation on mental health, cognitive functioning, and immune cell telomerase activity in family dementia caregivers with mild depressive symptoms. Thirty-nine family dementia caregivers (mean age 60.3 years old (SD = 10.2)) were randomized to practicing Kirtan Kriya or listening to relaxation music for 12 min per day for 8 weeks. The severity of depressive symptoms, mental and cognitive functioning were assessed at baseline and follow-up. Telomerase activity in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PMBC) was examined in peripheral PBMC pre-intervention and post-intervention. The meditation group showed significantly lower levels of depressive symptoms and greater improvement in mental health and cognitive functioning compared with the relaxation group. In the meditation group, 65.2% showed 50% improvement on the Hamilton Depression Rating scale and 52% of the participants showed 50% improvement on the Mental Health Composite Summary score of the Short Form-36 scale compared with 31.2% and 19%, respectively, in the relaxation group (p dementia caregivers can lead to improved mental and cognitive functioning and lower levels of depressive symptoms. This improvement is accompanied by an increase in telomerase activity suggesting improvement in stress-induced cellular aging. These results need to be confirmed in a larger sample. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Barnes, Vernon A.; Orme-Johnson, David W.
The pathogenesis and progression of cardiovascular diseases are thought to be exacerbated by stress. Basic research indicates that the Transcendental Meditation® technique produces acute and longitudinal reductions in sympathetic tone and stress reactivity. In adolescents at risk for hypertension, the technique has been found to reduce resting and ambulatory blood pressure, left ventricular mass, cardiovascular reactivity, and to improve school behavior. Research on adults with mild or moderate essential hypertension has reported decreased blood pressure and reduced use of anti-hypertensive medication. The technique has also been reported to decrease symptoms of angina pectoris and carotid atherosclerosis, to reduce cardiovascular risk factors, including alcohol and tobacco use, to markedly reduce medical care utilization for cardiovascular diseases, and to significantly decrease cardiovascular and all-cause morbidity and mortality. These findings have important implications for inclusion of the Transcendental Meditation program in efforts to prevent and treat cardiovascular diseases and their clinical consequences. ®Transcendental Meditation and TM are trademarks registered in the US. Patent and Trademark Office, licensed to Maharishi Vedic Education Development Corporation and are used with permission. PMID:23204989
Barnes, Vernon A; Orme-Johnson, David W
The pathogenesis and progression of cardiovascular diseases are thought to be exacerbated by stress. Basic research indicates that the Transcendental Meditation(®) technique produces acute and longitudinal reductions in sympathetic tone and stress reactivity. In adolescents at risk for hypertension, the technique has been found to reduce resting and ambulatory blood pressure, left ventricular mass, cardiovascular reactivity, and to improve school behavior. Research on adults with mild or moderate essential hypertension has reported decreased blood pressure and reduced use of anti-hypertensive medication. The technique has also been reported to decrease symptoms of angina pectoris and carotid atherosclerosis, to reduce cardiovascular risk factors, including alcohol and tobacco use, to markedly reduce medical care utilization for cardiovascular diseases, and to significantly decrease cardiovascular and all-cause morbidity and mortality. These findings have important implications for inclusion of the Transcendental Meditation program in efforts to prevent and treat cardiovascular diseases and their clinical consequences.(®)Transcendental Meditation and TM are trademarks registered in the US. Patent and Trademark Office, licensed to Maharishi Vedic Education Development Corporation and are used with permission.
Berkovich-Ohana, Aviva; Harel, Michal; Hahamy, Avital; Arieli, Amos; Malach, Rafael
Recently we proposed that the information contained in spontaneously emerging (resting-state) fluctuations may reflect individually unique neuro-cognitive traits. One prediction of this conjecture, termed the "spontaneous trait reactivation" (STR) hypothesis, is that resting-state activity patterns could be diagnostic of unique personalities, talents and life-styles of individuals. Long-term meditators could provide a unique experimental group to test this hypothesis. Using fMRI we found that, during resting-state, the amplitude of spontaneous fluctuations in long-term mindfulness meditation (MM) practitioners was enhanced in the visual cortex and significantly reduced in the DMN compared to naïve controls. Importantly, during a visual recognition memory task, the MM group showed heightened visual cortex responsivity, concomitant with weaker negative responses in Default Mode Network (DMN) areas. This effect was also reflected in the behavioral performance, where MM practitioners performed significantly faster than the control group. Thus, our results uncover opposite changes in the visual and default mode systems in long-term meditators which are revealed during both rest and task. The results support the STR hypothesis and extend it to the domain of local changes in the magnitude of the spontaneous fluctuations. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Benson, H; Frankel, F H; Apfel, R; Daniels, M D; Schniewind, H E; Nemiah, J C; Sifneos, P E; Crassweller, K D; Greenwood, M M; Kotch, J B; Arns, P A; Rosner, B
We have investigated prospectively the efficacy of two nonpharmacologic relaxation techniques in the therapy of anxiety. A simple, meditational relaxation technique (MT) that elicits the changes of decreased sympathetic nervous system activity was compared to a self-hypnosis technique (HT) in which relaxation, with or without altered perceptions, was suggested. 32 patients with anxiety neurosis were divided into 2 groups on the basis of their responsivity to hypnosis: moderate-high and low responsivity. The MT or HT was then randomly assigned separately to each member of the two responsivity groups. Thus, 4 treatment groups were studied: moderate-high responsivity MT; low responsivity MT; moderate-high responsivity HT; and low responsivity HT. The low responsivity HT group, by definition largely incapable of achieving the altered perceptions essential to hypnosis, was designed as the control group. Patients were instructed to practice the assigned technique daily for 8 weeks. Change in anxiety was determined by three types of evaluation: psychiatric assessment; physiologic testing; and self-assessment. There was essentially no difference between the two techniques in therapeutic efficacy according to these evaluations. Psychiatric assessment revealed overall improvement in 34% of the patients and the self-rating assessment indicated improvement in 63% of the population. Patients who had moderate-high hypnotic responsivity, independent of the technique used, significantly improved on psychiatric assessment (p = 0.05) and decreased average systolic blood pressure from 126.1 to 122.5 mm Hg over the 8-week period (p = 0.048). The responsivity scores at the higher end of the hypnotic responsivity spectrum were proportionately correlated to greater decreases in systolic blood pressure (p = 0.075) and to improvement by psychiatric assessment (p = 0.003). There was, however, no consistent relation between hypnotic responsivity and the other assessments made, such as
Full Text Available The application of statistical models on a time series of data arising from the MEDITS International Trawl Survey, an experimental demersal resources survey carried out during six years (1994-1999 in the same season of the year (late spring - early summer using the same fishing gear in a large part of the Mediterranean, has allowed for a study to compare, for the first time, the space-time distribution, abundance, and size structure of the two Aristeids Aristaeomorpha foliacea and Aristeus antennatus throughout most of the Mediterranean Sea. This research has shown a large variability among the six reference areas, that were arbitrarily defined within the basin. In particular the two shrimps do not seem to present any correlation or yield continuity in the years. The same lack of homogeneity was also observed in the time trend of the abundances and frequencies of each of the two species. These data seem to confirm the intrinsic variability of the species, the cause of which is still unknown and undocumented. Nevertheless, a longitudinal gradient of catches has been observed where A. antennatus is more abundant in the west and A. foliacea in the east of the basin.
Sun, Jing; Buys, Nicholas
To evaluate the impact of a meditative singing program on the health outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The study used a prospective intervention design. The study took place in six Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and Community Controlled Health Services in Queensland, Australia. Study participants were 210 Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults aged 18 to 71 years, of which 108 were in a singing intervention group and 102 in a comparison group. A participative community-based community singing program involving weekly singing rehearsals was conducted over an 18-month period. Standardized measures in depression, resilience, sense of connectedness, social support, and singing related quality of life were used. The general linear model was used to compare differences pre- and postintervention on outcome variables, and structural equation modeling was used to examine the pathway of the intervention effect. Results revealed a significant reduction in the proportion of adults in the singing group classified as depressed and a concomitant significant increase in resilience levels, quality of life, sense of connectedness, and social support among this group. There were no significant changes for these variables in the comparison group. The participatory community singing approach linked to preventative health services was associated with improved health, resilience, sense of connectedness, social support, and mental health status among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults. © The Author(s) 2016.
Kearney, David J; McManus, Carolyn; Malte, Carol A; Martinez, Michelle E; Felleman, Benjamin; Simpson, Tracy L
Loving-kindness meditation (LKM) is a practice intended to enhance feelings of kindness and compassion for self and others. To assess whether participation in a 12-week course of LKM for veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is associated with improved positive emotions, decentering, and personal resources. In an open-pilot trial, veterans were assessed at baseline, after the course, and 3 months later. Effect sizes were calculated from baseline to each follow-up point for each construct of interest. Measures were chosen as an initial investigation of the broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions. A total of 42 veterans with active PTSD (40% female) participated. Emotions, decentering, psychological wellbeing including autonomy, environmental mastery, personal growth, positive relations, purpose in life, self-acceptance, and sense of social support were measured at each time point. Significant increases in unactivated pleasant (d=0.73), but not activated pleasant, emotions were found over time. Activated and unactivated unpleasant emotions decreased over time (d=-0.69 and -0.53, respectively). There were also increases in environmental mastery (d=0.61), personal growth (d=0.54), purpose in life (d=0.71), self-acceptance (d=0.68), and decentering (d=0.96) at 3-month follow-up. Overall, positive emotions increased, and enhancement of personal resources occurred over time. Further investigation of LKM for PTSD is warranted.
Travis, Frederick; Parim, Niyazi; Shrivastava, Amrita
This study compared subjective experiences and EEG patterns in 37 subjects when listening to live Vedic recitation and when practicing Transcendental Meditation (TM). Content analysis of experiences when listening to Vedic recitation yielded three higher-order code. Experiences during Vedic recitation were: (1) deeper than during TM practice; (2) experienced as an inner process; and (3) characterized by lively silence. EEG patterns support these higher-order codes. Theta2 and alpha1 frontal, parietal, and frontal-parietal coherence were significantly higher when listening to Vedic recitation, than during TM practice. Theta2 coherence is seen when attending to internal mental processes. Higher theta2 coherence supports subjects' descriptions that the Vedic recitations were "not external sounds but internal vibrations." Alpha1 coherence is reported during pure consciousness experiences during TM practice. Higher alpha1 coherence supports subjects' descriptions that they "experienced a depth of experience, rarely experienced even during deep TM practice." These data support the uti