COMPLEMENTARY AND ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE * Long-lasting Effects of Meditation * by Jennifer Gibson, PharmD | December 27, 2012

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Meditation has longed been used to calm the mind and the body, but the long-term effects of such practices are difficult to evaluate.
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Recently, a team of investigators studied the effects of mindful meditation on emotional processing and reported that meditation may induce lasting effects in the emotional processes in the brain.
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For the study, 51 heathy adults aged 25 to 55 years, with no prior meditation experience, underwent mindful attention training (MAT), cognitively-based compassion training (CBCT), or participated in a health discussion group.
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MAT teaches meditative techniques for enhancing awareness of a person’s internal and external environments; CBCT is a program based on Buddhist practices of compassion meditation.
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The health discussion group served as the control group.Each group participated in its respective intervention for 2 hours per week for 8 weeks.
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The MAT and CBCT groups were also asked to meditate daily for 20 minutes at home.
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Before and after the study, the participants completed inventories of self-reported depression and anxiety.
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They also underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging scans while in a non-meditative state during which they were shown pictures of people and asked to identify the people as positive, negative, or neutral.
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After the training, the MAT group showed a significant decrease in right amygdala activation – the area of the brain responsible for emotional response – in response to the positive photos.
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The CBCT group also showed a decreased response to the positive images and an increased response to the negative images, but the differences were not significant.
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The CBCT group did experience a significant decrease in depression scores, however. The control group showed no changes.
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The authors of the study conclude that meditation training designed to enhance feelings of compassion led to a permanent increase in amygdala response to seeing other people suffer (i.e., the negative images.)
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4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Jullum Dhalgay on July 24, 2014 at 12:57 am

    Its amazing that such a small amount of time spent on the two techniques each week could deliver such effects. Some people may just call it the placebo effect but it is still the mind that was able to alter the body in some way. Love meditation.

  2. Neuroscience has dispelled placebo, functional MRI’s have proven the benefits of emotional regulation and activation of the pre frontal cortex housing our positive emotions. The nervous system has the parasympathetic , brakes applied and uses it as default for going through life.

    It is all proven now, scientifically, not magic but mind science

  3. Posted by Jullum Dhalgay on July 24, 2014 at 10:16 pm

    Thanks for the science lesson. x Ill take whatever brings about a positive change. Fascinating isn’t it.

  4. Oh yes, it would be considered a miracle the change, the power the potential.

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    Look at it this way, without the invent of functional MRI we would be back to where I started meditating. I could tell when something good was going to happen, a drop, but it was not explainable to anyone.

    Well yes I follow my breath and magical things happen.

    Well they do and it does have this power, now we know more and will know even more later..

    The ability to focus on the breath intent enough for it to empty and then the ability to stay there for short periods of time brings unbelievable growth and enormous benefits..

    Meditation when practice daily is accumulative and permanent my opinion of course

    And well I read all those books so I apologize for that one minute commercial on neuroscience

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