April 29, 2011
"It is fascinating to see the brain’s plasticity and that, by practicing meditation, we can play an active role in changing the brain and can increase our well-being and quality of life."
- The Harvard Gazette
Western culture was late twigging onto the benefits of meditation but once it did, science's reductionist eye became trained on the subject with some interesting results.
Here are three articles citing one particularly significant study:
A recent study, led by Massachusetts General Hospital researchers and senior author Sara Lazar, PhD, has documented structural changes in the brain of individuals who took part in an 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Program at the University of Massachusetts Center for Mindfulness. “This study demonstrates that changes in brain structure may underlie some of these [cognitive and psychological] improvements and that people are not just feeling better because they are spending time relaxing,” says Lazar.
~ "Benefits of Meditation in the Brain" from SuperConsciousness.com Read more...
The researchers report that those who meditated for about 30 minutes a day for eight weeks had measurable changes in gray-matter density in parts of the brain associated with memory, sense of self, empathy and stress....
M.R.I. brain scans taken before and after the participants’ meditation regimen found increased gray matter in the hippocampus, an area important for learning and memory. The images also showed a reduction of gray matter in the amygdala, a region connected to anxiety and stress. A control group that did not practice meditation showed no such changes.
“It is fascinating to see the brain’s plasticity and that, by practicing meditation, we can play an active role in changing the brain and can increase our well-being and quality of life,” says Britta Hölzel, first author of the paper and a research fellow at MGH and Giessen University in Germany. “Other studies in different patient populations have shown that meditation can make significant improvements in a variety of symptoms, and we are now investigating the underlying mechanisms in the brain that facilitate this change.”
And from an article published back in (I believe) the 1980s:
"One Gateway [Voyage] alumnus, the head of a Zen Buddhist Temple...believes that Gateway students can reach meditation states in a week that took him years of sitting." - The Wall Street Journal
“One Gateway [Voyage] alumnus, the head of a Zen Buddhist Temple…believes that Gateway students can reach meditation states in a week that took him years of sitting.”
yes but can they repeat it when the program is finished?
By ron knox on 2012 10 03
From the entry 'Meditation Can Change Brain Structure'.
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