It’s very interesting. Meditation has been around for thousands of years, but we’ve only recently developed the technology that makes it possible to study it. We are now finding what the monks and yogi’s knew all along — meditation works!
Neuroscientists have found that meditation affects the way our brain reacts — the way it is wired, so to speak. Dr. James Austin, author of “Zen and the Brain: Toward an Understanding of Meditation and Consciousness” states that meditation can sculpt the brain. He is a neurologist, and knows what he’s talking about!
He’s not the only one. There have been more than a thousand peer-reviewed research studies and articles published on this topic. Some of these are correlation studies, but we now have have the ability to go further with our research!
In one such study, Harvard Medical School researchers used MRI machines to monitor brain activity while experienced people meditated. They found that, while meditating, people have very interesting changes in their autonomic nervous system. This has to do with things like digestion, blood pressure, stress, and more.
That’s right — meditation affects both our mind and our body! Herbert Benson, M.D. has also collected data that shows that meditation has a physiological affect on our body. It can do so much more for us than allow us to be stress-free for a short time! It can have real implications on our health. It’s very worth it to start meditating, and the science backs that up.
Dr. Benson calls this effect the relaxation response. He recommends that in just minutes per day, you can reverse the harmful effects things like stress have on your body. Imagine: an easy way to lower your blood pressure, reduce anxiety, eliminate anger and hostile feelings, end insomnia, remedy PMS, reverse infertility, and get rid of headaches. You can do all of this with meditation. Once again, it’s backed up with science.
Richard Davidson has done further research. He is the director of the Laboratory for Affective Neuroscience at the University of Wisconsin. Jon Kabat-Zinn is also doing research. He is the founding director of the Stress Reduction Clinic and Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
They have a theory that those who are dealing with stress, anxiety, and depression have an overactive right frontal cortex and an under-active left frontal cortex. Those who are calm have more activity in the left frontal cortex. Their bodies release less cortisol and are able to “bounce back” faster from negative events in life.
The tested this by gathering information about participants’ brain waves. There were 25 people in the meditation group and 16 in the control group. They took a course and were given their tests. Those who were meditating had a shift in activity to the left side! Those who did not meditate, did not.
This is just the tip of the ice burg with the research that is coming out. The bottom line is that meditation can do amazing things for you! Find out more on how meditation can benefit you and those around you. http://www.9minute-meditation.com/