Mediation alters brain structure and function

By Charlotte Summers

According to a new study, four weeks or 11 hours of meditation physically and functionally changes the human brain. Researchers at the University of Oregon have conducted an analysis of the results from two studies.

Integrative body–mind training (IBMT) is a form of Mindfulness. Developed by Dr. Yi-Yuan Tang from practices used in traditional Chinese Medicine, it is a technique that can be learned in a short period of time, one research study also conducted at the University of Oregon reported that five sessions of IBMT produced greater physical relaxation effects than previously used relaxation techniques.
In the current review, one study was based on results from 45 American students at the University of Oregon, brain scans were examined before and after a four week course in The other study was based on a two week IBMT training course with 68 students from Dalian University of Technology in China.

It was reported that IBMT produced specific psychological changes including reduced stress, anxiety, depression, anger and fatigue. Physiological and biological changes including decreased levels of stress hormone cortisol, altered blood flow and changes in breathing quality were recorded in response to IBMT. Critically for the purpose of the review, it was reported that IBMT changed the density of nerve fibres in the brain which improved brain signalling in the area of the brain known as the anterior cingulate cortex which is known to play a key role in behaviour regulation and is particularly associated with mental health problems including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), depression, schizophrenia and the pathology of dementia.

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