meditation and science

the ubiquitous technique for relieving stress and pain has remarkably little scientific evidence backing it, a group of scientists contend the concept of mindfulness involves focusing on your present situation and state of mind. many of the studies on mindfulness and meditation, the authors wrote, are poorly designed—compromised by inconsistent definitions of what mindfulness actually is, and often void of a control group to rule out the placebo effect. mindfulness meditation and training is now a $1.1-billion industry in the u.s. alone.

“the intention and scope of this review is welcome—it is looking to introduce rigor and balance into this emerging new field,” says willem kuyken, a professor of psychiatry at the university of oxford in england, who was not involved in research for the new report. in the west it was popularized in the 1970s by university of massachusetts professor jon kabat-zinn, a cognitive scientist who founded the university’s stress reduction clinic and the center for mindfulness in medicine. but it is the trickiness in bringing a rich spiritual concept into a standardized framework for testing and advising patients that he feels might be tough to tackle. his work has appeared in wired, npr and the atlantic.

the psychological and physiological effects of meditation have been studied. [53][52] reductions in rumination also have been found following mindfulness meditation practice, contributing to the development of positive thinking and emotional well-being. [68][69][70] a 2019 study tested the effects of meditation on the psychological well-being, work stress, and blood pressure of employees working in the united kingdom. phra taweepong inwongsakul and sampath kumar from the university of mysore have been studying the effects of this meditation on 120 students by measuring the associated increase of cortical thickness in the brain. the researchers noted that all other meditation studies that have observed skin temperature have recorded increases and none have recorded a decrease in skin temperature.

[106] in addition, both meditation and yoga have been found to have impacts on the brain, specifically the caudate. [121] herbert benson, founder of the mind-body medical institute, which is affiliated with harvard university and several boston hospitals, reports that meditation induces a host of biochemical and physical changes in the body collectively referred to as the “relaxation response”. this phenomenon can be explained by structural changes in the brain, namely, a loss of grey matter. [134][135][136][137][30][138] a recent study found that participants who engaged in a body-scan meditation for about 20 minutes self-reported higher levels of happiness and decrease in anxiety compared to participants who just rested during the 20-minute time span. [151] a 2017 commentary was similarly mixed,[6][7] with concerns including the particular characteristics of individuals who tend to participate in mindfulness and meditation research. the researchers found that the differences between the two meditation traditions were more pronounced than the differences between the two types of meditation.

researchers at massachusetts general hospital and harvard medical school are examining how mindfulness meditation may change the brain in some research suggests that practicing meditation may reduce blood pressure, symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety and depression, and insomnia. tuning into the world around you may provide a sense of well-being, an array of studies claim. multiple reports link mindfulness with improved, .

according to neuroscience research, mindfulness practices dampen activity in our amygdala and increase the connections between the amygdala and prefrontal cortex. both of these parts of the brain help us to be less reactive to stressors and to recover better from stress when we experience it. in recent years, studies of meditation have increasingly involved the use of modern instruments, such as fmri and eeg, which are able to observe brain scientific studies have demonstrated that mindfulness can help focus our thoughts. according to the university of california, berkeley’s greater according to neuroscience research, mindfulness practices dampen activity in our amygdala and increase the connections between the amygdala and, . 12 science-based benefits of meditationreduces stress. stress reduction is one of the most common reasons people try meditation. controls anxiety. promotes emotional health. enhances self-awareness. lengthens attention span. may reduce age-related memory loss. can generate kindness. may help fight addictions.

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