July 27, 2007

Meditation and Physiology

person meditatingMeditation is the process of concentrating upon one's own self, fathoming deep down into the labyrinth of one's own consciousness. Scientists wanted to see whether meditation had any demonstrable effect on the physiology of the performer. They took eight long term Buddhist practitioners (monks), who used to practice regularly, for this purpose. They also took ten healthy volunteers, who did not practice it, in the study (as a control group, for comparison and for judging the statistical relevance of data.)

They recorded the electroencephalographic (EEG) activity of both the groups and analyzed them. They found higher (statistically significant) gamma band activity in the monks, while they were in the act. Their relative baseline gamma band activity (25-42 Hz) over low frequency activity (4-13Hz), was also better. Both relative gamma power and absolute gamma power were greater in them, than the controls. Not only that, long distance gamma synchrony in them was far greater.

Since it is known that gamma synchrony plays an important part in the formation of consciousness [1, 2], it can be only inferred that they stay more alert and attentive than the control population. Also, long distance gamma synchrony, being more well developed in them, it is only natural that the integration intensive functions like memory, intelligence, and other cognitive faculties are better developed. Its no mambo jumbo, the research has been thoroughly studied with established scientific methods and substantiated statistically. No wonder, that transcendental meditation helps patients of AIDS or hypertension.

Meditation can be beneficial to our mental, spiritual and overall physical help. It is a great de-stressor.

Ref:
Long-term meditators self-induce high-amplitude gamma synchrony during mental practice
Antoine Lutz, Lawrence L. Greischar, Nancy B. Rawlings, Matthieu Ricard, and Richard J. Davidson
doi: 10.1073/pnas.0407401101

[1]. http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.119.2469&rep=rep1&type=pdf

[2]. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10867-009-9148-x
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