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Re: Meditation alone can (and has)cure it....
 
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Re: Meditation alone can (and has)cure it....


Meditation changes the physical structure of the brain and repairs decades of damage from negative thinking.  People - including those who practice alternative medicine, refuse to accept this over and over again and continue to seek supplements including antipsychotics and herbal potions instead.

Thirty years of daily meditation has saved my life.

http://www.naturalnews.com/038002_meditation_brain_processing.html

Meditation changes the way your brain processes emotions

Saturday, November 17, 2012 by: J. D. Heyes

(NaturalNews) A new study has found that those who participate in an eight-week meditation training program can have measurable effects on how their brains function, even when they are not actively meditating.

Scientists and experts at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Boston University (BU), and several other research centers, writing in the November issue of Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, said they also found differences in effects based on the specific type of meditation participants were practicing.

"The two different types of meditation training our study participants completed yielded some differences in the response of the amygdala -- a part of the brain known for decades to be important for emotion -- to images with emotional content," said Gaelle Desbordes, PhD, a research fellow at the Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at MGH and at the BU Center for Computational Neuroscience and Neural Technology, corresponding author of the report. "This is the first time that meditation training has been shown to affect emotional processing in the brain outside of a meditative state."

Current study supports previous hypotheses

A number of previous studies have been supportive of a hypothesis in the scientific community that meditation training improves a practitioners' emotional regulation.

Neuroimaging studies have found that meditation training tends to decrease activation of the amygdala, the structure at the base of the brain known to have a role in processing memory and emotion. However, such changes were only seen among study participants who were actively meditating.

The current study, though, aimed to test the hypothesis that meditation training could also produce a generalized reduction in amygdala response to emotional stimuli, which can be measured by functional MRI - magnetic resonance imaging.

Participants previously enrolled in a larger study into the effects of two forms of meditation, based at Emory University in Atlanta.

"Healthy adults with no experience meditating participated in eight-week courses in either mindful attention meditation - the most commonly studied form that focuses on developing attention and awareness of breathing, thoughts and emotions - and compass meditation, a less-studied form that includes methods designed to develop loving kindness and compassion for oneself and for others," Science Daily reported.

A control group, meanwhile, took part in an eight-week course about health education.

Within three weeks of beginning the training and three weeks after completing it, 12 participants from each of the three groups traveled to Boston for fMCI imaging at a state-of-the-art facility. Brain scans were performed as the volunteers were shown a series of 216 different images, or 108 per session, of people in situations that depicted positive, negative or neutral emotional content.

The concept of meditation was not mentioned to participants during pre-imaging instructions. Afterward, researchers confirmed that participants had not meditated while they were in the scanner.

Participants also completed assessments of any symptoms of anxiety and depression before and after the training program.

Healthy minds from healthy meditation

The brain scans of those in the mindful attention group after training showed a decline in activation of the right amygdala in response to all images, which supports the hypothesis that meditation can improve emotional stability and response to stress.

In the compassion meditation group, right amygdala activity also fell off in response to positive or neutral images.

However, among those who reported practicing compassion meditation most often outside of the training sessions, right amygdala activity showed an increase in response to negative images, all of which depicted some form of human suffering.

Researchers reported no significant changes in the control group or in the left amygdala of any of the study's participants.

"We think these two forms of meditation cultivate different aspects of mind," Desbordes said. "Since compassion meditation is designed to enhance compassionate feelings, it makes sense that it could increase amygdala response to seeing people suffer."

Continuing, Desbordes added" "Increased amygdala activation was also correlated with decreased depression scores in the compassion meditation group, which suggests that having more compassion towards others may also be beneficial for oneself. Overall, these results are consistent with the overarching hypothesis that meditation may result in enduring, beneficial changes in brain function, especially in the area of emotional processing."

http://suite101.com/article/meditation-changes-the-brain-a80996

Meditation Changes the Brain

Neuroscientist Richard Davidson found that meditation has a profound and permanent impact on the brain, improving its capacities for awareness and happiness.

on Dec 4, 2008

While the positive physiological effects of meditation (such as reduced blood pressure, lower pulse rate and decreased metabolic rate) are already widely accepted by the scientific community, there has been relatively little research about the mental effects of meditation. This seems to change, however, as modern brain research seems to have the necessary scientific tools to show in an objective, scientific manner what meditators have always felt subjectively: That meditation is a tool for happiness and higher awareness.

The Study

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin have worked with Tibetan monks to translate the mental experience of meditation into the scientific language of brain waves, using EEG testing and brain scanning. The monks were asked to meditate on unconditional compassion, a Buddhist meditative practice which doesn’t require concentration on particular objects or images but rather cultivates a state of compassion in the mind. There was also a control group without any previous experience in meditation.

Findings

According to Richard Davidson, neuroscientist at the university’s Laboratory for Functional Brain Imaging and Behavior, the results demonstrate that the brain is capable of being trained and physically modified in hitherto unimagined ways.

The study also found that:

  • experienced meditators show high-frequency gamma waves associated with higher mental activity, perception and consciousness.
  • The mental practice of meditation has an effect on the brain the same way as learning physical activities such as golf or tennis do. That is: The mere mental activity of meditation leaves an imprint on the brain and these changes can be made visible through scientific methods.
  • The human brain remains moldable throughout life: new connections among brain nerve cells can constantly be grown.
  • Mental training can change the way our brains work.
  • These changes are likely to be permanent. The monks in the study showed higher than normal gamma wave activity even before they were meditating.
  • The monks in that study showed much more and unusually powerful gamma-waves than the control group consisting of volunteers without previous meditation experience.
  • The higher the meditation experience, the higher were the levels of gamma waves. Some experienced monks showed the most powerful gamma waves ever to be documented in a human being. In the control group without previous meditation experience, the increases in gamma waves were only slight.

A more recent study by Sara Lazar found that meditation even increases the size of the brain.

Happy through Meditation

Interestingly, the findings of this study were consistent with Davidson’s earlier work in which he showed the left prefrontal cortex to be associated with happiness and positive thought. In the present study, brain activity during meditation was highest in just this area of the brain. This seems to scientifically prove what meditators from different spiritual traditions have known and experienced for centuries: That meditation is a simple, yet powerful tool for achieving happiness.

 

 

 

 
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