ArticleLiterature Review

Zen Meditation: An Integration of Current Evidence

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Abstract

Despite the growing interest in the neurobiological and clinical correlates of many meditative practices, in particular mindfulness meditations, no review has specifically focused on current evidence on electroencephalographic, neuroimaging, biological, and clinical evidence about an important traditional practice, Zen meditation. A literature search was conducted using MEDLINE, the ISI Web of Knowledge, the Cochrane collaboration database, and references of selected articles. Randomized controlled and cross-sectional studies with controls published in English prior to May 2008 were included. Electroencephalographic studies on Zen meditation found increased alpha and theta activity, generally related to relaxation, in many brain regions, including the frontal cortex. Theta activity in particular seemed to be related to the degree of experience, being greater in expert practitioners and advanced masters. Moreover, Zen meditation practice could protect from cognitive decline usually associated with age and enhance antioxidant activity. From a clinical point of view, Zen meditation was found to reduce stress and blood pressure, and be efficacious for a variety of conditions, as suggested by positive findings in therapists and musicians. To date, actual evidence about Zen meditation is scarce and highlights the necessity of further investigations. Comparison with further active treatments, explanation of possible mechanisms of action, and the limitations of current evidence are discussed.

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... Meditation has been studied for over seventy years, particularly regarding physiological parameters, psychological variables, and clinical conditions [1]. Previous studies have sought to discover how meditation affects people, in what situations meditation is suitable, and whether meditation is harmful. ...
... Previous studies have sought to discover how meditation affects people, in what situations meditation is suitable, and whether meditation is harmful. Regarding physiological parameters, electroencephalography (EEG), blood pressure and, lately brain imaging have been used to analyse the effects of meditation [1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10]. Some mechanisms of meditation seem to reach congruence at some way, such as EEG changes [1,11] but other physiology parameters remained unclear such as evoke potentials [11]. ...
... Regarding physiological parameters, electroencephalography (EEG), blood pressure and, lately brain imaging have been used to analyse the effects of meditation [1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10]. Some mechanisms of meditation seem to reach congruence at some way, such as EEG changes [1,11] but other physiology parameters remained unclear such as evoke potentials [11]. Cognitive tasks, stress reduction, quality of life, and emotion-related variables have been the most examined psychological aspects in studies on meditation, revealing that meditation decreases general psychological distress [12,13]. ...
... Therefore many terms associated with mindfulness and mindfulness-based practices have become loosely associated with overlapping, but significantly different, styles of practice (Chiesa & Malinowski; Kabat-Zinn). These different styles of meditation include concentration or single-pointed focus (i.e., on the breath), mindfulness of the changing nature of experience (i.e., insight meditation), and visualization of a particular goal or quality (i.e., loving-kindness meditation); with many practices falling somewhere between these three types (Chiesa, 2009;). ...
... During concentration meditation, practitioners are instructed to detach from interpersonal involvement and come to understand the object of focus unencumbered by any elaboration (Germer; Rapgay & Bystrisky). The terms commonly associated with this type of practice include mindfulness, attention, bare attention, sustained attention, focused attention, single pointed, one-pointedness, vigilance, concentration, concentrative meditation, absorption, Su-soku, Transcendental Meditation, controlled attention, and one-pointedness Brown et al. 2007b;Chiesa, 2009;Malinowski;Shapiro et al., 2006). ...
... 16). Terms commonly associated with awareness of the changing flow of experience include: mindfulness, insight meditation, mindful types of meditation, awareness, clear awareness, nonjudgmental awareness, attention, and Shikantaza Brown et al., 2007b;Chiesa, 2009;Malinowski;, Shapiro, 2009). ...
... The Su-soku meditation was used as the FAM, which enhances response inhibition processes (Malinowski, 2013). This type of meditation is suitable for naïve meditators since it requires no special training, and attention control is easy while performing it (Chiesa, 2009;Kubota et al., 2001). Additionally, it requires participants to pay attention to their breathing, by counting the number of breaths as a set of exhalations and inhalations (Chiesa, 2009). ...
... This type of meditation is suitable for naïve meditators since it requires no special training, and attention control is easy while performing it (Chiesa, 2009;Kubota et al., 2001). Additionally, it requires participants to pay attention to their breathing, by counting the number of breaths as a set of exhalations and inhalations (Chiesa, 2009). The participants were required to refocus their attention on the breath whenever thoughts arose and the attention wandered away from the breath. ...
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Objectives A single session of brief focused attention meditation (FAM) has a state effect, which temporarily enhances response inhibition processes. However, previous research has two unanswered questions: (i) How long does the state effect last? (ii) How does effort toward FAM relate to the resulting state effect? Method Thirty-nine healthy participants participated in two sessions: FAM and sham meditation (SHAM). The participants conducted each meditation for 10 min. The state effect on response inhibition processes was observed as Stroop task performance immediately before and after each meditation, and 20, 40, and 60 min after each meditation. In addition, the subjective effort toward meditation was evaluated using a questionnaire immediately after each meditation. Results An analysis of variance revealed a significant interaction between session and time. In the post-hoc analysis, FAM showed significantly better Stroop task performance than the SHAM 60 min after meditation. Furthermore, using correlational analysis, we found that at 60 min, the higher the subjective effort, the better Stroop task performance. Conclusions In contrast to previous findings, the state effect was not found immediately after FAM but instead 60 min after. The results can be partially explained by cognitive fatigue; that is, the FAM may have the state effect of preventing cognitive fatigue. This state effect is greater when the subjective effort is greater.
... Therefore, this study compares the effect of one-session FAM and that of a control intervention method on WMC. For the FAM intervention, Su-soku meditation (a traditional mindfulness meditation method) was selected (Chiesa, 2009;Lutz et al., 2008). In this method, practitioners must focus on their breathing, count their breathing cycles, and maintain their concentration on their breath to induce the topdown attention control (Chiesa, 2009;Dunn et al., 1999;Menezes et al., 2013;Park & Park, 2012). ...
... For the FAM intervention, Su-soku meditation (a traditional mindfulness meditation method) was selected (Chiesa, 2009;Lutz et al., 2008). In this method, practitioners must focus on their breathing, count their breathing cycles, and maintain their concentration on their breath to induce the topdown attention control (Chiesa, 2009;Dunn et al., 1999;Menezes et al., 2013;Park & Park, 2012). As this method does not require any specialized training (Hanh, 2016;Kubota et al., 2001), it is suitable for meditation-naive participants (Chiesa & Malinowski, 2011;Hanh, 2016). ...
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Introduction Previous studies have revealed that one-session focused attention meditation (FAM) can improve top-down attention control, which is one of the factors of working memory capacity (WMC). In addition, FAM shares various neural substrates, including the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), with WMC. Thus, we hypothesized that one-session FAM would improve WMC by activating the DLPFC evoked by the top-down attention control. In this study, we examined whether FAM modified WMC in individuals with little to no meditation experience. Methods The participants were randomly assigned to either the FAM group (N = 13) or the control group (N = 17) who engaged in random thinking (i.e., mind-wandering). Before and after each 15-min intervention, the participants’ WMC was measured according to the total number of correct answers in the Reading Span Test. During each intervention, functional near-infrared spectroscopy was employed to measure the blood flow in the participants’ DLPFC and determine the top-down attention control effect. Results In the FAM group, WMC increased, and the bilateral DLPFC was activated during the intervention. As for the control group, WMC decreased after the intervention, and the bilateral DLPFC was not activated during the intervention. A correlation was also found among all participants between the increase in WMC and the activation of the bilateral DLPFC. Conclusion The study findings suggest that top-down attention control during FAM can activate the bilateral DLPFC and increase WMC among meditation novices.
... MM supported by electroencephalography (EEG) showed short-term and potentially long-term brain state changes. EEG studies proved meditation contributes to a higher amplitude of slower waves such as alpha and theta activity, which can be connected with diminished anxiety and hence, relaxation [107,108]. Transcendental meditation (TM) can decrease muscle sympathetic nerve arousal [109]. Moreover, the physiological indices of stress were lower in individuals practicing TM [110]. ...
... Furthermore, electroencephalography (EEG) shows decreased alpha and theta activities in the frontal cortex while encountering pain. However, EEG studies proved converse effects such as meditation contributing to a higher amplitude of slower waves (alpha and theta), which is connected with relaxation [107,108]. ...
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This review elaborates on the aetiology, diagnosis, and treatment of temporomandibular (TMD) myofascial pain syndrome (MPS) regulated by psychosocial factors. MPS impairs functioning in society due to the accompanying pain. Directed and self-directed biopsychosocial profile modulation may be beneficial in the treatment of MPS. Moreover, nutrition is also a considerable part of musculoskeletal system health. A fruit and vegetable diet contributes to a reduction in chronic pain intensity because of its anti-inflammatory influence. Cannabidiol (CBD) oils may also be used in the treatment as they reduce stress and anxiety. A promising alternative treatment may be craniosacral therapy which uses gentle fascia palpation techniques to decrease sympathetic arousal by regulating body rhythms and release fascial restrictions between the cranium and sacrum. MPS is affected by the combined action of the limbic, autonomic, endocrine, somatic, nociceptive, and immune systems. Therefore, the treatment of MPS should be deliberated holistically as it is a complex disorder.
... In this context, mindfulness meditation is one important method that increases attention performance. Specially, some studies demonstrated that a specific type of mindfulness, Open Monitoring (OM) [12], increases posterior alpha power with a high frontal theta power [13,14]. Researchers also observed that experienced OM meditators showed an increase of occipital and frontoparietal gamma activity, due to an improvement of sensory awareness [15,16]. ...
... For that moment we had 24 trials of 30-second blocks. A fast Fourier transform method was used to obtain the mean power amplitudes in the beta (13)(14)(15)(16)(17)(18)(19)(20)(21)(22)(23)(24)(25)(26)(27)(28)(29)(30) band. ...
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Objective: The present study aimed at comparing frontal beta power between long-term (LTM) and first-time meditators (FTM), before, during and after a meditation session. We hypothesized that LTM would present lower beta power than FTM due to lower effort of attention and awareness. Methods: Twenty one participants were recruited, eleven of whom were long-term meditators. The subjects were asked to rest for 4 minutes before and after open monitoring (OM) meditation (40 minutes). Results: The two-way ANOVA revealed an interaction between the group and moment factors for the Fp1 (p<0.01), F7 (p = 0.01), F3 (p<0.01), Fz (p<0.01), F4 (p<0.01), F8 (p<0.01) electrodes. Conclusion: We found low power frontal beta activity for LTM during the task and this may be associated with the fact that OM is related to bottom-up pathways that are not present in FTM. Significance: We hypothesized that the frontal beta power pattern may be a biomarker for LTM. It may also be related to improving an attentive state and to the efficiency of cognitive functions, as well as to the long-term experience with meditation (i.e., life-time experience and frequency of practice).
... Electroencephalographic studies on meditation have demonstrated an overall electroencephalogram slowing (i.e., increased alpha and theta activity) [67,68]. Consequently, meditation that is associated with relaxation and reduced stress [68] may be helpful for players with difficulty switching off the mind when attempting sleep [69,70]. ...
... Electroencephalographic studies on meditation have demonstrated an overall electroencephalogram slowing (i.e., increased alpha and theta activity) [67,68]. Consequently, meditation that is associated with relaxation and reduced stress [68] may be helpful for players with difficulty switching off the mind when attempting sleep [69,70]. However, the applicability of meditation to elite soccer players is currently questionable and has yet to be shown. ...
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In elite soccer, players are frequently exposed to various situations and conditions that can interfere with sleep (e.g., playing night matches interspersed with 3 days; performing activities demanding high levels of concentration close to bedtime; use of products containing caffeine or alcohol in the period preceding bedtime; regular daytime napping throughout the week; variable wake-up times or bedtime), potentially leading to sleep deprivation. We outline simple, practical, and pharmaceutical-free sleep strategies that are coordinated to the constraints of elite soccer in order to promote sleep. Sleep deprivation is best alleviated by sleep extension; however, sleep hygiene strategies (i.e., consistent sleep pattern, appropriate napping, and active daytime behaviors) can be utilized to promote restorative sleep. Light has a profound impact on sleep, and sleep hygiene strategies that support the natural environmental light-dark cycle (i.e., red-light treatment prior to sleep, dawn-simulation therapy prior to waking) and prevent cycle disruption (i.e., filtering short wavelengths prior to sleep) may be beneficial to elite soccer players. Under conditions of inordinate stress, techniques such as brainwave entrainment and meditation are promising sleep-promoting strategies, but future studies are required to ascertain the applicability of these techniques to elite soccer players. Consuming high-electrolyte fluids such as milk, high-glycemic index carbohydrates, some forms of protein immediately prior to sleep, as well as tart cherry juice concentrate and tryptophan may promote rehydration, substrate stores replenishment, muscle-damage repair and/or restorative sleep. The influence of cold water immersion performed close to bedtime on subsequent sleep is still debated. Conversely, the potential detrimental effects of sleeping medication must be recognized. Sleep initiation is influenced by numerous factors, reinforcing the need for future research to identify such factors. Efficient and individualized sleep hygiene strategies may consequently be proposed.
... Evidence in historical accounts shows that practitioners of MM live a joyous life devoid of suffering (Analayo, 2003). This has prompted many clinical researchers to incorporate MM practices in innovative psychological interventions in the belief that these may prove to be also clinically effective (Chiesa, 2009). ...
Chapter
This chapter is an attempt to analyse the key factors of adoption of alternative business models by the handicraft artisans during COVID-19 pandemic. This paper is a part of doctoral study and is based on the part of primary research conducted by the scholar. The study primarily analyses the strength of the relationship of the factors. A structured questionnaire was employed to collect data for conducting the study. Descriptive statistics, correlation and multiple linear regressions have been used as statistical tools for analysis. The findings of the study demonstrate the linkage and effect of critical aspects on the performance of alternative business models, resulting in conclusions that leave room for future research. The novelty of this study is that it has made an initial attempt to identify the key factors of adoption of the alternative business model for the artisans. The study is limited to a specific field of the craft sector. The policy-makers will have substantial theoretical consequences for the development of the artisans regarding their alternative business model. It is important to improve artisan’s entrepreneurial skills and capabilities to strengthen them in the global market today.KeywordsAlternative businessHandicraft sectorArtisanCOVID-19Social media
... In the first week, whole body scan is being done including activities of routine and mindful eating habits. In second week, It helps the individual to know about himself and in the third week includes having united minded free from worries then in the next week person will recognise himself and in later weeks when the person is lettings the things to go exactly as it is happening followed by action of kindness and for seeing for the future [4] In today's scenario many mental health problems are prevailing e.g. anxiety disorders, stress disorders, psychotic disorder. ...
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Mindfulness meditation is paying attention to the current moment with openness, curiosity and with full acceptance. Mindfulness in every day experiences is best strengthened and supported by a regular meditation practice. This review aimed to identify the impact of Mindfulness meditation on the different sections of the society. A systematic search strategy was conducted with through online databases-Medline , PubMed, SCOPUS,Embase,Goggle Scholar, Cochrane library. The grey literatures from relevant websites were also searched. The keywords were indentified and used to search the literature published from 2007-2020 in English. More than 50 papers published related to this area were reviewed. It was found that people to deal with plenty of psychological problems related to stress, burnout, and fatigue. Mindfulness helps them in having more awareness regarding their inner as compare to their outer and that would captivate their performance in every aspect. Many studies shows evidence – based implementation plan contributes in the psychological well being of students .Conclusion: Mindfulness interventions found very useful for reducing the psychological distress. Further implications include the MBSR (mindfulness based stress reduction) potentially beneficial for oncology nursing intervention as they exposed to more stressful conditions.
... Either guided by one's own voice or external sources such as Buddhist sound bowls or the traditional Chinese zither Guqin, individuals are encouraged to get familiar with deep meditation, akin to traditional Zen-practices. Particularly in integrative psychiatry and psychosomatics, Zenmeditation (Chiesa, 2009) has been used used to alleviate depression, anxiety, pain and psychological stress (Marchand, 2012), as well as a path to self-discovery, one's unconscious included (Strick et al., 2012). ...
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With an overall pooled estimate of 7.2% attention, deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is considered a global psychopathological burden in the younger generation, and a prevalence of 6.4% makes it the leading mental issue in China. On the basis of comparative research and meta-synthetic construction, the present article suggests to differentiate between ADHD as a primary psychiatric disorder, ADHD-typical symptoms caused by disturbing environmental conditions, and multifaceted ADHD resembling syndromes generated by adverse developmental processes and inadequate educational facilities. This differentiation has a decisive impact on treatment modes such as (i) clinical music education, e.g. piano tuition, (ii) cultural participation and self-adjustment through arts-based cognitive behavioural therapy, (iii) avoidance of disturbing stimuli as well as music-based resilience techniques, and (iv) Chinese music therapy including sound-meditation, focused listening training, creative self-actualisation and music-based self-regulation. Interdisciplinary approaches combining music therapy and music education are discussed, alongside cross-cultural application and flexible settings, online music therapy included.
... shows that binaural beats combined can be used to enter states of meditation, this effect can be enhanced by combining it with certain music like Mozart (meta-music). A common factor in most meditation-EEG studies is an increase in alpha band (theta is observed very frequently in Zen Masters who have more meditation experience) (Chiesa, 2009 Aims: ...
Thesis
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Ancient megaliths across the globe have been a source of wonder and inspiration since their discoveries. How and why they were built remain a mystery but some of their functions, whether intentional or just a coincidental by-product, can be measured. Two sites in particular, the Hypogeum of Malta and the Great Pyramid of Egypt, exhibit anomalous acoustical properties. One perspective is the ritual use of such sites. If this was true, the acoustics would exhibit certain physiological and emotional responses in subjects (by measuring brainwaves, skin conductance and emotions). Convolution reverb has been used to replicate the acoustic features and the gathered data was compared to parallel responses taken from meditation studies. A meditative state of mind would be similar to the states achieved during such ceremonies, as they are in present day indigenous tribes. The data analysis revealed several interesting findings. Both instruments used (Tuvan throat singing and Didgeridoo) proved effective in exciting the resonances and reducing the dominant brainwave frequency of subjects. This effect was comparable to and replicated by specifically produced binaural beats. The findings on the 110 Hz "megalith frequency" remain inconclusive although it did enable marginal brainwave frequency relaxation. The triangulated approach to study provided multiple perspectives and was effective in determining how humans are physiologically and emotionally affected by sound in these timeless structures.
... These positive behavioural effects have called the attention of the neuroscience community and some efforts have been done to scrutinize the brain physiological mechanisms supporting such mental states [1,5,6]. During the zazen practice, alpha and theta electroencephalogram (EEG) electric activity was found modified in several brain structures such as the frontal cortex, somato-sensory cortex, anterior cingulate and parahippocampal regions as measured by electroencephalographic technics [7,8]. Since the meditation process is considered a special altered state of consciousness related to attention and awareness, it can be deduced that meditation practice could favor tasks related to attention. ...
Article
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Zazen is one of several meditation technics that pretends to reach calmness, reducing interference, and controlling awareness practiced by many people in the world. Zazen practitioners claim that a natural sense of wellbeing, spontaneous joy and self-fulfilling is achieved with its practice. Neuroscientific evidence shows that important modifications in the neuronal electric activity with compromise of several brain structures has been observed, especially those that are involved in modulation of attention. Our laboratory was interested to study the possible behavioural effects of a short time zazen practice to a group of secondary students of public or private high schools, with no previous training in any meditation technics. Two groups, 15-17 years old coursing the 4th or 5th year of their secondary study, one receiving zazen training ( n = 31), and the other one recreation activities ( n = 45) were selected. All subjects were tested with the Tower of London, Tower of Hanoi, Wisconsin Card Sorting and Stroop test to evaluate the cognitive abilities, at the beginning of the experiment ( t 0 ) and at the end of the experiment ( t 1 , about 3 months later). Results showed that in the Tower of London and Tower of Hanoi, zazen group displayed significant less movements to solve the task, compared to Control. No differences were found between both groups in solving the Wisconsin Card Sorting test, but in the Stroop test zazen group was superior to Control in making significant less mistakes during solving the task. Results are compatible with a positive effect of zazen training in behavioural abilities of attention and planning strategies in secondary students.
... This type of meditation fosters the ability to bring a non-judging awareness to a specific thing and strengthens our ability to notice our mind wandering (Goleman and Davidson, 2018). Importantly, mindfulness is a psychological process that can be developed through practice (Kabat-Zinn, 2003;Bishop et al., 2004), and several studies have shown that this specific training leads to improvements in psychological wellbeing and mental health (e.g., Bowen et al., 2006;Chiesa, 2009;Chiesa and Serretti, 2011; for a review see Keng et al., 2011). These positive effects have also been highlighted among children (for a review and meta-analyses see Klingbeil et al., 2017 andMaynard et al., 2017). ...
Article
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There is evidence for the positive impact of mindfulness in children. However, little is known about the techniques through which mindfulness practice results in differential outcomes. Therefore, this study intended to systematically review the available evidence about the efficacy of meditation techniques used by mindfulness-based programs on cognitive, socio-emotional, and academic skills of children from 6 to 12 years of age. The review was registered on the PROSPERO database, and the literature search was conducted according to PICO criteria and PRISMA guidelines. The EBSCO databases were searched, and 29 studies were eligible: nine randomized controlled trials and 20 quasi-experimental studies. All the included randomized controlled trials were rated as having a high risk of bias. Overall, the evidence for mindfulness techniques improving cognitive and socio-emotional skills was reasonably strong. Specifically, for cognitive skills, results showed that all the interventions used “body-centered meditations” and “mindful observations.” Regarding socio-emotional skills, although all the studies applied “body-centered meditations” and “mindful observations,” “affect-centered meditations” were also frequent. For academic skills, just one quasi-experimental trial found improvements, thus making it difficult to draw conclusions. Further research is crucial to evaluate the unique effects of different meditation techniques on the cognitive, social-emotional, and academic skills of children. Systematic Review Registration: Identifier: RD42019126767.
... Different electric currents, according to different breathing rate, are applied to the heating pad to produce different temperatures (i.e., a higher current is applied at a slower breathing rate). Electroencephalography (EEG) data of the user were also recorded to observe the degree of concentration during the breathing training [28,41]. The details of these components are described in the next few sections. ...
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Many studies have shown that slow breathing training is beneficial for human health. However, several factors might discourage beginners from continuing their training. For example, a long training period is generally required for benefit realization, and there is no real-time feedback to trainees to adjust their breathing control strategy. To raise the user’s interest in breathing exercise training, a virtual reality system with multimodal biofeedback is proposed in this work. In our system, a realistic human model of the trainee is provided in virtual reality (VR). At the same time, abdominal movements are sensed, and the breathing rate can be visualized. Being aware of the breathing rate, the trainee can regulate his or her breathing to achieve a slower breathing rate. An additional source of tactile feedback is combined with visual feedback to provide a more immersive experience for the trainees. Finally, the user’s satisfaction with the proposed system is reported through questionnaires. Most of the users find it enjoyable to use such a system for mediation training.
... Vipassana expert meditators had bilateral activation in the rostral anterior cingulate cortex and in the dorsal medial prefrontal cortex [30][31][32]. • Zen meditation is reported to lead to increased alpha and theta activity in many brain regions, including the frontal cortex, and decreases in the Default Mode Network [33][34][35]. • Network analysis of imaging data from 12 experienced Zen meditators and 12 controls during an attention to breathing protocol reported extensive connections of frontoparietal circuits with early visual and executive control areas [36]. ...
Article
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Three broad organizing strategies have been used to study meditation practices: (1) consider meditation practices as using similar processes and so combine neural images across a wide range of practices to identify the common underlying brain patterns of meditation practice, (2) consider meditation practices as unique and so investigate individual practices, or (3) consider meditation practices as fitting into larger categories and explore brain patterns within and between categories. The first organizing strategy combines meditation practices defined as deep concentration, attention to external and internal stimuli, and letting go of thoughts. Brain patterns of different procedures would all contribute to the final averages, which may not be representative of any practice. The second organizing strategy generates a multitude of brain patterns as each practice is studied individually. The rich detail of individual differences within each practice makes it difficult to identify reliable patterns between practices. The third organizing principle has been applied in three ways: (1) grouping meditations by their origin—Indian or Buddhist practices, (2) grouping meditations by the procedures of each practice, or (3) grouping meditations by brain wave frequencies reported during each practice. Grouping meditations by their origin mixes practices whose procedures include concentration, mindfulness, or effortless awareness, again resulting in a confounded pattern. Grouping meditations by their described procedures yields defining neural imaging patterns within each category, and clear differences between categories. Grouping meditations by the EEG frequencies associated with their procedures yields an objective system to group meditations and allows practices to “move” into different categories as subjects’ meditation experiences change over time, which would be associated with different brain patterns. Exploring meditations within theoretically meaningful categories appears to yield the most reliable picture of meditation practices.
... Thereafter, the theta to alpha ratio was computed for each channel. Theta and alpha power are often used when it comes to evaluating the success of meditation (Chiesa, 2009). The ratio between the two power bands was examined as theta power was shown to decrease and alpha power to increase during meditation focused on breathing (Park & Park, 2012). ...
Book
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Up till now, there has been an unresolved discussion in the literature regarding the validity of non-invasive neurophysiological measures in learning. On the one hand studies have shown promise for these measures in learning (Krigolson et al., 2015; Lai et al., 2013; Leff et al., 2011), while on the other hand there has been caution for the use of such measures (Ansari et al., 2011; Brouwer et al., 2014; Cowley, 2015; Dahlstrom-Hakki et al., 2019). This dissertation was aimed to address this discussion. To this aim, this dissertation focused on experimentally examining non-invasive neurophysiological changes during learning and factors that influence these changes. Additionally, this dissertation focused on providing insight into how to move towards applying these measures validly and effectively in a wide range of settings, not only in the laboratory but also in real-world contexts. Considering all of these findings together, it becomes clear that understanding the assessment of learning through neurophysiology requires an understanding of the interplay between learning, neurophysiology, behavior, individual differences, and task-related aspects. Comprehending this complex interaction is key to resolving the discussion regarding the validity of non-invasive neurophysiological measures in learning. As the reported findings demonstrate non-invasive neurophysiology to be able to provide insight into learning, the discussion should not be focussed on whether neurophysiological measures are able to assess learning, but on how to obtain valid assessments across different learning tasks and across different trainees.Although it is clear that further development and research are needed for largescale application of neurophysiology in learning and training, the potential of neurophysiology is expected to increase as the field advances (see Chapter 8 for a more in-depth discussion). Industry could benefit from being involved in future endeavors to move the field forward. Vice versa, development and research can move forward in promising directions when taking into account the needs and experiences from the industry. The embedding of the work presented in this dissertation within the CAMPIONE project highlights how fundamental research can provide valuable contributions to application. Even though fundamental research may sometimes seem to be far removed from application, understanding the fundamentals will ultimately lead to the most valid and reliable application. I am looking forward to seeing future research contribute to our knowledge about assessment of learning through non-invasive neurophysiological measures and to seeing application of neurophysiology in training and education advance. This dissertation has paved the way and I hope many scholars and other professionals will follow up on the presented work.
... The strength of this explanation is enhanced when we take note that a relaxed state of mind is more easily accomplished when, as in the present study, subjects are asked to keep their eyes closed. In addition, focusing on one's own body is an important part of mindfulness therapy [106] and the presented outcomes, showing enhanced alpha power over the anterior and posterior cortices when focusing on one's own body, are consistent with the evidence on augmented alpha activity in the frontal and/or parieto-temporo-occipital cortex during various meditation states [107][108][109][110][111][112]. ...
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Objectives The study aimed at determining the EEG correlates of concentration on either low or high-distressed tinnitus. Methods Sixty-seven patients (36 women, mean age = 50.34 ± 12.94 years) with chronic tinnitus were assigned to either a high (HD) or low (LD) tinnitus-related distress group based on THI results. All participants took part in the EEG study comprising two 3–4 min blocks of focusing on either tinnitus (Tinnitus Focus Condition, TFC) or the sensations from one’s own body (Body Focus Condition, BFC). The absolute power and current density of 8 frequency bands in 7 clusters were compared between conditions and groups. Results The most pronounced differences were found in the HD patients in the TFC, relative to the BFC, i.e. reduced power of frontally distributed low alpha (8–10 Hz) and posterior high alpha (10–12 Hz) as well as lower current density of 8–10 Hz rhythm over the right frontal/anterior cingulate cortex and higher middle beta (15–18 Hz) density in the precuneus. The HD, relative to LD patients, in both conditions, exhibited increased low beta (12–15 Hz) power over the left middle area and greater higher beta (15–25 Hz) power in the left posterior region. Conclusions The present study contrasted bioelectrical activity, acquired when concentrating on tinnitus with EEG data collected whilst patients focused on their body. Decreased alpha power and current density in the frontal/cingulate cortex when listening to bothersome tinnitus might reflect greater cortical arousal whereas increased beta power and density in the precuneus/posterior cingulate activity in this condition could be indicative for elevated tension or augmented cognitive/emotional processing of tinnitus sound. Enhanced beta rhythm in patients with high versus low tinnitus distress, observed independently of the study condition, may be due to greater self-focused attention or more active processing of sensations derived from the own body.
... Through the use of a brain measuring instrument called the electroencephalographic (EEG), studies on Zen meditation have found to influence many brain regions, and are able to increase certain brain waves such as alpha and theta, these are associated with relaxation (Chiesa, 2009). In the article Applied Research Using Alpha/Theta Training for Enhancing Creativity and Well-Being by Boynton (2001), a study was used to investigate EEG biofeedback of intentional hypnagogia to enhance creativity and wellbeing. ...
Technical Report
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Communities contain valuable expertise and resources, that when used properly can support community development. However, communities risk losing valuable opportunities due to collaborative barriers. One of the reasons is due to weak links between dispersed expertise and resources within a community. Another is that community members do not have sufficient time, energy, or reward to foster multidisciplinary projects, and already have substantial workloads to consider. Further, the additional workloads would come at the reduction of personal time, and failure, at the risk to their professional standing. Too much burden has been placed on community members alone to act on interdisciplinary opportunities, resulting in unactualized opportunities, and unaccountable losses to community development. The position of community coordinator (CC) aims to address these barriers to opportunities for community development. The CC relieves the burden of the community members by specializing in the process of joining dispersed expertise and resources of communities, through identifying and supporting the development and actualization of projects by multiple parties to reach both their party's individual goals and concurrently, an overarching mutually beneficial goal held by all parties. This research aimed to support the development of the CC theory. To do this, the CC position has been explored through action research and reflective practices and resulted in the development of meta-models to describe the CC position, and thoughts on CC competencies, tasks, tactics, and strategies. The meta-models that were developed are as follows: The Core Principles of a CC, The Realms and Dimensions of a CC, The Relationship and Alliance Hierarchy, Bridging the Community Gap, The CC Visibility Field, The CC Journey, Seeking a Contact, The CC and the Collaboration Life Cycle, and A Path Towards Strategic Alignment. The top competencies of a CC were found to be human-relationship, organizational, research, analysis, problem-solving, and creative thinking skills. This research contributes to the emerging body of CC literature, the advancement of the CC position, and by supporting the development of the CC theory. Due to the subjective nature of the research approach, it is suggested that further qualitative and quantitative research be conducted to validate these research findings, identify gaps, improve the current CC models, and develop new CC models. Additionally, multidisciplinary teams of experienced CC's should work together to identify and improve the CC's working methods and develop a practical training guide.
... A review on Zen meditation found increased alpha and theta activities in many brain regions, including the frontal cortex, and was found to be relaxing with reduced stress and blood pressure. [35] Alpha power significantly increased across all regions after SKY. ...
Article
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Context: Respiration is known to modulate neuronal oscillations in the brain and is measured by electroencephalogram (EEG). Sudarshan Kriya Yoga (SKY) is a popular breathing process and is established for its significant effects on the various aspects of physiology and psychology. Aims: This study aimed to observe neuronal oscillations in multifrequency bands and interhemispheric synchronization following SKY. Settings and design: This study employed before- and after-study design. Subjects and methods: Forty healthy volunteers (average age 25.45 ± 5.75, 23 males and 17 females) participated in the study. Nineteen-channel EEG was recorded and analyzed for 5 min each: before and after SKY. Spectral power for delta, theta, alpha, beta, and gamma frequency band was calculated using Multi-taper Fast Fourier Transform (Chronux toolbox). The Asymmetry Index was calculated by subtracting the natural log of powers of left (L) hemisphere from the right® to show interhemispheric synchronization. Statistical analysis: Paired t-test was used for statistical analysis. Results: Spectral power increased significantly in all frequency bands bilaterally in frontal, central, parietal, temporal, and occipital regions of the brain after long SKY. Electrical activity shifted from lower to higher frequency range with a significant rise in the gamma and beta powers following SKY. Asymmetry Index values tended toward 0 following SKY. Conclusions: A single session of SKY generates global brain rhythm dominantly with high-frequency cerebral activation and initiates appropriate interhemispheric synchronization in brain rhythms as state effects. This suggests that SKY leads to better attention, memory, and emotional and autonomic control along with enhanced cognitive functions, which finally improves physical and mental well-being.
... This change in state often necessitates switching from beta activity to alpha activity and subsequently to theta activity. However, EEG effects of mindfulness meditation have shown mixed results, sometimes showing increases, decreases, or even no differences across all bandwidths when compared to resting state and task state studies [4][5][6][7][17][18][19]. ...
... Thereafter, the theta to alpha ratio was computed for each channel. Theta and alpha power are often used when it comes to evaluating the success of meditation (Chiesa 2009). The ratio Fig. 2 Diagram of the study design. ...
Article
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The current study examined the effectiveness of respiratory biofeedback in lowering subjective and objective arousal after stress. Participants were presented with a meditation session in virtual reality while subjective and objective arousal were measured, the latter measured through ECG and EEG. Three conditions were used: (a) a respiratory biofeedback condition, in which visual feedback was paired to breathing; (b) a control feedback placebo condition, in which visual feedback was not paired to breathing; and (c) a control no-feedback condition, in which no visual feedback was used. Subjective and objective arousal decreased during meditation after stress in all conditions, demonstrating recovery after stress during meditation in virtual reality. However, the reduction in arousal (on all outcome measures combined and heart rate specifically) was largest in the control feedback placebo condition, in which no biofeedback was used, indicating that respiratory biofeedback had no additional value in reducing arousal. The findings of the current study highlight the importance of including a control feedback placebo condition in order to establish the exact additional value of biofeedback and offer insights in applying cost-effective virtual reality meditation training.
... MBIs have received increased interest in the field of health care education due to a growing body of research documenting enhanced psychological functioning following mindfulness training, both in clinical and non-clinical populations [2,3,[25][26][27]]. Yet, we lack long-term prospective studies on possible mechanisms and factors that promote healthy effects. ...
Article
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Longitudinal research investigating the enduring impact of mindfulness training is scarce. This study investigates the six-year effects of a seven-week mindfulness-based course, by studying intervention effects in the trajectory of dispositional mindfulness and coping skills, and the association between those change trajectories and subjective well-being at six-year follow-up. 288 Norwegian medical and psychology students participated in a randomized controlled trial. 144 received a 15-hour mindfulness course over seven weeks in the second or third semester with booster sessions twice yearly, while the rest continued their normal study curricula. Outcomes were subjective well-being, and dispositional mindfulness and coping assessed using the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire and the Ways of Coping Checklist. Analyses were performed for the intention-to-treat sample, using latent growth curve models. At six-year follow-up, students receiving mindfulness training reported increased well-being. Furthermore, they reported greater increases in the trajectory of dispositional mindfulness and problem-focused coping along with greater decreases in the trajectory of avoidance-focused coping. Increases in problem-focused coping predicted increases in well-being. These effects were found despite relatively low levels of adherence to formal mindfulness practice. The findings demonstrate the viability of mindfulness training in the promotion of well-being and adaptive coping, which could contribute to the quality of care given, and to the resilience and persistence of health care professionals. Trial registration: Clinicaltrials.gov NCT00892138
... [44] Electroencephalographic studies on (insight) Zen meditation found increased alpha and theta activity in the frontal cortex, generally related to relaxation. [45] Theta activity, in particular, is a marker of deeper relaxation and is directly related to the degree of experience, being greater in more senior practitioners. EEG pattern changes in response to neuromodulatory approaches such as meditation which indicates pain modulation at cortical level. ...
Article
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Background of Hypothesis Myofascial pain syndrome (MPS) is the most common musculoskeletal pain disorder of the head and neck area. In the past, several theories were put forth to explain its origin and nature, but none proved complete. Myofascial pain responds to changing psychological states and stress, anxiety, lack of sleep, anger, depression and chronic pain are direct contributional factors. Myofascial pain syndrome may be considered as a psychosomatic disorder. There are numerous accepted palliative approaches, but of all, relaxation techniques stand out and initiate healing at the base level. In this article, the connection between mental factors, MPS and meditation are highlighted. Recent literature has shed light on the fundamental role of free radicals in the emergence of myofascial pain. The accumulating free radicals disrupt mitochondrial integrity and function, leading to sustenance and progression of MPS. Meditation on the other hand was shown to reduce free radical load and can result in clinical improvement. ‘Mindfulness’ is the working principle behind the effect of all meditations, and I emphasize that it can serve as a potential tool to reverse the neuro-architectural, neurobiological and cellular changes that occur in MPS. Conclusions The findings described in this paper were drawn from studies on myofascial pain, fibromyalgia, similar chronic pain models and most importantly from self experience (experimentation). Till date, no hypothesis is available connecting MPS and meditation. Mechanisms linking MPS and meditation were identified, and this paper can ignite novel research in this direction.
... Therefore, we chose breath-counting meditation (BCM) and deep breathing (DB) among non-paced and self-controlled breathing techniques. BCM is a type of Zen meditation called Su-soku; it is performed by concentrating mentally on breathing while counting each breath [13]. On the other hand, in DB, participants concentrate physically on breathing while participants consciously maximize inspiration and expiration [14]. ...
Article
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Objectives: This study aimed to evaluate the effects of breath-counting meditation (BCM) and deep breathing (DB) on heart rate variability (HRV). These breathing techniques have the characteristics of non-paced and self-controlled breathings, resulting in less increase of HRV. We also compared BCM and DB with usual breathing (UB) or relaxing breathing (RB) which can reveal the characteristics of those. Methods: 83 healthy volunteers sitting in chairs performed non-paced breathing; UB, RB, BCM, and DB each for 5 minutes. One minute of relaxation was permitted between breathings. Participants surfed the internet sitting in front of a computer during UB, while for RB, they remained steady with eyes closed. For BCM, they breathed inwardly counting from 1 to 10 repetitively, while they took a deep breath during DB. Physiological indices were simultaneously recorded with a biofeedback system. Results: Respiration rate, thoracic amplitude, and mean heart rate decreased in RB compared with UB, but there was no change in HRV. Respiration rate in BCM and DB was lower than that in UB or RB, and the amplitude of thorax or abdomen, and HRV all increased (p<0.05). However, mean heart rate and skin conductance decreased in BCM compared with UB (p<0.05), whereas those were no different between DB and UB. Conclusion: BCM, just concentrating mentally on breathing with counting each breath, can increase HRV with less sympathetic activation, while DB, actively moving thorax and abdomen for achieving the deepest respiration rate, can greatly raise HRV with the maintenance of mean vagal or sympathetic tone.
... Although numerous studies have addressed the nonspecific benefits of clinician-patient interaction, ie, placebo, few studies have evaluated the interpersonal physiologic effects of meditation. [51][52][53][54] The data from this small study suggest that in addition to inducing a state of relaxed alertness in the practitioner, 10,11,[55][56][57][58][59] meditation can also affect someone else, even if that other person is unaware that the practitioner is meditating, shifting parasympathetic balance toward greater parasympathetic activity, accompanied by a greater sense of well-being. The observed impact was generally greater for tactile than nontactile interventions. ...
... It is possible to some interesting studies of qEEG analysis in relation to motor tasks. Some of them analyze the behavior of the motor cortex relative to the fingers dexterity (Calmels C. and colleagues, 2009), others analyze the cortical electrical changes induced by Zen meditation (Chiesa A., 2009). ...
Book
Electroencephalography, commonly called 'EEG', estimates through the application of electrodes, the electrical activity of the brain (which is the sum of the electrical activity of each neuron). In recent years, with the goal of making more reliable the EEG, many researchers have turned their interest in the development of tools, methods and software. This thesis describes some best procedures for the experimental design, data visualization and descriptive or inferential statistical analysis. The application of statistical models to single or multiple subjects study-design are also described, including parametric and non-parametric approaches. Methods for processing multivariate data (PCA, ICA, clustering) were described. Re-sampling methods (bootstrap) using many randomly software-generated samples were also described. The aim of this work is to provide, with statistical concepts and examples, information on the qualitative and quantitative approaches related to the electroencephalographic signals. The work consists into three parts: INTRODUTION TO ELECTROENCEPHALOGRAPHY (GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS); DATA MINING AND STATISTICAL ANALYSIS; EXPERIMENTAL STUDY DESIGNS. The six works included in the section called “EXPERIMENTAL STUDY DESIGNS” analyze EEG alterations in the protocols: Electrocortical activity in dancers and non-dancers listening to different music genre and during imaginative dance motor activity; Electrocortical activity during monosynaptic reflex in athletes; Monitoring of electrocortical activity for evaluation of seasickness; Electrocortical activity in different body positions; Electrocortical activity in athletes and non-athletes during body balance tasks; Electrocortical responses in volunteers with and without specific experience watching movies including the execution of complex motor gestures.
... The advent of non-invasive technologies such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has allowed for investigation of brain activity associated with human cognition in real time. Many studies have used such neuroimaging techniques to investigate brain activity during meditation, and while much has been learned and some consistencies are emerging (Chiesa and Serretti 2010;Chiesa 2009Chiesa , 2010Fell et al. 2010;Green and Turner 2010;Rubia 2009), theoretical and methodological limitations have often made results difficult to interpret. For example, the theoretical assumption that meditation is a single mental state that is achieved and maintained has supported a methodological approach of averaging brain activity over a block of time spent "in meditation" (often several minutes) and interpreting the static picture that results as a representation of brain activity during meditation. ...
Chapter
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This chapter describes a line of research that seeks to incorporate first-person subjective input into the analysis of meditation-related brain activity and connectivity, as a way to better define and understand everyday mental functions. I present a basic model of naturalistic cognitive fluctuations between mind wandering and attentional states derived from the practice of focused attention meditation. This model proposes four phases in a cognitive cycle: mind wandering, awareness of mind wandering, shifting of attention, and sustained attention. We developed a paradigm to leverage the common experience of awareness of mind wandering during this style of meditation, using subjective reports to drive the analysis of brain imaging data. Results revealed activity in specific brain networks associated with each cognitive phase. Further, participants with more meditation experience exhibited altered patterns of neural activity and resting state functional connectivity compared to participants with less experience. These neural patterns may be involved in the development of cognitive skills such as maintaining attention and disengaging from distraction that are often reported with meditation practice, and suggest mechanisms for how benefits may transfer “off the cushion.” Implications for neurophenomenological investigations are discussed, as well as future directions and possible extensions of the model.
... Thus, it seems that mindfulness is a protective factor for telomere length regardless of the type of meditation practiced. These results might also be expected because Zen meditation has already been related not only to improvements in quality of life, better mental health (Shaku et al. 2014), and alpha and theta activity in many brain regions (generally related to relaxation) (Chiesa 2009) but also to decreases in oxidative stress (Mahagita 2010) and the resiliency of mitochondria (Bhasin et al. 2013), which may help prevent the process of ageing. ...
Article
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Mindfulness refers to an awareness that emerges by intentionally focusing on the present experience in a nonjudgmental or evaluative manner. Evidence regarding its efficacy has been increasing exponentially, and recent research suggests that the practice of meditation is associated with longer leukocyte telomere length. However, the psychological mechanisms underlying this potential relationship are unknown. We examined the telomere lengths of a group of 20 Zen meditation experts and another 20 healthy matched comparison participants who had not previously meditated. We also measured multiple psychological variables related to meditation practice. Genomic DNA was extracted for telomere measurement using a Life Length proprietary program. Highthroughput quantitative fluorescence in situ hybridization (HT-Q-FISH) was used to measure the telomere length distribution and the median telomere length (MTL). The meditators group had a longerMTL (p =0.005) and a lower percentage of short telomeres in individual cells (p= 0.007) than those in the comparison group. To determine which of the psychological variables contributed more to telomere maintenance, two regression analyses were conducted. In the first model, which applied to the MTL, the following three factors were significant: age, absence of experiential avoidance, and Common Humanity subscale of the Self Compassion Scale. Similarly, in the model that examined the percentage of short telomeres, the same factors were significant: age, absence of experiential avoidance, and Common Humanity subscale of the Self Compassion Scale. Although limited by a small sample size, these results suggest that the absence of experiential avoidance of negative emotions and thoughts is integral to the connection between meditation and telomeres. Keywords Telomere length . Mindfulness . Experiential avoidance . Compassion
... Research into the various effects of meditation is amassing quickly. While reviews exist that cover specific meditation practices (e.g., Zen, Chiesa, 2009;mindful-ness, Ivanovski & Malhi, 2007) or particular outcome domains (e.g., medical conditions, Arias, Steinberg, Banga, & Trestman, 2006;anxiety, Delmonte, 1983), a broad integrative review of the mainstream psychological literature incorporating research across multiple meditation practices, populations, and outcomes has yet to be conducted. Two previous attempts at a broad integrative review have been undertaken. ...
Article
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Originally designed to promote religious and spiritual development, meditation practices have been the subject of enormous public and scientific interest for decades. Over this time, significant research efforts have documented the many psychological health impacts associated with these practices. This article provides a descriptive and critical review of over 250 published studies, spanning 45 years of research and exploring a diverse range of meditation techniques and health and functioning outcome variables. The research is organized along the lines of meditation technique, samples, and outcome domains with study information (including limitations) summarized in tables. While the vast majority of findings support the effectiveness of meditation practices in cultivating positive psychological health and functioning, supporting conclusions of beneficence, the majority of evidence has emerged from uncontrolled and methodologically limited investigations, thus failing to support conclusions of efficacy. Finally, a review of the state of the science with a number of suggestions for future research is provided. The need for conceptually-driven studies into the nature of meditation as well as theoretically-grounded investigations is highlighted.
Article
Although studies have suggested that mindfulness-based interventions might be effective in enhancing military readiness and resilience, this has not been rigorously evaluated. This study presents results from a systematic review and meta-analyses of research examining how mindfulness meditation affects 13 performance-related outcomes of interest to the U.S. Army and broader military. The authors supplemented the systematic review by examining how mindfulness meditation could support stress management and exploring characteristics of selected mindfulness programs. The goal was to develop recommendations for mindfulness meditation programs for soldiers, should the Army choose to implement such programs in the future. Findings suggest that mindfulness may improve some aspects of attention and emotion regulation, impulsivity, and work-related morale and social support. The available evidence does not suggest that mindfulness improves other outcomes of interest to the Army. Notably, mindfulness meditation programs reduce stress and may reduce parental stress, which could benefit Army families. Yet more research is needed to identify best practices for implementing mindfulness programs in the military. The authors recommend conducting high-quality evaluations of mindfulness meditation with soldiers and assessing the effect of mindfulness meditation on military families.
Chapter
The COVID pandemic has generated unprecedented discomfort and uncertainty among people all over the world (WHO, Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020). It has affected work, family, and social life, devasted the physical and psychological well-being to an alarming degree. In this situation, our potent weapon is undoubtedly our mental capacity and strength. Strengthening the mind will endow us with the ability and conviction to deal with the current situation (Wu et al., CMAJ 192:E459–E460, 2020). At present, there are various techniques and tools available for this purpose like pranayama, physical exercise, music and, yoga and meditation (Torre et al., Journal of Clinical Medicine 9:1–13, 2020) depending upon one’s individual preferences. Today, meditation is considered as a useful tool to quieten the chattering mind, which is preferred by many individuals (Nalawade and Pradhan, 2016), and therefore, it is gathering momentum as a useful intervention in health care. Of the different types of meditation practices in use today, mindfulness meditation practice has originated from the Buddhist tradition and has been taught by the Buddha 2500 years ago to make the mind calm, focused, and strong. Being mindful means, being fully present in the present moment. Research has shown that being mindful reduces the tendency to be reactive and to become more equanimous and enables one to come out of suffering. Especially in the healthcare domain mindfulness interventions have proven to be effective in enhancing psychological and physical health. This literature review is focused on benefits of mindfulness practice as an intervention, which is cost-effective and non-intrusive in nature. For this purpose, a systematic review was conducted to understand and highlight advantages and applications of mindfulness. The literature review has reiterated the ability of mindfulness practice to help one handle trying situations with equanimity by modulating one’s behavior effectively (Antonova et al., 2020). This study highlights a few clinical case studies and discusses the scope for future studies and limitations faced by researchers in this area. Also, some of the cases where it has been implemented effectively in COVID-19 situations are enumerated with the hope that it will highlight the usefulness of this intervention in the trying and stressful situation at present as well as in future. The limitation of this study is the lack of the availability of long-term research data at present describing the benefits of mindfulness practice in the current pandemic situation.
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While the modern era has many advantages, it has also caused many mental issues. Surrounded by technology, for example, may cause tension, weariness, and concern. Faced with the epidemic, mental health has become a critical obligation. Daily mindfulness practice may help you overcome mental health issues. Mindfulness practices such as exercises, yoga, and breathing techniques may significantly improve one's mental health. The use of technology by teenagers is increasing. The epidemic is causing young people's mental instability. Trying to learn and adapt to this unexpected shift in lifestyle has severely harmed everyone's mental health. Living during a pandemic has changed lifestyle and healthcare. Mindfulness has shown to be a cure for physical, mental, and emotional tiredness. Given the present situation, research on the mental health of mindfulness practitioners and non-practitioners is critical. Mindfulness practitioners and non-practitioners will be compared in this research to investigate how mindfulness affects mental health. So, correlational research was used. Here, the researcher looks for a connection between two or more variables. Patients' mental health and mindfulness practitioners' mental health are the factors in this study. To investigate how mindfulness practices influenced people's mental health, both practitioners and non-practitioners. A poll link was published on social media. Mindfulness practitioners with two years of experience and a high school certificate received it. Mindfulness practitioners and non-practitioners were equally represented. The link was identified after the computation. A positive association was found, showing that mindfulness practitioners had better mental health than those who do not. Keywords: Mindfulness, mental health, University students, depression, and stress.
Book
This book examines the psychology involved in handling, and responding to, materials in artistic practice, such as oils, charcoal, brushes, canvas, earth, and sand. Artists often work with intuitive, tactile sensations and rhythms that connect them to these materials. Rhythm connects the brain and body to the world, and the world of abstract art. The book features new readings of artworks by Matisse, Pollock, Dubuffet, Tápies, Benglis, Len Lye, Star Gossage, Shannon Novak, Simon Ingram, Lee Mingwei, L. N. Tallur and many others. Such art challenges centuries of philosophical and aesthetic order that has elevated the substance of mind over the substance of matter. This is a multidisciplinary study of different metastable patterns and rhythms: in art, the body, and the brain. This focus on the propagation of rhythm across domains represents a fresh art historical approach and provides important opportunities for art and science to cooperate.
Chapter
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Der Konferenzbeitrag setzt das Thema Achtsamkeit in Bezug zu neurowissenschaftlichen Forschungen. Es wird ein umfassender Überblick über Studien gegeben, die die Wirkung von Achtsamkeitsübungen auf das menschliche Gehirn hinsichtlich Anatomie und Aktivität erforschen und belegen. Es wird gezeigt, dass aus neurodidaktischer Perspektive der Schluss zugelassen werden kann, wie sehr Achtsamkeitsübungen als mentale und physische Gesundheitsvorsorge gelten können.
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Achtsame Erziehung sowie Achtsame Kommunikation sind thematische Ankerpunkte, an denen sich eines der größten menschlichen Grundbedürfnisse, nämlich das sich aufeinander Einlassen aus den unterschiedlichsten Motiven, konkret erhellen lässt. Der Konferenzband nähert sich einem Thema an, das geprägt ist von Vorurteilen, Mythen und oft unreflektierten Datenlagen: Achtsamkeit oder Mindfulness oder auch Contemplative Pedagogy. Inhaltlich ist der Band zweigeteilt: Mindfulness in Education fokussiert Möglichkeiten und wissenschaftliche Evidenzen achtsamer Pädagogik in erzieherischen Kontexten, wobei Konzentration und Meditation ernstzunehmende und zentrale Rollen spielen. Im zweiten Teil des Bandes wird die Erkenntnis der ersten Tagung, dass sich Achtsamkeit zuvorderst in Mindful Communication realisiert, aufgegriffen.
Chapter
A brief note on zazen was originally written by Dr. Tairyu Tsunoda of Komazawa University in Japanese, and then edited and translated into English by Akihiko Masuda and Kayla Sargent. In this chapter, Rev. Tairyu Tsunoda, Roshi of Japan, provides a brief note on the history of zazen (i.e., sitting meditation of Zen) and implications of this practice within behavioral health. In contrast to some of the common misconceptions of zazen practice, such as the zazen posture is designed to promote resilience or achievement of transcendent state of being, Tsunoda Roshi stated that zazen is not for gaining these ends, but that it is simply the dharma gate of joyful ease. More specifically, Tsunoda Roshi states that zazen is to become one with various internal and external stimuli as a whole, as well as to see these stimuli openly and correctly from the standpoint of one’s wisdom (i.e., true self). Tsunoda suggests that doing zazen wholeheartedly is the Buddha Way and describes the history supporting this claim: Gautama Buddha attained the dharma of dependent arising, the Middle Way, and the Four Noble Truths through zazen under the Bodhi tree.
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Generally speaking, Zen has become associated with greater physical and mental wellness as well as health-related products in modern culture. Given the widespread assumption that Zen is good for health, it is not surprising that Zen principles—especially the meditative technique of zazen—has been applied in clinical settings. The intent of this chapter, Zen and Behavioral Health: A Review of the Evidence, is to update the previous reviews on the topic by including scientific literature on zazen published since 2009. This chapter also expands former works by including meditation research that does involve rigorously controlled methodology. The implications of the current state of the evidence on clinical practice, on future research and the on the practice of Zen Buddhism are discussed.
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Zen’s thoughts on psychopathology and wellness describe how Western conceptualizations of behavioral health, psychological diagnoses, and general wellness can be viewed or reconceptualized in the context of Zen. The authors argue that differences in these perspectives could result in beneficial advancements in behavioral health. The field of behavioral health has integrated mindfulness and Zen practices into its mainstream practice because of their salutary effects found on health. Whereas this effort is generally encouraging, Zen Buddhism practitioners and scholars caution us to practice Zen while being explicit about the purpose of doing so. For Zen Buddhists, the incorporation of Zen practices into mainstream behavioral health care can be problematic only if such integration intends to promote what Zen Buddhism calls “return to the original wholeness” or “pure subjectivity,” the heart of Zen Buddhism. The original wholeness or pure subjectivity is the process of perfecting self with an earnest endeavor for the benefit of mankind and all sentient beings. Epistemological differences between Japanese and Zen cultures and Western cultures are described to help clarify differences in these perspectives.
Chapter
Since it was first introduced to the West in early 1900s, many scholars and practitioners have discussed Zen along with sciences in various foci. What has not been fully discussed, however, is the potential role of Zen as an overarching ethical guideline for the behavior of scientists as well as the consumers of science. In this chapter, Reverent Rosan Yoshida Roshi argues the importance of establishing and adhering to such a guideline and states that Zen is particularly suitable to promote it. First, Yoshida argues that unlike our image of science as being value-free and bias-free, science is a human enterprise which is extremely vulnerable to our tendency to prioritize the demands from ego (i.e., me-ism/selfishness/sinfulness), which is often manifested as utilitarianism, materialism, militarism, and the money-ism. Yoshida then states that these tendencies are destructive and threatens the entire ecosystem. According to Yoshida, Zen teachings can counteract or mitigate this tendency as it emphasizes collective wholeness as its ultimate goals and presents remedies for lessening these egocentric demands.
Chapter
Humans utilize sensory and motor systems developed genetically, physically and socially for interfacing with our external environment. We use these same systems to interface in our interactions with artificial intelligence. There are other functioning central nervous system (CNS) systems, however, involved in cognitive processing for which the function and environmental interface is less clear. The synchronous physiologic electrical field system utilizes broadcast extracellular electrical fields for a wide variety of CNS functions. The operations of this system are usually non-conscious and most apparent during sleep (especially the conscious states of sleep that include dreaming), and un-focused waking. The electrical fields of this system are altered and affected by both internal and external stimuli. These fields can be monitored and analyzed by artificial intelligence (AI) systems, and independently of human input, AI systems can utilize similar frequency based electrical potentials to convey data, communicate, supply power, and to store memory. From both human and AI perspectives, these systems have the potential to function more fully in human/machine interaction. This chapter reviews our current knowledge as to function, current interactive approaches, and interface potential for these physiological electrical fields.
Chapter
Regarding the cultural elements related to India (such as Yoga), they are surrounded by a number of different phenomena: India has undergone one of the largest Diaspora in the world, and its emigrants carry their cultural heritage wherever they go, spreading it in its diversity all over the societies that receive them. This is also found in the propagation of different beliefs, fortified by the context of globalization and strengthened even further by the mass media, as well as by the dynamism of the different places, which involves the market of symbolic property imposed by these movements, thus giving way to a phenomenon known as the New Age, characterized by authors such as Campbell (1997, quoted in Silva da Silveira 2005) within an “orientalization of the Western World”. Thus, yoga practice began to expand from India and has extended all over the world. The access of yoga in Argentina as pointed out by Saizar (2006), took place in the early twentieth century as a practice involving a spiritual pursuit directed to urban sectors of high educational levels and high incomes, who would invite yogis to their homes in order to profit by their teachings on the basic principles and discipline of oriental philosophy. Some of these specialists remained in Argentina and passed on their knowledge to other specialists thus producing, so to speak, a cultural synthesis between the cosmovisions of the East and the West. Nowadays, yoga practice has extended to people of different educational and economic levels. This work shows some of the results obtained from a research project on the matter in consideration, which seeks to contribute relevant data for the labor field and a deeper understanding of the cultural elements of different contexts and their effect on the people’s quality of life at a local level.
Article
Research on psychological trauma and women's health reveals a relationship between posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. Although most of the research associating PTSD symptoms with physical health has been conducted with male veterans, the present chapter summarizes recent research that addresses these relationships among women. We review the literature on the prevalence of CVD and risk factors for CVD (e.g., overweight, high blood pressure, smoking, and unhealthy lipid levels) among women with PTSD, and report data from our own ongoing research that suggests obesity/overweight and unhealthy lipid profiles are particular problems among women with PTSD. We will also address the implications of increased cardiovascular risk in PTSD on health-related quality of life (HRQOL), and discuss potential approaches to intervention that may decrease CVD risk factors and enhance quality of life (QOL) in this population.
Chapter
Chapter 2 covers neuroscience findings about meditation and the brain. Neuroscientists have been investigating the brain activity that occurs during Zen meditation and mindfulness practices, and have found general ways that the regular practice of these methods changes the brain and mind, with real and lasting alterations in brain structures and mental functions. Meditation practice correlates with brain patterns found during calm, relaxation, healthy affect regulation, focused attention, and alertness—all helpful qualities for psychotherapy.
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The importance of transmission of occult HBV infection (OBI) via transfusion, organ transplantation and hemodialysis has been widely recognized. However, data regarding the transmission of OBI through close contact remain limited. In this study, serum samples were obtained from a child and his parents. The child had received the standard vaccination regimen at birth and produced protective antibody. Sera were tested for HBV serological markers. Nested PCR assays were used to detect HBV DNA and the amplicons were cloned and their sequences subjected to phylogenetic analysis. The results showed that both parents had occult infections while the child had an overt infection. Twelve, eleven and nine clones, from the father, mother and son, respectively, were sequenced. Serotypes adrq+, ayw1, ayw and ayr were found in the father and ayw1, adw2 and adwq+ in the mother; adrq+ was the only serotype in son. Genotype B, subgenotype C2 and a recombinant were identified in the father and genotype B, subgenotype C5 and three recombinants were found in the mother. Subgenotype C2 was the only genotype identified in the child. A phylogenetic tree showed that all of the child's sequences and most of the father's sequences clustered together. However, none of mother's sequences clustered with those of the child. The surface gene from the child and his father had the same amino acid substitution pattern (T118K, T123N and G145A). We concluded that the father was the source of the son's HBV infection, suggesting that occult HBV infection may be transmitted through close contact and manifest as an overt infection.
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The overall goal of this chapter is to explore the initial findings of neuroscientific research on meditation; in doing so, the chapter also suggests potential avenues of further inquiry. It has three sections that, although integral to the chapter as a whole, may also be read independently. The first sec-tion, "Defining Meditation," notes the need for a more precise understanding of med-itation as a scientific explanandum. Argu-ing for the importance of distinguishing the particularities of various traditions, the sec-tion presents the theory of meditation from the paradigmatic perspective of Buddhism, and it discusses the difficulties encountered when working with such theories. The sec-tion includes an overview of three prac-tices that have been the subject of research, and it ends with a strategy for developing a questionnaire to define more precisely a practice under examination. The second sec-tion, "The Intersection of Neuroscience and Meditation," explores some scientific moti-vations for the neuroscientific examination of meditation in terms of its potential impact on the brain and body of long-term prac-titioners. After an overview of the mecha-nisms of mind-body interaction, this section addresses the use of first-person expertise, especially in relation to the potential for research on the neural counterpart of sub-jective experience. In general terms, the sec-tion thus points to the possible contributions of research on meditation to the neuro-science of consciousness. The final section, "Neuroelectric and Neuroimaging Correla-tes of Meditation," reviews the most relevant neuroelectric and neuroimaging findings of research conducted to date, including some preliminary correlates of the previously dis-cussed Buddhist practices.
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Two studies have been widely quoted as indicating the differing states of consciousness in Zen vs Yoga meditation. A replication and extension were attempted. Very experienced Zen, Yoga, and TM meditators with average lengths of experience of 7.5 yrs, 5 yrs, and 7 yrs, respectively, and two groups of controls were presented with auditory clicks during meditation. EEG alpha suppression and skin conductance response both showed clear habituation which did not differ among groups, thus failing to replicate the earlier studies. The N100, P200, and P300 components of the EEG average evoked potential were also measured.
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Zen meditation (ZAZEN) is a spiritual exercise held in the Zen sect of Buddhism. Apart from its religious significance, the training of Zen meditation produces changes not only in the mind but also in the body—these influences are of interest to scientific studies, from the stand point of psychology and physiology. In the present study the EEG changes accompanied with Zen meditation have been revealed and described in detail. The authors discussed further these electro-graphic changes in relation to the consciousness with its underlying neurophysiological background, comparing with that of the hypnotic trance and sleep. In our study, 48 priests and disciples of Zen sects of Buddhism were selected as the subjects and their EEGs were continuously recorded before, during and after Zen meditation. The following results were obtained; These electroencephalographic findings lead to the following conclusions; In Zen meditation, the slowing of EEG pattern is confirmed on the one hand, and the dehabituation of the alpha blocking on the other. These indicate the specific change of consciousness. The authors further discussed the state of mind during Zen meditation from the psychophysiological point of view.
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Compared the ability of meditation and relaxation to reduce stress reactions in a laboratory threat situation. 60 18-31 yr old Ss, 30 experienced mediators and 30 controls, either mediated or relaxed with eyes closed or open and then watched a stressor film. Stress response was assessed by phasic skin conductance, heart rate, self-report, and personality scale (State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, Affect Adjective Check List, and Activity Preference Questionnaire). Meditators and the meditation condition habituated heart rate and phasic skin conductance responses more quickly to the stressor impacts and experienced less subjective anxiety. Meditation can produce a psychophysiological configuration in stress situations opposite to that seen in stress-related syndromes. Research is indicated on clinical applications and on the process whereby meditation state effects may become meditator traits. (33 ref)
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We conducted a six-month trial to determine the effect of psychologic relaxation on blood pressure. Alterations of peripheral sympathetic-nervous-system activity, as reflected by changes of dopamine-beta-hydroxylase in plasma, were evaluated, and plasma volume and plasma renin activity were measured. Treated patients exhibited significant (P less than 0.05) reductions of blood pressure when supine and upright, and of plasma dopamine-beta-hydroxylase activity, and furosemide-stimulated renin activity when upright. Blood-pressure changes after six months correlated best with differences in plasma activity of dopamine-beta-hydroxylase with patients supine (r = 0.54; P less than 0.05) and upright (r = 0.62; P less than 0.05). These results suggest that reduction of peripheral adrenergic activity contributes importantly to the improvement of hypertension observed with this form of therapy. Furthermore, the decrease of furosemide-stimulated plasma renin activity suggests that alterations of the renin-angiotensin system may help lower blood pressure in certain patients.
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The author emphasizes the therapist's well-integrated and matured personality as the crucial element for being a good psychotherapist; therefore, it is essential for a psychotherapist to make ceaseless efforts regarding his own personality growth with his ongoing therapeutic experiences. Nevertheless, nowadays students are apt to satisfy themselves with or cling to the theories and techniques of psychotherapy, neglecting their own personality growth. The author attributes such a tendency, on the one hand, to the contemporary thought of 'technology first and convenience first', on the other, to the current system of medical education which is extremely faithful to scientism. He warns that concepts or theories sometimes serve as a barrier in one's mind and falsify the reality. He reiterates the importance of the therapist's own maturity and expansion of awareness. In this context, the author recommends Zen meditation or Theravada meditation as one of the advanced courses of training for psychotherapists. He elucidates a way of promoting one's awareness in Zen meditation and what the ultimate state of "no-self" of Zen should be, based on his own experience of Zen practices.
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Even though the effectiveness of mediation and relaxation skills is controversial in blood pressure control, extensive field studies are limited. A national study targeting 50 communities randomly selected from northern Taiwan was conducted to test and compare the effectiveness of hypertension control incorporating three strategies. Five hundred ninety hypertensives identified from 3,128 adults at a screening survey among the 50 communities were invited to participate in the study and were randomly assigned to three treatment modalities, (a) relaxation techniques training at home, (b) routine blood pressure measurement by a health professional, and (c) reading self-learning packages, or to a control group. After a 2-month intervention period, the three treatment groups showed a significant reduction in systolic blood pressure levels compared with the control group (11.0 mm Hg for group 1, 9.2 mm Hg for group 2, and 5.1 mm Hg for group 3). The relaxation group had the most significant reduction in systolic blood pressure levels, followed by the routine blood pressure monitoring group and the self-learning group. However, the effect of relaxation training at home was not significantly greater than routine blood pressure measurement by a health professional.
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This study examined the effects of "tanden breathing" by Zen practitioners on cardiac variability. Tanden breathing involves slow breathing into the lower abdomen. Eleven Zen practitioners, six Rinzai and five Soto, were each studied during 20 minutes of tanden breathing, preceded and followed by 5-minute periods of quiet sitting. During this time, we measured heart rate and respiration rate. For most subjects, respiration rates fell to within the frequency range of 0.05 to 0.15 Hz during tanden breathing. Heart rate variability significantly increased within this low-frequency range but decreased in the high-frequency range (0.14-0.4 Hz), reflecting a shift of respiratory sinus arrhythmia from high-frequency to slower waves. Rinzai practitioners breathed at a slower rate and showed a higher amplitude of low-frequency heart rate waves than observed among Soto Zen participants. One Rinzai master breathed approximately once per minute and showed an increase in very-low-frequency waves (<0.05 Hz). Total amplitude of heart rate oscillations (across frequency spectra) also increased. More experienced Zen practitioners had frequent heart rhythm irregularities during and after the nadir of heart rate oscillations (ie, during inhalation). These data are consistent with the theory that increased oscillation amplitude during slow breathing is caused by resonance between cardiac variability caused by respiration and that produced by physiological processes underlying slower rhythms. The rhythm irregularities during inhalation may be related to inhibition of vagal modulation during the cardioacceleratory phase. It is not known whether they reflect cardiopathology.
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Frontal midline theta rhythm (Fm theta), recognized as distinct theta activity on EEG in the frontal midline area, reflects mental concentration as well as meditative state or relief from anxiety. Attentional network in anterior frontal lobes including anterior cingulate cortex is suspected to be the generator of this activity, and the regulative function of the frontal neural network over autonomic nervous system (ANS) during cognitive process is suggested. However no studies have examined peripheral autonomic activities during Fm theta induction, and interaction of central and peripheral mechanism associated with Fm theta remains unclear. In the present study, a standard procedure of Zen meditation requiring sustained attention and breath control was employed as the task to provoke Fm theta, and simultaneous EEG and ECG recordings were performed. For the subjects in which Fm theta activities were provoked (six men, six women, 48% of the total subjects), peripheral autonomic activities were evaluated during the appearance of Fm theta as well as during control periods. Successive inter-beat intervals were measured from the ECG, and a recently developed method of analysis by Toichi et al. (J. Auton. Nerv. Syst. 62 (1997) 79-84) based on heart rate variability was used to assess cardiac sympathetic and parasympathetic functions separately. Both sympathetic and parasympathetic indices were increased during the appearance of Fm theta compared with control periods. Theta band activities in the frontal area were correlated negatively with sympathetic activation. The results suggest a close relationship between cardiac autonomic function and activity of medial frontal neural circuitry.
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This study is an attempt to rigorously map the psychological effects of Zen meditation among experienced practitioners. Fifty-nine Zen meditators with at least six years of experience practiced an hour of traditional Zazen seated meditation. A control group of 24 college students spent 60 min silently reading popular magazines. Before relaxation, all participants took the Smith Relaxation States Inventory (SRSI), the Smith Relaxation Dispositions/Motivations Inventory (SRD/MI), and the Smith Relaxation Beliefs Inventory (SRBI). After practice, participants again took the SRSI. Analyses revealed that meditators are less likely to believe in God, more likely to believe in Inner Wisdom, and more likely to display the relaxation dispositions Mental Quiet, Mental Relaxation, and Timeless/Boundless/Infinite. Pre- and postsession analyses revealed that meditators showed greater increments in the relaxation states Mental Quiet, Love and Thankfulness, and Prayerfulness, as well as reduced Worry. Results support Smith's ABC Relaxation Theory.
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Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is a clinical program, developed to facilitate adaptation to medical illness, which provides systematic training in mindfulness meditation as a self-regulatory approach to stress reduction and emotion management. There has been widespread and growing use of this approach within medical settings in the last 20 years, and many claims have been made regarding its efficacy. This article will provide a critical evaluation of the available state of knowledge regarding MBSR and suggestions for future research. A review of the current literature available within the medical and social sciences was undertaken to provide an evaluation regarding what we know about the construct of mindfulness, the effectiveness of MBSR, and mechanisms of action. There has been a paucity of research and what has been published has been rife with methodological problems. At present, we know very little about the effectiveness of this approach. However, there is some evidence that suggests that it may hold some promise. The available evidence does not support a strong endorsement of this approach at present. However, serious investigation is warranted and strongly recommended.
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It is the central hypothesis of this paper that the mental states commonly referred to as altered states of consciousness are principally due to transient prefrontal cortex deregulation. Supportive evidence from psychological and neuroscientific studies of dreaming, endurance running, meditation, daydreaming, hypnosis, and various drug-induced states is presented and integrated. It is proposed that transient hypofrontality is the unifying feature of all altered states and that the phenomenological uniqueness of each state is the result of the differential viability of various frontal circuits. Using an evolutionary approach, consciousness is conceptualized as hierarchically ordered cognitive function. Higher-order structures perform increasingly integrative functions and thus contribute more sophisticated content. Although this implies a holistic approach to consciousness, such a functional hierarchy localizes the most sophisticated layers of consciousness in the zenithal higher-order structure: the prefrontal cortex. The hallmark of altered states of consciousness is the subtle modification of behavioral and cognitive functions that are typically ascribed to the prefrontal cortex. The theoretical framework presented yields a number of testable hypotheses.
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Meditation is a complex mental process involving changes in cognition, sensory perception, affect, hormones, and autonomic activity. Meditation has also become widely used in psychological and medical practices for stress management as well as a variety of physical and mental disorders. However, until now, there has been limited understanding of the overall biological mechanism of these practices in terms of the effects in both the brain and body. We have previously described a rudimentary neuropsychological model to explain the brain mechanisms underlying meditative experiences. This paper provides a substantial development by integrating neurotransmitter systems and the results of recent brain imaging advances into the model. The following is a review and synthesis of the current literature regarding the various neurophysiological mechanisms and neurochemical substrates that underlie the complex processes of meditation. It is hoped that this model will provide hypotheses for future biological and clinical studies of meditation.
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Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) programs may mitigate the effects of stress and disease. This integrative review identified 21 clinical studies on MBSR interventions. Although preliminary findings suggest health enhancement from MBSR, controlled, randomized studies, the operationalization of constructs, and qualitative research are needed.
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According to the experimental results and practitioners' subjective experience, we report some hypotheses that may account for meditative phenomena during the practice of Zen-Buddhism. Orthodox Zen-Buddhist practitioners, aiming to prove the most original true-self, discover and uncover the inner energy or light on the way towards their goal. Perception of the inner light can be comprehended as resonance. Uncovering the inner energy optimizes physiological and mental health. In the meditation experiment, a significant correlation was observed between perception of the inner light and electroencephalographic (EEG) alpha blockage. We further examined this phenomenon by recording the EEG from subjects during a blessing that the subjects did not know being given. During the blessing period, significant alpha blocking was observed in experimental subjects who had been practicing meditation for years in preparation for being in resonance with the inner light. This report provides a new insight into the debate that meditation benefits our health.
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Meditation is a specific consciousness state in which deep relaxation and increased internalized attention coexist. There have been various neurophysiological studies on meditation. However, the personal predispositions/traits that characterize the properties of meditation have not been adequately studied. We analyzed changes in neurophysiological parameters [EEG coherence and autonomic nervous activity using heart rate variability (HRV) as an index] during Zen meditation, and evaluated the results in association with trait anxiety (assessed by Spielberger's State-Trait Anxiety Inventory) in 22 healthy adults who had not previously practiced any form of meditation. During meditation, in terms of mean values in all subjects, an increase in slow alpha interhemispheric EEG coherence in the frontal region, an increase in high-frequency (HF) power (as a parasympathetic index of HRV), and a decrease in the ratio of low-frequency to HF power (as a sympathetic index of HRV) were observed. Further evaluation of these changes in individuals showed a negative correlation between the percent change (with the control condition as the baseline) in slow alpha interhemispheric coherence reflecting internalized attention and the percent change in HF reflecting relaxation. The trait anxiety score was negatively correlated with the percent change in slow alpha interhemispheric coherence in the frontal region and was positively correlated with the percent change in HF. These results suggest that lower trait anxiety more readily induces meditation with a predominance of internalized attention, while higher trait anxiety more readily induces meditation with a predominance of relaxation.
Article
Meditation is the attainment of a restful yet fully alert physical and mental state practiced by many as a self-regulatory approach to emotion management, but the psychophysiological properties and personality traits that characterize this meditative state have not been adequately studied. We quantitatively analyzed changes in psychophysiological parameters during Zen meditation in 20 normal adults, and evaluated the results in association with personality traits assessed by Cloninger's Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI). During meditation, increases were observed in fast theta power and slow alpha power on EEG predominantly in the frontal area, whereas an increase in the normalized unit of high-frequency (nuHF) power (as a parasympathetic index) and decreases in the normalized unit of low-frequency (nuLF) power and LF/HF (as sympathetic indices) were observed through analyses of heart rate variability. We analyzed the possible correlations among these changes in terms of the percent change during meditation using the control condition as the baseline. The percent change in slow alpha EEG power in the frontal area, reflecting enhanced internalized attention, was negatively correlated with that in nuLF as well as in LF/HF and was positively correlated with the novelty seeking score (which has been suggested to be associated with dopaminergic activity). The percent change in fast theta power in the frontal area, reflecting enhanced mindfulness, was positively correlated with that in nuHF and also with the harm avoidance score (which has been suggested to be associated with serotonergic activity). These results suggest that internalized attention and mindfulness as two major core factors of behaviors of mind during meditation are characterized by different combinations of psychophysiological properties and personality traits.
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This study was designed to investigate the effect of Zen Meditation on serum nitric oxide activity (NO) and oxidative stress (lipid peroxidation). The experimental group included 20 subjects who had practiced the Zen Meditation program in Meditation Center located in Seoul, South Korea. The control group included 20 subjects who did not practice any formal stress management technique and were age and sex matched with experimental group. To provide an assessment of nitric oxide production, the serum level of nitrate/nitrite was determined using the Griess reagent. Malondialdehyde (MDA) concentration was measured as a convenient index of lipid peroxidation by thiobarbituric acid (TBA) method. Meditation group showed a significant higher level of serum nitrate+nitrite concentration and a significant reduced level of serum malondialdehyde (MDA) than control group. A comprehensive randomized controlled trial should be performed to prove the causal relationship between meditation and level of nitric oxide or oxidative stress in reducing cardiovascular risk factors.
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Recently, the psychological construct mindfulness has received a great deal of attention. The majority of research has focused on clinical studies to evaluate the efficacy of mindfulness-based interventions. This line of research has led to promising data suggesting mindfulness-based interventions are effective for treatment of both psychological and physical symptoms. However, an equally important direction for future research is to investigate questions concerning mechanisms of action underlying mindfulness-based interventions. This theoretical paper proposes a model of mindfulness, in an effort to elucidate potential mechanisms to explain how mindfulness affects positive change. Potential implications and future directions for the empirical study of mechanisms involved in mindfulness are addressed.
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This paper, composed by an interest group of clinicians and researchers based in Melbourne, presents some background to the practice of mindfulness-based therapies as relevant to the general professional reader. We address the empirical evidence for these therapies, the principles through which they might operate, some practical questions facing those wishing to commence practice in this area or to refer patients into mindfulness-based therapies, and some considerations relevant to the conduct and interpretation of research into the therapeutic application of mindfulness. Databases (e.g. PsycINFO, MEDLINE) were searched for literature on the impact of mindfulness interventions, and the psychological and biological mechanisms that underpin the effects of mindfulness practice. This paper also draws upon the clinical experience of the author group. Mindfulness practice and principles have their origins in many contemplative and philosophical traditions but individuals can effectively adopt the training and practice of mindfulness in the absence of such traditions or vocabulary. A recent surge of interest regarding mindfulness in therapeutic techniques can be attributed to the publication of some well-designed empirical evaluations of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy. Arising from this as well as a broader history of clinical integration of mindfulness and Western psychotherapies, a growing number of clinicians have interest and enthusiasm to learn the techniques of mindfulness and to integrate them into their therapeutic work. This review highlights the importance of accurate professional awareness and understanding of mindfulness and its therapeutic applications. The theoretical and empirical literatures on therapeutic applications of mindfulness are in states of significant growth and development. This group suggests, based on this review, that the combination of some well-developed conceptual models for the therapeutic action of mindfulness and a developing empirical base, justifies a degree of optimism that mindfulness-based approaches will become helpful strategies to offer in the care of patients with a wide range of mental and physical health problems.
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In this study, the authors both developed and validated a self-report mindfulness measure, the Toronto Mindfulness Scale (TMS). In Study 1, participants were individuals with and without meditation experience. Results showed good internal consistency and two factors, Curiosity and Decentering. Most of the expected relationships with other constructs were as expected. The TMS scores increased with increasing mindfulness meditation experience. In Study 2, criterion and incremental validity of the TMS were investigated on a group of individuals participating in 8-week mindfulness-based stress reduction programs. Results showed that TMS scores increased following treatment, and Decentering scores predicted improvements in clinical outcome. Thus, the TMS is a promising measure of the mindfulness state with good psychometric properties and predictive of treatment outcome.
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Zen meditation, a Buddhist practice centered on attentional and postural self-regulation, has been speculated to bring about beneficial long-term effects for the individual, ranging from stress reduction to improvement of cognitive function. In this study, we examined how the regular practice of meditation may affect the normal age-related decline of cerebral gray matter volume and attentional performance observed in healthy individuals. Voxel-based morphometry for MRI anatomical brain images and a computerized sustained attention task were employed in 13 regular practitioners of Zen meditation and 13 matched controls. While control subjects displayed the expected negative correlation of both gray matter volume and attentional performance with age, meditators did not show a significant correlation of either measure with age. The effect of meditation on gray matter volume was most prominent in the putamen, a structure strongly implicated in attentional processing. These findings suggest that the regular practice of meditation may have neuroprotective effects and reduce the cognitive decline associated with normal aging.
Article
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is a recently developed class-based program designed to prevent relapse or recurrence of major depression (Z. V. Segal, J. M. G. Williams, & J. Teasdale, 2002). Although research in this area is in its infancy, MBCT is generally discussed as a promising therapy in terms of clinical effectiveness. The aim of this review was to outline the evidence that contributes to this current viewpoint and to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of this evidence to inform future research. By systematically searching 6 electronic databases and the reference lists of retrieved articles, the authors identified 4 relevant studies: 2 randomized clinical trials, 1 study based on a subset of 1 of these trials, and 1 nonrandomized trial. The authors evaluated these trials and discussed methodological issues in the context of future research. The current evidence from the randomized trials suggests that, for patients with 3 or more previous depressive episodes, MBCT has an additive benefit to usual care. However, because of the nature of the control groups, these findings cannot be attributed to MBCT-specific effects. Further research is necessary to clarify whether MBCT does have any specific effects.
Article
There has been great interest in determining if mindfulness can be cultivated and if this cultivation leads to well-being. The current study offers preliminary evidence that at least one aspect of mindfulness, measured by the Mindful Attention and Awareness Scale (MAAS; K. W. Brown & R. M. Ryan, 2003), can be cultivated and does mediate positive outcomes. Further, adherence to the practices taught during the meditation-based interventions predicted positive outcomes. College undergraduates were randomly allocated between training in two distinct meditation-based interventions, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR; J. Kabat-Zinn, 1990; n=15) and E. Easwaran's (1978/1991) Eight Point Program (EPP; n=14), or a waitlist control (n=15). Pretest, posttest, and 8-week follow-up data were gathered on self-report outcome measures. Compared to controls, participants in both treatment groups (n=29) demonstrated increases in mindfulness at 8-week follow-up. Further, increases in mindfulness mediated reductions in perceived stress and rumination. These results suggest that distinct meditation-based practices can increase mindfulness as measured by the MAAS, which may partly mediate benefits. Implications and future directions are discussed.
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