Study Shows Meditation Changes Brain Structure in Just 8 Weeks

Photo: Sarvodaya Shramadana, Colombo, Sri Lanka (CC)

Photo: Sarvodaya Shramadana, Colombo, Sri Lanka (CC)

Christie Nicholson writes in Scientific American:

The benefits of meditation have received newfound evidence from neuroscience in the last five years, as researchers are finding real physiological changes due to a sort of formally practiced introspection.

Recently scientists from Massachusetts General Hospital had 16 participants take an eight-week mindfulness meditation program. This sort of meditation focuses on nonjudgmental awareness of sensations and feelings. Subjects practiced for about 30 minutes a day.

Brain images were taken of each subject before and after the training. Scientists found increases in gray-matter density in the hippocampus — an area responsible for learning and memory. And they saw decreased density in the amygdala— which is responsible for our anxiety and stress responses …

All this reminds us of two things: 1) The brain is much more plastic than scientists thought even just a decade ago and 2) the way we feel—calm or anxious—can be correlated with real structural indicators in our brains.

Read More in Scientific American

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  • Hamsanath437

    Glorious.

  • Hamsanath437

    Glorious.

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  • Andrew

    Centering prayer opens you up to the influence of the Devil!

  • Andrew

    Centering prayer opens you up to the influence of the Devil!

    • GOD

      You better cut out your brain, it’s evil…………

    • Ironaddict06

      I’ve have actually meet people that believe this.

  • Ahmacrom

    I meditate, it does wonders. Ask David Lynch. But I only invite Cthulhu.

  • Ahmacrom

    I meditate, it does wonders. Ask David Lynch. But I only invite Cthulhu.

  • Honu

    I’m sure the skeptics on all things non mainstream doubt the veracity of this study. Meditation just can’t work as well as a medication for learning and memory can it? It’s just a short hop over to the egregious belief that deep myofascial work actually relieves chronic soft tissue pain more than tradtionally prescribed coritsone, pain killers or surgery and other CAM like traditional Chinese medicine being effective for a variety of issues. Lord say it ain’t so.

    • Alex

      Well even the greatest skeptic knows that you can take all the steroids you want, but you still have to train to develop muscle, and the mind works the same way. When I was still on SSRIs my zazen practice was twice as effective. OTOH without the practice the pills were less than useless.

      By the way, I try to be skeptical of all things be they floating in the mainstream or merely adrift in a tributary.

  • Honu

    I’m sure the skeptics on all things non mainstream doubt the veracity of this study. Meditation just can’t work as well as a medication for learning and memory can it? It’s just a short hop over to the egregious belief that deep myofascial work actually relieves chronic soft tissue pain more than tradtionally prescribed coritsone, pain killers or surgery and other CAM like traditional Chinese medicine being effective for a variety of issues. Lord say it ain’t so.

  • Alex

    Well even the greatest skeptic knows that you can take all the steroids you want, but you still have to train to develop muscle, and the mind works the same way. When I was still on SSRIs my zazen practice was twice as effective. OTOH without the practice the pills were less than useless.

    By the way, I try to be skeptical of all things be they floating in the mainstream or merely adrift in a tributary.

  • GOD

    You better cut out your brain, it’s evil…………

  • Ironaddict06

    I’ve have actually meet people that believe this.

  • http://twitter.com/shutupmoveon Rob Stannard

    My meditation certainly has helped my mood, outlook and generally made me nice(r) to  live with. Not scientific, but neither is my life. The Brain can be trained like the rest of the body. Plenty of reports about accident victims regaining motot/language functions after relevant brain areas were destroyed. The brain can be rewired.
    Also read a few articles about pain relief more effective combined with “other brain activity” http://tinyurl.com/3952aqp

  • http://twitter.com/shutupmoveon Rob Stannard

    My meditation certainly has helped my mood, outlook and generally made me nice(r) to  live with. Not scientific, but neither is my life. The Brain can be trained like the rest of the body. Plenty of reports about accident victims regaining motot/language functions after relevant brain areas were destroyed. The brain can be rewired.
    Also read a few articles about pain relief more effective combined with “other brain activity” http://tinyurl.com/3952aqp

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