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Meditate And Strengthen Your Brain in 11 Hours

August 24, 2010

While previous post was on muscles, lets move on to brain now. Meditation which has been practiced in East since ages, is known to relax the practitioner and help him/her have better control over emotions and stressful situations. But it’s also known that it’s not easy to achieve those benefits unless you practice meditation regularly and for sufficient amount of time. But if you practice a form of Chinese meditation called as Integrative-body mind training or IBMT, you might be able to achieve those benefits just after 11 hours of training. In recent study by Michael Posner and Y. Tang (PNAS, Jul 2010), it has been shown that just by 11 hours of IBMT training, positive structural changes were induced in a particular region of the brain which regulates and control our behavior. Anterior Cingulate Cortex (ACC) is that part of the brain which is related to self-regulation and this zone in the brain gets more interconnected as we grow up. In the experiment, it was shown that by 11 hr IBMT training, white matter tract in the brain which connects ACC to other structures of the brain was enhanced resulting in improved efficiency which in turn can result in better self-regulation.

For the experiments, 22 students from Univ of Oregon were given 11 hr IBMT training while 23 students were given simple relaxation training and neuro-imaging technique (diffusion tensor imaging) was used to monitor the fiber connectivity before and after the training. The technique measured something called fractional anisotropy by measuring diffusion of water in the pathway which gives the measure of fiber inter connectivity. The results showed enhanced fiber connectivity in the white matter which increases efficiency of connection between ACC and other parts of the brain. Results from previous studies by the same researchers showed that just after 5 hours of IBMT training , behavioral changes in the form of enhanced attention by students was observed. Also, low stress level was observed. This study further strengthens the positive effects of IBMT meditation and that too achievable in short time of practicing IBMT.

Reference Article: Tang et al., Jul 27 2010, Short-term meditation induces white matter changes in the anterior cingulate, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1011043107

Picture credit: Univ of Oregon Media Relations

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