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Meditation Really Does Work

Meditation really does work because it rewires parts of the brain which regulate emotions and behaviour, researchers have found.


Just 11 hours learning a meditation technique called integrative body-mind training (IBMT) produced dramatic changes in the brains of volunteers.

Scans revealed that neuron connectivity was boosted in a part of the brain important for regulating emotional behaviour and dealing with conflict.

Previous work by the same team has shown that meditation reduces levels of anxiety, depression, anger and fatigue.

The new study involved 45 students at the University of Oregon in the US.

Half were given IBMT training while the rest were taught relaxation techniques.

A type of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was used to examine brain connectivity in the volunteers before and after training.

''The importance of our findings relates to the ability to make structural changes in a brain network related to self-regulation,'' said Prof Posner, from the University of Oregon.

The research is reported today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

IBMT, adapted from traditional Chinese medicine in the 1990s, is practised by thousands of people in China.

Based on Taoist and Confucian concepts of harmony with nature, it combines different mind-body techniques including body relaxation, breath control, mental imagery, and ''mindfulness'' - calmly paying attention to moment-to-moment feelings and experiences.


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