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Meditation Helps to Build Brain Cells

Meditation builds brain cells, Harvard study shows proof.
Meditation builds brain cells, Harvard study shows proof
YEAR 2015
DATE Wednesday, February 04
TOPIC Meditation
AUTHOR Talya Dagan

Research has now demonstrated that meditation builds brain cells and increases gray matter in the brain. Using magnetic imaging (MRI), Harvard researchers found that meditation produced physiological changes in the brain’s gray matter. Some areas in the brains of the study participants thickened after only eight weeks of mindfulness practice. The research was published in 2011 and represented the first time that physical changes to the brain caused by medication were documented. The research was conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital by researchers from Harvard University. The research was funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine of the NIH. Research subjects spend eight weeks doing a mindfulness meditation program. For an average of 27 minutes a day, the study participants listened to audio recordings of guided meditation during the eight-week trial. The group met weekly as well. Magnetic resonance imaging scans (MRI) were taken of the participants’ brains two weeks before the trial started and at the end of the eight-week program. A control group also had brain imaging (MRI) but did not listen to the audio-recorded meditation guides.

The research findings

Study participants reported feeling less stressed after the eight-week period. MRI scans revealed decreased gray matter in the amygdalae and increased gray matter in the hippocampus. The amygdalae are parts of the brain that help the body deal with anxiety and stress and control the “fight or flight” mechanism. The hippocampus, which showed an increase in gray matter density, is the area of the brain that controls memory, learning, self-awareness, introspection, and compassion.

Conclusion and implications

The study concluded that meditation builds brain cells. The shrinking of the amygdalae indicated a reduction in the body’s stress response, which was expressed as the feelings of relaxation and stress reduction that were reported by the study participants. With the shrinking of the amygdalae, the pre-frontal cortex around them can then thicken. The pre-frontal cortex is the decision-making part of the brain and is also in charge of concentration and awareness. It has been concluded that meditation builds brain cells, increases gray matter and allows the brain to slow responses to stress, providing better concentration, learning, and memory.

Sources:

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com

http://news.harvard.edu

http://www.nmr.mgh.harvard.edu

http://www.feelguide.com

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Meditation by: Raw Michelle

Study finds meditation effective in providing migraine relief
Study finds meditation effective in providing migraine relief
YEAR 2014
DATE Saturday, December 14
TOPIC Epigenetics
AUTHOR Natural News

According to researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in North Carolina, meditation has been found to be beneficial for those dealing with the bothersome effects of migraines. Nineteen adults were divided into two groups where 10 of them received mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), which combines yoga and standardized meditation, and nine received common medical care.

Those receiving MBSR participated in eight weekly classes in order to learn meditation techniques and were asked to engage in the process on their own at least five additional days weekly for 45 minutes and to keep track of progress in journals. The other group was given prescriptions and asked to return for follow-up visits.

“”We found that MBSR participants had trends of fewer migraines that were less severe,” said Rebecca Erwin Wells, an assistant professor of neurology at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. Furthermore, she explains that the participants also developed a heightened sense of mindfulness and feelings of control over their pain, additional benefits that came without the sometimes adverse reactions or lack of adherence that results when more conventional medical methods are recommended.

Other natural ways to relieve a migraine headache

According to the Mayo Clinic, migraines occur when there is intense throbbing in the head which is typically preceded or accompanied by light and sound sensitivities, flashes of light, arm tingling or nausea. The Clinic lists proper rest and meditation as one of their migraine self-care recommendations.

In addition to MBSR, those who experience migraines and headaches may also want to consider eating more protein-rich foods such as beans and ones that help regulate blood sugar like whole wheat. Harvard Medical School experts explain that eating foods which keep blood sugar stable can help prevent migraines. Furthermore, it’s also suggested to eat frequently, enjoy several small, healthy meals throughout the day, and make sure to stay hydrated.

“For the approximate 36 million Americans who suffer from migraines, there is big need for non-pharmaceutical treatment strategies, and doctors and patients should know that MBSR is a safe intervention that could potentially decrease the impact of migraines,” said Wells.

Sources:

(1) http://www.hngn.com

(2) http://www.upi.com

(3) http://www.eurekalert.org

(4) http://www.mayoclinic.org

(5) http://www.livestrong.com

(6) http://science.naturalnews.com

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Slowing Brain Matter Loss

Meditation may slow brain matter loss due to aging.
Meditation may slow brain matter loss due to aging
YEAR 2015
DATE Saturday, February 28
TOPIC Mediatation
AUTHOR PF Louis

As this author has stated before, science likes to intervene in just about all human activities to give an “authoritative” perspective on whatever all of us do or don’t do. Wrong, right or indecisive, most folks need “scientific authority” to grant a stamp of approval or disapproval on almost anything we do these days.

But even when unnecessary, their findings may be interesting and even reassuring. Most people don’t meditate, and pretty much the same amount of folks doesn’t think there’s any merit in it.

Those who do meditate usually do to gain an insight into who we really are, spiritually. The side effects of calmness and equanimity under what most consider stressful situations is but one “side effect” of the pursuit of absolute truth through meditation.

There are other health benefits among those side effects, such as improved heart health and better sleep (even with less hours), and faster recoveries from common illness such as the flu and colds have been observed in other studies.

A meditation study performed by UCLA researchers
It’s common knowledge that aging usually promotes brain shrinkage and a loss of gray matter. And this starts without fanfare or much notice even before one turns 30. Gray matter is where neurons are stored, which communicate with nerve cells that transmit nerve signals to and from the brain at up to 200 mph.

According to some sources, unlike other cells in the body, brain cells cannot regenerate after damage. But there have been two instances reported by Natural News where comatose patients recovered from extreme brain damage with massive amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.

The UCLA Brain Mapping Center was looking for decreasing gray matter loss due to aging without the adjunct of cannabis, which has been discovered to maintain brain cells.

So they recruited 50 people who don’t meditate as a control group and 50 who do to compare their brain scans from high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging.

Each group of 50 was comprised of 28 men and 22 women ranging in age from 24 to 77. Those who meditated had been doing so for at least four years and up to 46 years, with an average of 20 years.

Although all the older subjects, both meditators and non-meditators showed signs of diminishing gray matter, the researchers discovered that meditators did fare better. Large parts of the gray matter in the brains of those who meditated seemed to be better preserved.

As a matter of fact, according to Dr. Florian Kurth, a co-author of the study and postdoctoral fellow at the UCLA Brain Mapping Center, the researchers were surprised by the magnitude of the difference.

“”We expected rather small and distinct effects located in some of the regions that had previously been associated with meditating,” he said. “Instead, what we actually observed was a widespread effect of meditation that encompassed regions throughout the entire brain.””

It could turn out that, if this study gets out enough, the baby boomer population may have another tool for preventing dementia or even reversing it to some degree. And it’s beyond cross-word puzzles.

Meditation not only slows brain cell loss but helps the immune system by allowing recovery from fight or flight hormones, especially cortisol, which builds up with even minor chronic anxiety and worry to the point of inviting, rather than warding off, more illness.

Reducing chronic cortisol reduces inflammation, and inflammation is the root of almost all disease. So, physical health is enhanced from meditation as well.

Meditation involves assuming a relaxed “witness” position of not judging or trying to change thoughts or thinking of “getting rid” of all thought. Simply observe them and let them come and go like clouds in the sky. Not chemtrail clouds, of course.

Sources:

http://newsroom.ucla.edu

http://journal.frontiersin.org

http://www.enchantedlearning.com

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Meditation Benefits

Meditating for just a few minutes each day reduces stress while boosting feelings of happiness
Meditating for just a few minutes each day reduces stress while boosting feelings of happiness
YEAR 2016
DATE Thursday, July 21
TOPIC Meditation
AUTHOR L.J. Devon

We are constantly taking information in through our corporeal senses. Technology and social media are constantly streaming noise, beliefs, news and chatter into our hearts and minds. When we stop to meditate, all the noise dissipates. In this moment, we can now take a deep breath and listen.
In the stillness, in the quiet, everything changes. We are no longer dependent on information from our material world. When we stop, listen and breathe, we can begin to connect with ourselves on a much deeper level.

As we focus our attention inward, into imagination and visualization, relaxation ensues. The heart and the mind are put at ease. As breathing slows, as tension is released, blood pressure can normalize. In this state, our greatest fears and anxieties can be addressed.

Meditation benefits mind, body and spirit
In the January 2014 issue of JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers published a comprehensive review on the benefits of meditation. Not only is meditation observed and documented as a way to relieve anxiety, but it can also be used as a means to reduce pain and manage depression. These benefits are all possible because the sympathetic nervous system is engaged and regulated more effectively for important functions such as oxygen intake through deep breathing, a steadier heart rate and lowered blood pressure.

Burke Lennihan, a registered nurse who teaches meditation at the Harvard University Center for Wellness, says the benefits of meditation extend beyond just the physical. “True, it will help you lower your blood pressure, but so much more: it can help your creativity, your intuition, your connection with your inner self,” she says.

Various forms of meditation help people heal in different ways
Many people, not recognizing it, have engaged in forms of meditation throughout their lives to cope with big decisions and life changes. Walking meditation or prayerful meditation are two common examples where one tunes out of the material world and focuses the mind, heart or breath. The benefits of meditation are even more powerful when practiced regularly as a discipline.

Concentration mediation teaches one how to direct and focus the mind to achieve desired results. Mindfulness meditation helps one address the negative thoughts that enter the mind so they can be dealt with in a healthy manner. Heart-centered mediation helps one bring awareness to the powerful energy center in the chest, helping one manage emotions and relationship difficulties. In Tai chi and qigong, mediation is combined with physical exercise to enhance breathing and focus. In transcendental meditation, one repeats a mantra, whether it’s a word, phrase or sound, to quiet thoughts and to achieve greater awareness of oneself and the connection to all living things.

Burke Lennihan says that the most powerful experience is when two or more people gather to meditate. When a teacher is present, a verbal guided visualization can be initiated to stimulate the meditative experience of individuals and the group as a whole. Giving feedback after a group meditation, whether to the group as a whole or to a friend, is a powerful experience as well, as illusions and judgments of one another are shattered.

Lennihan says meditation doesn’t have to be complex. It can as simple as doing deep breathing exercises. Meditation can be a launching pad to connect with oneself, filter out negativity, deprogram from social conditioning, or connect with others on a deeper level.

Lennihan says that it’s great to start with 10 minutes of quiet time each day, and to set aside a safe, quiet place. “You’ll build up a special feeling there, making it easier to get into a meditative state more quickly,” she says. Symbols, photos, candles, herbs, crystals, essential oils and articles of nature are often used to surround a meditation practice to make the experience more personal, centered and meaningful for the individual.

The practice of meditation is an important healing art that can be a useful vehicle for finding inner calm and inner strength in the most stressful situations in life. These self-control techniques can help one manage stress more effectively, slow the aging process and create more positive interactions with others.