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Using Meditation To Alter Your Brain Waves

By Charles Hopkins Published 01/17/2007 | Health

People have always thought that meditation is an activity employed only by Buddhist practitioners as part of their tradition. While some thought of meditation as a sort of ritual done to some extent by new-age people to face their everyday life head-on. There are those who see meditation as some voodoo ritual not worthy of attention, a waste of time.

Through the years, science has made progress in unlocking the secrets of meditation. In fact, scientists has had their hands on real Tibetan Buddhist monks to conduct their research on. These Buddhist monks have practiced meditation from 10 to 40 years with as much as 10 hours everyday. When the Dalai Lama heard about some results regarding initial studies on meditation, he actually lent his most avid practitioners of meditation to scientists for their actual experiments. Due to these experiments, scientists have unlocked some mysteries of meditation.

It was found out that repetitive meditation can contribute to the development of the brain. Though previous scientific claims regard the brain as a fixed circuitry, recent studies revealed that the development of the brain is ongoing until the twilight years of a human being. Meditation seems to have the most effect on the left side of the brain, specifically at the prefrontal cortex. This side of the brain is primarily dedicated to positive emotions and feelings which supports the previous claims that meditation gives a practitioner a relaxing feeling like no other.

If meditation focuses on this part of the brain, it somehow promotes neuron memory wherein shorter synapses or neuron pathways are being created by the brain to act as shortcuts for repetitive activity. Neurons are the movers of every action done by the human body, either thought, body movements or speech. This kind of development can be likened to the muscle memory experienced by athletes after undergoing regular training. After training, athletes experience a more conditioned response to stimuli or events that occur while they are competing. The shorter the neuron pathways, the better and faster the reaction.

Meditation seems to improve that part of the brain that focuses on positive emotions. Again, this explains why people who have a habit of meditating regularly are more calm when faced with stressful situations or have feelings of serenity during their most troubled times. That is because even in stressful situations, they can condition their brain to switch on a calming effect leading to a more manageable stress environment. 

In fact, the benefits of meditation are being harnessed to promote a general well-being. It is commonplace for health programs and clubs to include meditation as part of their activities. It does have contributions to providing relief to people afflicted with sleep disorders, weight problems, irritable bowel syndrome, fatigue, mild depression, etc. One can notice that most of the illnesses cured by meditation have a psychological side to it. The only thing that one has to do is to search for a quiet place and time to meditate and find his own peace of mind in the process.