Mindfulness meditation helps regulate a vital brain wave called the alpha rhythm which suppresses information overload and improves memory, besides easing pain. It involves focusing your mind on the present, which is known to improve mood, decrease stress and boost immune function. The alpha rhythm is particularly active in the cells that process touch, sight and sound in the brain’s outmost layer, the cortex, where it helps to turn down distracting sensations and regulate the flow of sensory information among brain regions.
“Mindfulness meditation has been reported to enhance numerous mental abilities, including rapid memory recall,” says study co-author Catherine Kerr, paediatrician at the Harvard Medical School, reports the journal Brain Research Bulletin. ”This result may explain reports that mindfulness meditation decreases pain perception,” says Kerr. ”Enhanced ability to turn the alpha rhythm up or down could give practitioners’ greater ability to regulate pain sensation.”
Brain cells use particular frequencies or waves to regulate the flow of information in much the same way that radio stations broadcast at specific frequencies, according to a Harvard statement. The study tested a group of healthy volunteers with no previous experience in meditation. Half completed the eight-week Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction Programme developed at the University of Massachusetts. The other half were asked not to engage in any type of meditation during the study period.
Using magnetoencephalography (MEG), an imaging technique that detects the location of brain activity with extreme precision, researchers measured participants’ alpha rhythms before, during and after the eight-week period. The study led to the conclusion that mediation helps decrease stress and ease pain.
Source: IANSFirst Published: Apr 20, 2012 at 11:38 AM