Brain Activity During Meditation



The brain is an electrochemical organ (machine) using electromagnetic energy to function. Electrical activity emanating from the brain is displayed in the form of brainwaves. They range from the high amplitude, low frequency delta to the low amplitude, high frequency beta. During meditation brain waves alter.



The four categories of these brainwaves:

Beta Waves or beta rhythm, is the term used to designate the frequency range of human brain activity between 12 and 30 Hz (12 to 30 transitions or cycles per second). They awaking awareness, extroversion, concentration, logical thinking, active conversation.


Alpha Waves are electromagnetic oscillations in the frequency range of 8–12 Hz arising from synchronous and coherent (in phase / constructive) electrical activity of thalamic pacemaker cells in humans. They are also called Berger's wave in memory of the founder of EEG. They place the brain in states of relaxation times, non-arousal, meditation, hypnosis


Theta Waves is an oscillatory pattern in EEG signals recorded either from inside the brain or from electrodes glued to the scalp. They are found in day dreaming, dreaming, creativity, meditation, paranormal phenomena, out of body experiences, ESP, shamanic journeys.

A person driving on a freeway, who discovers that they can't recall the last five miles, is often in a theta state - induced by the process of freeway driving. This can also occur in the shower or tub or even while shaving or brushing your hair. It is a state where tasks become so automatic that you can mentally disengage from them. The ideation that can take place during the theta state is often free flow and occurs without censorship or guilt. It is typically a very positive mental state.


Delta Waves are high amplitude brain waves with a frequency of oscillation between 0–4 hertz. Delta waves, like other brain waves, are recorded with an electroencephalogram (EEG) and are usually associated with the deepest stages of sleep (3 and 4 NREM), also known as slow-wave sleep (SWS), and aid in characterizing the depth of sleep.


Meditation increases activity in the left prefrontal cortex. The changes are stable over time. If you stop meditating for a while, the effect lingers.




Theta State


The brain processes through Binary Code

11:1




In the News ...


Evidence Builds That Meditation Strengthens the Brain   Science Daily - March 15, 2012
Earlier evidence out of UCLA suggested that meditating for years thickens the brain (in a good way) and strengthens the connections between brain cells. Now a further report by UCLA researchers suggests yet another benefit. Long-term meditators have larger amounts of gyrification ("folding" of the cortex, which may allow the brain to process information faster) than people who do not meditate. A direct correlation was found between the amount of gyrification and the number of meditation years, possibly providing further proof of the brain's neuroplasticity, or ability to adapt to environmental changes.


Is meditation the push-up for the brain?   PhysOrg - July 14, 2011
Two years ago, researchers at UCLA found that specific regions in the brains of long-term meditators were larger and had more gray matter than the brains of individuals in a control group. This suggested that meditation may indeed be good for all of us since, alas, our brains shrink naturally with age.


How Meditation May Change the Brain   New York Times - January 28, 2011
The researchers report that those who meditated for about 30 minutes a day for eight weeks had measurable changes in gray-matter density in parts of the brain associated with memory, sense of self, empathy and stress.


Brain Waves and Meditation   Science Daily - March 31, 2010
Forget about crystals and candles, and about sitting and breathing in awkward ways. Meditation research explores how the brain works when we refrain from concentration, rumination and intentional thinking. Electrical brain waves suggest that mental activity during meditation is wakeful and relaxed.


Meditation increases brain gray matter   PhysOrg - May 13, 2009
Push-ups, crunches, gyms, personal trainers -- people have many strategies for building bigger muscles and stronger bones. But what can one do to build a bigger brain? Meditate.


Meditation found to increase brain size PhysOrg - January 31, 2006
People who meditate grow bigger brains than those who don't. Researchers at Harvard, Yale, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have found the first evidence that meditation can alter the physical structure of our brains. Brain scans they conducted reveal that experienced meditators boasted increased thickness in parts of the brain that deal with attention and processing sensory input.


Meditation builds up the brain   New Scientist - November 15, 2005
Meditating does more than just feel good and calm you down, it makes you perform better - and alters the structure of your brain, researchers have found. People who meditate say the practice restores their energy, and some claim they need less sleep as a result. Many studies have reported that the brain works


Meditation Shown to Light Up Brains of Buddhists Yahoo - May 2003

Using new scanning techniques, neuroscientists have discovered that certain areas of the brain light up constantly in Buddhists, which indicates positive emotions and good mood. "We can now hypothesize with some confidence that those apparently happy, calm Buddhist souls one regularly comes across in places such as Dharamsala, India, really are happy,"

Professor Owen Flanagan, of Duke University in North Carolina, said. Dharamsala is the home base of exiled Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama. The scanning studies by scientists at the University of Wisconsin at Madison showed activity in the left prefrontal lobes of experienced Buddhist practitioners. The area is linked to positive emotions, self-control and temperament.

Other research by Paul Ekman, of the University of California San Francisco Medical Center, suggests that meditation and mindfulness can tame the amygdala, an area of the brain which is the hub of fear memory. Ekman discovered that experienced Buddhists were less likely to be shocked, flustered, surprised or as angry as other people. Flanagan believes that if the findings of the studies can be confirmed they could be of major importance.


Meditation mapped in Monks   BBC - March 1, 2002

During meditation, people often feel a sense of no space. Scientists investigating the effect of the meditative stateon Buddhist monk's brains have found that portions ofthe organ previously active become quiet, whilst pacified areas become stimulated. Using a brain imaging technique, Dr. Newberg and his team studied a group of Tibetan Buddhist monks as they meditated for approximately one hour. When they reached a transcendental high, they were asked to pull a kite string to their right, releasing an injection of a radioactive tracer. By injecting a tiny amount of radioactive marker into the bloodstream of a deep meditator, the scientists soon saw how the dye moved to active parts of the brain.


Study shows compassion meditation changes the brain   PhysOrg - March 27, 2008
Can we train ourselves to be compassionate? A new study suggests the answer is yes. Cultivating compassion and kindness through meditation affects brain regions that can make a person more empathetic to other peoples' mental states, say researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


Brain Scans Reveal Why Meditation Works   Live Science - June 30, 2007
If you name your emotions, you can tame them, according to new research that suggests why meditation works. Brain scans show that putting negative emotions into words calms the brain's emotion center. That could explain meditation’s purported emotional benefits, because people who meditate often label their negative emotions in an effort to let them go.


Meditation Gives Brain a Charge, Study Finds   Washington Post - January 3, 2005
Brain research is beginning to produce concrete evidence for something that Buddhist practitioners of meditation have maintained for centuries: Mental discipline and meditative practice can change the workings of the brain and allow people to achieve different levels of awareness. Those transformed states have traditionally been understood in transcendent terms, as something outside the world of physical measurement and objective evaluation.


Areas of the brain activated during meditation - Tracing the Synapses of Spirituality




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