This is your brain on Zen

image courtesy of Flickr member longtrekhome

We all know meditation does wonders to help us relax, but have you ever stopped to think about the science behind the ‘Ommm?’ James H. Austin’s new book, Zen-Brain Reflections, examines the effects of both meditation and acupuncture on the brain. Long-term meditators and acupuncture enthusiasts, take note: the physiology of your brain could be drastically different than those of your non-meditative and non-needled friends. The book also explores the possibility of locating where notions of self arise. But Zen-Brain Reflections is not only interested in the brain; Austin offers a new and in-depth analysis on the different states of consciousness as well.

We think it’s pretty cool that our spiritual health contributes to our neurological health and if you do too, check out a report from NPR’s Science Friday. Researchers performed an experiment on students who used a form of meditation called integrative body-mind training (IBMT). They found out those who meditated eleven hours or more developed new fibers in the brain’s white matter, creating a more effective connection between different parts of the brain. The students’ behavior also changed; after five days they noticed a difference in their mood and their reaction to stress. After reading the book and listening to this story, you might find yourself in the lotus position a lot more often…

– GLIMPSE correspondent, Allison Nonko

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3 thoughts on “This is your brain on Zen

  1. I suggest the author find a new guru. One relaxes (by performing yoga exercises) so that one CAN meditate. Junk science. If you need to know how see Patanjali.

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