Meditation can be a helpful way to relax and relieve stress. But it can also cause positive changes to the brain, according to a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study included 45 University of Oregon students who either underwent integrative body-mind training (the experimental group) or relaxation training (the control group). The researchers took scans of the participants before and after the training. ]]>HealthDay News]]> reports that participants who did the integrative body-mind training had increased brain connectivity in the anterior cingulate cortex, which began after six hours of practice, but was more noticeable after 11 hours. ]]>The Canadian Institutes of Health and the Canadian Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction]]> point out that the anterior cingulate cortex is more active than the rest of the cingulate cortex when a person is depressed. But why does this brain change occur? The researchers believe that they “may be due to a reorganization of white-matter tracts or due to an increase of myelin that surrounds the brain connections,” according to HealthDay News.
As ]]>ScienceDaily]]> describes it, integrative body-mind training relies “on a state of restful alertness, allowing for a high degree of body-mind awareness while receiving instructions from a coach, who provides breath-adjustment guidance and mental imagery while soothing music plays in the background.” The ]]>National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)]]> adds that meditation focuses on certain factors that can affect a person's health, such as mental, behavior, emotional and social factors.
Other studies have looked at the benefits of integrative body-mind training.