Health & Diet Tips

Body-Mind Meditation Reduces Stress

A group of international scientists have finally discovered what we’ve known for ages – that meditation really does improve your attention levels, boost performance and help you cope better with stress.

The study, done in China, randomly assigned groups of university students to meditation or control groups. The meditation group received five days of meditation training using a technique called integrative body-mind training (IBMT). The control group got five days of relaxation training. Before and after training both groups took tests involving attention and reaction to mental stress.

The meditation group showed much greater improvement than the control group in an attention test designed to measure the subjects' abilities to resolve conflict. Stress was induced by mental arithmetic. Both groups initially showed elevated release of the stress hormone cortisol following the maths task, but after training the meditation group showed far less cortisol release, indicating a greater improvement in stress regulation. The meditation group also showed lower levels of anxiety, depression, anger and fatigue than was the case in the control group.

"This study improves the prospect for examining the changes in attention and self-regulation that occur following meditation training," said researcher and psychology professor Michael I. Posner from the University of Oregon in the US. "The study took only five days, so it was possible to randomly assign the students and do a thorough before-and-after analysis of the training effects."

The IBMT approach was developed in the 1990s. The technique avoids struggles to control thought, relying instead 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. Thought control is achieved gradually through posture, relaxation, body-mind harmony and balanced breathing. The researchers noted that IBMT may be effective during short-term as well as long term application because of its integrative use of these components.

IBMT has been found to improve emotional and cognitive performance, as well as social behaviour.

Posner said planned future studies in the US will include functional magnetic resonance imaging to examine any brain network changes induced by training.

The researchers concluded that IBMT is an easy, effective way for improvement in self-regulation in thoughtfulness, emotion and social behaviour. It suggests that attention and stress are flexible skills that can be trained.

This is not the first study to prove meditation is more than a way to relax – recent research also suggests that it is a purposeful way of improving your focus. To read more, Click Here.

Comment on this Article
Email: (this will not be made public)  

© Copyright 2009 KeepTheDoctorAway -     |    About Us Our other websites: - -