Exciting new research that will appear in the January edition of the journal, Psychiatry Research, shows that meditation affects the flow of blood to the brain.
Scientists at the Almanson-Lovelace Brain Mapping Center at the University of California Los Angeles studied the effects of meditation on the “stress” circuits of the brain. Ten experienced meditators performed two types of meditation: a focus-based meditative technique and a breath-based practice. The meditators’ brains were scanned using MRI technology before starting, during the meditation practices, and following meditation.
Researchers found that four regions of the brain were affected during meditation and there were different patterns of blood flow to the brain between the two types of meditation states; however, both techniques improved blood flow to the brain. Some of the brain changes continued even after meditation stopped.
While research in this area is still in its infancy, this positive impact of meditation on blood flow to the brain may have applications in brain disorders or stroke.
Michelle Schoffro Cook, BSc, RNCP, ROHP, DNM.