07. January 2016 · Comments Off · Categories: Chanting, Chinese Herbal Medicine

Indian researchers have confirmed that listening to the sound of the mantra ‘Om’ activates areas of the brain involved in generating feelings of empathy, and relaxes parts of the brain used in everyday cognition. The sound of Om (or Aum) is of Hindu origin, and is also used in Buddhist and Jain chanting practices. The study used fMRI scanners to monitor the brain activity of 21 men. Three sound conditions were compared: Om, a similar non-meaningful sound (the sound ‘Tom’) and a meaningful sound (the Hindi word Aam). The results revealed that, compared with the other sounds, listening to the sound Om specifically recruits neural systems and activates brain areas (bilateral cerebellum, left middle frontal gyros and right precuneus) that are implicated in emotional empathy. (Neuro­cognitive aspects of “OM” sound/syllable perception: A functional neuroimaging study. Cogn Emot. 2015;29(3):432-41).