Brain scans of meditators show that the effects of long-term meditation practice are carried over into non-meditating states. Many meditation techniques aim to increase awareness of ongoing experiences through sustained attention and detachment – observation of these experiences with the intent not to analyse or judge them. With long-term practice, meditators report that these qualities of increased awareness and greater detachment are carried over into everyday life. Japanese investigators hypothesised that the neuroplasticity effects of meditation, which are correlates of increased awareness and detachment, would therefore be detectable in a no-task resting state. Electroencephalography (EEG) was used to compare the brains of qigong meditators and non-meditating controls while at rest. Differences in brain activity between groups were found in the slow delta EEG frequency band (which reflects inhibitory brain functions). In the meditators, appraisal systems were inhibited, while brain areas involved in the detection and integration of sensory information showed increased activation. The authors conclude that the neuroplasticity effects of long-term meditation practice, subjectively described as increased awareness and greater detachment, are carried over into non-meditating states. (Meditators and non-meditators: EEG source imaging during resting. Brain Topogr. 2009 Nov;22(3):158-65).

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