Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Body-mind meditation boosts performance, reduces stress

10.10.2007
Study in China seen as launching pad for larger, more comprehensive inquiry on how meditation works

A team of researchers from China and the University of Oregon have developed an approach for neuroscientists to study how meditation might provide improvements in a person's attention and response to stress.

The study, done in China, randomly assigned college undergraduate students to 40-person experimental or control groups. The experimental group received five days of meditation training using a technique called the 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 findings appear online this week ahead of publication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The experimental group showed greater improvement than the control in an attention test designed to measure the subjects' abilities to resolve conflict among stimuli. Stress was induced by mental arithmetic. Both groups initially showed elevated release of the stress hormone cortisol following the math task, but after training the experimental group showed less cortisol release, indicating a greater improvement stress regulation. The experimental 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 brain mechanisms involved in the changes in attention and self-regulation that occur following meditation training," said co-author Michael I. Posner, professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Oregon. "The study took only five days, so it was possible to randomly assign the subjects and do a thorough before-and-after analysis of the training effects."

The IBMT approach was developed in the 1990s. Its effects have been studied in China since 1995. 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 authors noted in the study that IBMT may be effective during short-term application because of its integrative use of these components.

IBMT has been found to improve emotional and cognitive performance, as well as social behavior, in people, said lead author Yi-Yuan Tang, a professor in the Institute of Neuroinformatics and Laboratory for Body and Mind at Dalian University of Technology in Dalian, China. Tang currently is a visiting scholar at the University of Oregon, where he is working with Posner on a new and larger study to be conducted in the United States.

The current study did not include direct measures of brain changes, although previous studies have suggested alterations have occurred in brain networks. Posner said the planned studies in the United States will include functional magnetic resonance imaging to examine any brain network changes induced by training.

In summary, the 11-member team wrote: "IBMT is an easy, effective way for improvement in self-regulation in cognition, emotion and social behavior. Our study is consistent with the idea that attention, affective processes and the quality of moment-to-moment awareness are flexible skills that can be trained."

At this point, the findings suggest a measurable benefit that people could achieve through body-mind meditation, especially involving an effective training regimen, but larger studies are needed to fully test the findings of this small, short-term study, Posner said.

The project was supported by the grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China, Ministry of Education of China and the UO's Brain, Biology and Machine Initiative.

Co-authors with Tang and Posner were: Yinghua Ma, Junhong Wang, Yaxin Fan, Shigang Feng, Qilin Lu, Qingbao Yu and Danni Sui, all of the Institute of Neuroinformatics and Laboratory for Body and Mind at Dalian University of Technology, Ming Fan of the Institute of Basic Medical Sciences in Beijing, and Mary K. Rothbart, professor emerita of psychology at the University of Oregon. Tang also is affiliated with the Key Laboratory for Mental Health and Center for Social & Organizational Behavior, both located in the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing.

Jim Barlow | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://psychweb.uoregon.edu/
http://www.neuro.uoregon.edu/ionmain/htdocs/faculty/posner.html
http://www.uoregon.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>