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Distinct brain wave patterns emerge during meditation practice
by Global Good News staff writer
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5 February 2013
Meditation practices create noticeable changes in brain wave patterns and brain functioning, experts say.
Norman Rosenthal, MD, a clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University Medical School in Washington, DC, USA, and the bestselling author of Transcendence: Healing and Transformation through Transcendental Meditation and Winter Blues, spoke to an audience of medical professionals about the scientific findings.
Dr Rosenthal spoke at the conference, The New Science of Meditation and Self-Healing: Transcendental Meditation and Mind-Body Medicine, hosted by the University of Maryland Center for Integrative Medicine.
He spoke of EEG (electroencephalography), a recording of electrical activity on the surface of the scalp.
'That gives you a sort of three-dimensional picture of what's going on electrically at the surface of the brain,' he explained.
Then Dr Rosenthal showed a chart of brain activity monitored during three different types of meditation practice.
'What you see here is that [the meditation practices] will generate different electrical patterns, once again illustrating that these are different techniques, all of which might have their advantages, but they are not exactly the same.'
He also showed a graph of both alpha and beta brain wave rhythms, explaining that the alpha wave is a little slower than the beta.
When he showed two pictures side-by-side, one of coherent EEG patterns and one of incoherent EEG, Dr Rosenthal said you don't have to be an EEG specialist to see which is which.
In the coherent EEG pattern, the lines recording brain waves match up and are correlated to each other.
'What that means is that different parts of the brain are ''vibing'' at the same frequency as one another. This is known as coherence. The brain is said to be coherent.'
He added, 'Higher levels of coherence have been found when people meditate with Transcendental Meditation.'
Why is this important? Dr Rosenthal explained that higher coherence is also consistently found with higher performers—successful athletes or businesspeople, for example.
'Those who are more competent will show higher levels of coherence,' Dr Rosenthal concluded.
See related articles:
∙ US: Integrative medicine conference at University of Maryland focuses on healing through meditation
∙ University of Maryland hosts medical conference on benefits of Transcendental Meditation
∙ Conference highlights Transcendental Meditation role in integrative medicine
∙ Medical database holds extensive research on mind-body medicine, meditation
∙ The story behind the bestselling book Transcendence
∙ Dr Norman Rosenthal talks about his early experiences with Transcendental Meditation
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