When science meets mindfulness (The Harvard Gazette)
Researcher Gaelle Desbordes is probing mindfulness meditation’s effect on depression, using functional magnetic resonance imaging to take before and after images of the brains of depressed patients who’ve learned to meditate.
After eight weeks of training in mindful attention, meditation note the amygdala is less activated after the meditation training.
Courtesy of Gaelle Desbordes In her current work, she is exploring meditation effects on the brains of clinically depressed patients, a group for whom studies have shown meditation to be effective.
In the 1970s, when transcendental meditation surged in popularity, HerbertBenson, a professor at Harvard Medical School and what was then Beth Israel hospital, explored what he called ”The Relaxation Response,” identifying it as the common, functional attribute of transcendental meditation, yoga, and other forms of meditation, including deep religious prayer. Recent scientific exploration has largely focused on the secular practice of mindful meditation, but meditation is also a component of several ancient religious traditions, with variations.