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Author Topic: Mindfulness Meditation Training Changes Brain Structure in Eight Weeks  (Read 2811 times) Average Rating: 0
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Justin Kissel
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« on: January 23, 2011, 07:05:16 AM »

Mindfulness Meditation Training Changes Brain Structure in Eight Weeks

Participating in an 8-week mindfulness meditation program appears to make measurable changes in brain regions associated with memory, sense of self, empathy and stress. In a study that will appear in the January 30 issue of Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, a team led by Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) researchers report the results of their study, the first to document meditation-produced changes over time in the brain's grey matter.

"Although the practice of meditation is associated with a sense of peacefulness and physical relaxation, practitioners have long claimed that meditation also provides cognitive and psychological benefits that persist throughout the day," says Sara Lazar, PhD, of the MGH Psychiatric Neuroimaging Research Program, the study's senior author. "This study demonstrates that changes in brain structure may underlie some of these reported improvements and that people are not just feeling better because they are spending time relaxing."...
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« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2011, 07:22:21 AM »

While there are disorders which mindfulness training seems to improve, it's not for everybody. For instance, two people with Borderline Personality Disorder may experience completely different reactions to mindfulness training, with one improving and the other worsening in symptoms.
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« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2011, 10:37:59 AM »

While there are disorders which mindfulness training seems to improve, it's not for everybody. For instance, two people with Borderline Personality Disorder may experience completely different reactions to mindfulness training, with one improving and the other worsening in symptoms.

From my experience and research, there are very few people who do not experience benefit from mindfulness meditation.

A great book on the subject is: Full Catastrophe Living, by Jon Kabbat-Zinn.

JKZ runs stress clinics all over North America wherein mindfulness meditation training is undertaken by people with a whole range of psychiatric disorders and physical pain.

http://www.amazon.com/Full-Catastrophe-Living-Wisdom-Illness/dp/0385303122

There is also an interesting video called Doing Time doing Vipassana (Vipassana being mindfulness meditation) that features prison inmates going through intensive 10 day meditation training sessions with astounding results (eg prisoners being reformed, calling the parents of victims they murdered, hugging prison guards, understanding their pathological tendencies after years of living with them, etc).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gB_YBJffDwI

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« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2011, 11:02:20 AM »

While there are disorders which mindfulness training seems to improve, it's not for everybody. For instance, two people with Borderline Personality Disorder may experience completely different reactions to mindfulness training, with one improving and the other worsening in symptoms.

From my experience and research, there are very few people who do not experience benefit from mindfulness meditation.

A great book on the subject is: Full Catastrophe Living, by Jon Kabbat-Zinn.

JKZ runs stress clinics all over North America wherein mindfulness meditation training is undertaken by people with a whole range of psychiatric disorders and physical pain.

http://www.amazon.com/Full-Catastrophe-Living-Wisdom-Illness/dp/0385303122

There is also an interesting video called Doing Time doing Vipassana (Vipassana being mindfulness meditation) that features prison inmates going through intensive 10 day meditation training sessions with astounding results (eg prisoners being reformed, calling the parents of victims they murdered, hugging prison guards, understanding their pathological tendencies after years of living with them, etc).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gB_YBJffDwI

Never underestimate the power of being silent!!  Grin
Perhaps my view is scewed, but there is a Vipassana Centre here in the Blue Mountains. I work with the Psychiatric Emergency Team, and we have had to schedule (I think you call it "commit") as involuntary patients four people over three years who had their first psychotic episode while undertaking a ten day Vipassana course. One of them tried to kill their teacher with a mattock.
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« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2011, 11:07:02 AM »

While there are disorders which mindfulness training seems to improve, it's not for everybody. For instance, two people with Borderline Personality Disorder may experience completely different reactions to mindfulness training, with one improving and the other worsening in symptoms.

From my experience and research, there are very few people who do not experience benefit from mindfulness meditation.

A great book on the subject is: Full Catastrophe Living, by Jon Kabbat-Zinn.

JKZ runs stress clinics all over North America wherein mindfulness meditation training is undertaken by people with a whole range of psychiatric disorders and physical pain.

http://www.amazon.com/Full-Catastrophe-Living-Wisdom-Illness/dp/0385303122

There is also an interesting video called Doing Time doing Vipassana (Vipassana being mindfulness meditation) that features prison inmates going through intensive 10 day meditation training sessions with astounding results (eg prisoners being reformed, calling the parents of victims they murdered, hugging prison guards, understanding their pathological tendencies after years of living with them, etc).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gB_YBJffDwI

Never underestimate the power of being silent!!  Grin
One of them tried to kill their teacher with a mattock.
But was he mindful while trying to kill his teacher?
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« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2011, 11:13:12 AM »

While there are disorders which mindfulness training seems to improve, it's not for everybody. For instance, two people with Borderline Personality Disorder may experience completely different reactions to mindfulness training, with one improving and the other worsening in symptoms.

From my experience and research, there are very few people who do not experience benefit from mindfulness meditation.

A great book on the subject is: Full Catastrophe Living, by Jon Kabbat-Zinn.

JKZ runs stress clinics all over North America wherein mindfulness meditation training is undertaken by people with a whole range of psychiatric disorders and physical pain.

http://www.amazon.com/Full-Catastrophe-Living-Wisdom-Illness/dp/0385303122

There is also an interesting video called Doing Time doing Vipassana (Vipassana being mindfulness meditation) that features prison inmates going through intensive 10 day meditation training sessions with astounding results (eg prisoners being reformed, calling the parents of victims they murdered, hugging prison guards, understanding their pathological tendencies after years of living with them, etc).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gB_YBJffDwI

Never underestimate the power of being silent!!  Grin
One of them tried to kill their teacher with a mattock.
But was he mindful while trying to kill his teacher?
He was "mindful" that his killing his teacher was the only way to save the world.
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« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2011, 01:53:24 PM »

While there are disorders which mindfulness training seems to improve, it's not for everybody. For instance, two people with Borderline Personality Disorder may experience completely different reactions to mindfulness training, with one improving and the other worsening in symptoms.

From my experience and research, there are very few people who do not experience benefit from mindfulness meditation.

A great book on the subject is: Full Catastrophe Living, by Jon Kabbat-Zinn.

JKZ runs stress clinics all over North America wherein mindfulness meditation training is undertaken by people with a whole range of psychiatric disorders and physical pain.

http://www.amazon.com/Full-Catastrophe-Living-Wisdom-Illness/dp/0385303122

There is also an interesting video called Doing Time doing Vipassana (Vipassana being mindfulness meditation) that features prison inmates going through intensive 10 day meditation training sessions with astounding results (eg prisoners being reformed, calling the parents of victims they murdered, hugging prison guards, understanding their pathological tendencies after years of living with them, etc).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gB_YBJffDwI

Never underestimate the power of being silent!!  Grin
Perhaps my view is scewed, but there is a Vipassana Centre here in the Blue Mountains. I work with the Psychiatric Emergency Team, and we have had to schedule (I think you call it "commit") as involuntary patients four people over three years who had their first psychotic episode while undertaking a ten day Vipassana course. One of them tried to kill their teacher with a mattock.

Wow!  Shocked Fair enough then! Not suitable for everyone...
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« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2011, 02:35:45 PM »

While there are disorders which mindfulness training seems to improve, it's not for everybody. For instance, two people with Borderline Personality Disorder may experience completely different reactions to mindfulness training, with one improving and the other worsening in symptoms.

From my experience and research, there are very few people who do not experience benefit from mindfulness meditation.

A great book on the subject is: Full Catastrophe Living, by Jon Kabbat-Zinn.

JKZ runs stress clinics all over North America wherein mindfulness meditation training is undertaken by people with a whole range of psychiatric disorders and physical pain.

http://www.amazon.com/Full-Catastrophe-Living-Wisdom-Illness/dp/0385303122

There is also an interesting video called Doing Time doing Vipassana (Vipassana being mindfulness meditation) that features prison inmates going through intensive 10 day meditation training sessions with astounding results (eg prisoners being reformed, calling the parents of victims they murdered, hugging prison guards, understanding their pathological tendencies after years of living with them, etc).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gB_YBJffDwI

Never underestimate the power of being silent!!  Grin
Perhaps my view is scewed, but there is a Vipassana Centre here in the Blue Mountains. I work with the Psychiatric Emergency Team, and we have had to schedule (I think you call it "commit") as involuntary patients four people over three years who had their first psychotic episode while undertaking a ten day Vipassana course. One of them tried to kill their teacher with a mattock.
I would distinguish meditation/contemplation that develops mindfulness, on the one hand, and vipassana, on the other, which is a particular type of meditation/contemplation "which focuses on nonjudgmental awareness of sensations, feelings and state of mind", commonly anchored by bringing attention back to the breath. There are many meditation/contemplation practices that increase mindfulness (or "nepsis", in Greek), like lectio divina, the Jesus Prayer, yoga, and singing devotional hymns.

However, a practice like vipassana, when divorced from its Buddhist context, involves mere breath awareness and noticing of thoughts and feelings. Such a practice would work best for people who are able to handle whatever thoughts and feelings arise. Such people may be emotionally healthy in general, or they may (also) have a committed spiritual/religious practice that allows them to place potent subconscious thoughts and feelings in a larger context. People who are emotionally unstable, or without an anchor in a spiritual tradition, would probably find vipassana less helpful than other sorts of meditations/contemplations. And, in fact, vipassana, and other sort of 'bare-bones' meditations/contemplations, may be detrimental for them.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2011, 02:36:41 PM by Jetavan » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2011, 03:18:57 PM »

Quote
However, a practice like vipassana, when divorced from its Buddhist context, involves mere breath awareness and noticing of thoughts and feelings. Such a practice would work best for people who are able to handle whatever thoughts and feelings arise. Such people may be emotionally healthy in general, or they may (also) have a committed spiritual/religious practice that allows them to place potent subconscious thoughts and feelings in a larger context. People who are emotionally unstable, or without an anchor in a spiritual tradition, would probably find vipassana less helpful than other sorts of meditations/contemplations. And, in fact, vipassana, and other sort of 'bare-bones' meditations/contemplations, may be detrimental for them.

I would add to this that a lot would depend on the approach.  For instance, someone with psychiatric/psychologcial issues meditating at a stress clinic for therapeutic purposes, under supervision, and beginning with short meditation sessions might still benefit from the practice, while they would perhaps not do so well if thrown into one of S.N. Goenka's intensive 10 day Vipassana boot-camps.

« Last Edit: January 23, 2011, 03:37:50 PM by stavros_388 » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2011, 05:55:20 PM »

While there are disorders which mindfulness training seems to improve, it's not for everybody. For instance, two people with Borderline Personality Disorder may experience completely different reactions to mindfulness training, with one improving and the other worsening in symptoms.

Actually the most successful thus far in treating BPD is root in mindfulness, dialectical behavior therapy.

Almost no one is qualified to give a BPD diagnosis and I am not how serious you were being, but I have seen first hand the merits of this treatment (there is a more to it than mindfulness) both with BPD and other chronic disordering problems.

Most of these "mindfulness" studies with "brain chemistry" are really rubbish once you look at them thoroughly.

Also, in DBT, mindfulness is more broadly defined than what most Westerners have come to expect. Each client is encourage to experiment and find what discipline works best for them.

FWIW.
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« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2011, 09:04:51 PM »

My son has been between a rock and a hard place with his bi-polar disorder.  He cannot afford treatment in a clinical setting and his insurance does not cover mental health.  He's been using mindfulness meditation for the last three months.  I've noticed a difference - even in his manic states he is much more focused.  Today we talked about living with bi-polar disorder untreated (this was my father's choice as well - and he's very much a 'beautiful mind' example.  H'e's made his illness work for him.)  I'm thankful.  Very thankful that he's found a discipline which helps. 

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« Reply #11 on: January 23, 2011, 09:09:48 PM »

What are some similarities between this 'mindful meditation' and hesychastic practice?
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« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2011, 09:54:13 PM »

What are some similarities between this 'mindful meditation' and hesychastic practice?
The practice of being in awareness of the breath, I suppose, is one similarity.
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« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2011, 10:49:17 PM »

What are some similarities between this 'mindful meditation' and hesychastic practice?

Too broad and complicated a subject. Given that people can't even agree on what either of the above terms mean.
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