Evidence for Changes in the Body and Brain from Mindfulness Meditation

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From personal experience, mindfulness meditation gives me a feeling of obtaining a healthy mind and body from the attention and peace I obtained. Such feelings resulting from proper practice of mindfulness meditation is not limited to my own testimony though. According to the Satipatthana Sutra, those who practice such in-and-out breathing become “ardent, aware, and mindful” (“Satipatthana Sutra,” Accessed on 2010). However, it is unclear whether such reported experience is genuine or has effect, or if such mindfulness meditation is similar to a placebo effect.
As psychological field of study advances with its technologies to investigate changes in the mind, using such technology to look at effects of mindfulness meditation would
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Generally, it has been found by researchers that mediators have decreased sympathetic nervous system activity and increased parasympathetic activity (Cahn & Polich, 2006; Harrison, Manocha, & Rubia, 2004). Decreased sympathetic nervous activity implies decreased fight and flight mechanisms, and increased parasympathetic activity implies relaxation and rest mechanisms. One study had mixed results about the effects of mindfulness meditation and the nervous system, because they found increase in both cardiac parasympathetic and sympathetic activity with their participants who went through a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program (Ditto, Eclache, & Goldman, 2006). Yet, this study was limited because its comparison level was a waitlisted group, and the study also used a within study design in which novel reading and mindfulness training was randomly sequenced. Therefore, the lack of effect found in the study may have been affect by individual differences and a comparison with an improperly matched group of control participants. One study looked at cardiovascular changes from practicing mindfulness meditation, with health participants and participants with asthma conditions practicing Sahaja Yoga Meditation (Rai, Seti, & Singh, 1988, as cited in Rubia, 2009). Sahaja Yoga Meditation is a type of meditation that promotes to evoke thoughtless awareness on a daily basis. In the two groups of participants, it was found that those practicing Sahaja

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