NPR had a wonderful series on the mind-body connection awhile back. If you haven’t already listened to it, there is a great podcast on science and meditation.

The podcast is available for download, and there are some “web extras.”

People who meditate say it induces well-being and emotional balance. In recent years, a group of neuroscientists has begun investigating the practice, dubbed “mindfulness.” As NPR’s Allison Aubrey reports, they are exploring the hypothesis that meditation can actually change the way the brain works.

That seems pretty obvious to me, but I have some first-hand experience with the effects of meditation on my body. It’s interesting to see a clinically-proven take on what many people have known for millenia.

The Wisconsin scientists have demonstrated that meditators do have increased activity in one part of the brain, the left prefrontal cortex, which is associated with emotional well-being. The response is strongest with long-time adept meditators, but the researchers see the same pattern of brain activity in people who are just being taught to meditate.

For more on science and meditation, Health Skills has an interesting blog post on a clinical study about the effect of deep breathing on pain and affect (attitude) among people with fibromyalgia and those without. The findings refer specifically to deep breathing, and not mindfulness meditation, positive visualization, guided meditation, or other meditation techniques.

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