Meditation to rebuild gray matter in 8 weeks – a Harvard study

This is amazing and, as someone who practices meditation, it makes complete sense to me. We have more control over our physical health than we know.

The study was led by a Harvard-affiliated team of researchers based at Massachusetts General Hospital, and the team’s MRI scans documented for the very first time in medical history how meditation produced massive changes inside the brain’s gray 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 study senior author Sara Lazar of the MGH Psychiatric Neuroimaging Research Program and a Harvard Medical School instructor in psychology. “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…the participants spent an average of 27 minutes per day practicing mindfulness exercises, and this is all it took to stimulate a major increase in gray matter density in the hippocampus, the part of the brain associated with self-awareness, compassion, and introspection. McGreevey adds: “Participant-reported reductions in stress also were correlated with decreased gray-matter density in the amygdala, which is known to play an important role in anxiety and stress. None of these changes were seen in the control group, indicating that they had not resulted merely from the passage of time.”

2 thoughts on “Meditation to rebuild gray matter in 8 weeks – a Harvard study

  1. This is fantastic! I love that there are finally some concrete studies on meditation and relaxation techniques. I just posted my first Biofeedback article today and I know more and more in the chronic pain community are accepting meditation and Biofeedback type therapies as useful tools for pain. It has taken so much time, but finally, it is wonderful to see some progress in this area. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Thank you for alerting me to this blog entry. I just posted about it. It does seem that the concept of biofeedback is gaining traction. Here’s hoping more drs will take it seriously so that their patients believe too. Nothing like an MRI to back it all up!

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