meditation practice
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2022 ◽  
Nicholas Ian Bowles ◽  
Jonathan Nicholas Davies ◽  
Nicholas T Van Dam

Objectives: Experimental studies of meditation practice predominantly examine short-term programs and reveal modest benefits. Thus it is not clear to what degree these results represent how contemporary meditators practice nor the dose-response relationship between amount of practice and outcome. This study sought to characterize how contemporary meditators practice; examine any possible dose-response relationships between historical practice and measures of psychological wellbeing; and explore which characteristics of practice most strongly predict positive psychological outcomes.Methods: 1,668 meditators completed demographic and practice characteristics, and outcome measures assessing positive and negative affect, psychological distress, and life satisfaction.Results: We observed a positive relationship between historical meditation practice (accumulated lifetime hours) and improvements in psychological outcomes. Model fit was optimized with a generalized additive model, indicating non-linear effects. The strength of the relationship between practice time and outcomes was generally strongest for the first ~500 hours, before plateauing to some degree. Several practice types, including Vipassana (as taught by S.N. Goenka) and cultivating practices (e.g. compassion, lovingkindness) were more strongly associated with favorable psychological outcomes.Conclusions: Benefits of meditation accrue over time in a non-linear manner, and show variation based on the context within which the meditator practices. These results highlight the importance of understanding how the benefits of meditation accrue over longer time durations than typical standardized programs that have been subject to most empirical investigations in the field.

2022 ◽  
Vol 9 (1) ◽  
pp. 40-41
Sarah Moore ◽  
Denese Playford ◽  
Hanh Ngo ◽  
Rita Barbour ◽  
Kirsten Auret ◽  

BACKGROUNDMedical students experience high levels of stress during their training. Literature suggests that mindfulness can reduce stress and increase self-compassion levels in medical students. However, most mindfulness training programs are delivered face-to-face and require significant time commitments, which can be challenging for rurally-based students with heavy academic workloads and limited support networks. PURPOSETo evaluate the feasibility and efficacy of a brief online Mindfulness training program for medical students based in rural areas, with regards to reducing stress, increasing self-compassion, mindfulness and study engagement. METHODSThis is a non-registered randomised control trial. Participants included both urban and rural medical students from UWA, University of Notre Dame and the RCSWA from 2018-2020. Participants were randomised to the intervention group, an 8-week online mindfulness training program, or the control group. Using quantitative-qualitative mixed-methods approach, we measured the frequency, duration and quality of the participants mindfulness meditation practice, and assessed changes in their perceived stress, self-compassion, mindfulness and study engagement levels. Further, the intervention group recorded a weekly reflective journal documenting their experience of the program. RESULTS114 participants were recruited to the study. 61 were randomised to the intervention, and 53 to the control. Quantitative analysis of the frequency, duration and quality of mindfulness meditation practice and changes in stress, self-compassion, mindfulness and study engagement is currently being conducted. Preliminary qualitative results reveal that participants experienced increased self-awareness, more mindfulness of their day-to-day activities, improved emotional regulation and increased productivity, while also facing difficulties with making time for their mindfulness practice. CONCLUSIONWe anticipate that this study will demonstrate that an online mindfulness training program tailored to reach rurally located medical students is feasible and effective in modifying their stress levels and psychological wellbeing. 

Assessment ◽  
2021 ◽  
pp. 107319112110598
Bassam Khoury ◽  
Rodrigo C. Vergara ◽  
Isabel Sadowski ◽  
Christina Spinelli

Recently developed mindfulness scales have integrated aspects of the body in measuring mindfulness unlike other established scales. However, these scales focused solely on body awareness and did not embrace all aspects of mindfulness and the body. Specifically, they did not integrate embodiment in mindfulness. The proposed Embodied Mindfulness Questionnaire (EMQ) aims to operationalize the proposed notion of “embodied mindfulness” by grounding it into five dimensions, each representing a set of skills that can be cultivated through training and practice: (a) Detachment from Automatic Thinking, (b) Attention and Awareness of Feelings and Bodily Sensations, (c) Connection with the Body, (d) Awareness of the Mind-Body Connection, and (e) Acceptance of Feelings and Bodily Sensations. The EMQ items were developed through consultations with a panel of eight graduate students and a group of 10 experts in the field. Results from a series of three studies supported the proposed five subscales of EMQ and suggested that these subscales are independent and supported by convergent and discriminant evidence. In addition, results suggested that scores of EMQ subscales are different in terms of sensitivity to mindfulness training or meditation practice and experience. Limitations, as well as theoretical and practical implications of the EMQ subscales, are thoroughly discussed.

2021 ◽  
Vol 12 ◽  
Andrew B. Newberg ◽  
Nancy A. Wintering ◽  
Chloe Hriso ◽  
Faezeh Vedaei ◽  
Marie Stoner ◽  

Background: We measured changes in resting brain functional connectivity, with blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), associated with a creative meditation practice that is augmented by clitoral stimulation and is designed to not only achieve a spiritual experience but to help individuals manage their most intimate personal relationships. Briefly, the meditative state is attained by both the male and female participants while the male stimulates the woman’s clitoris. The goal of this practice, called orgasmic meditation (OM), according to the practitioners is not sexual, but to use the focus on clitoral stimulation to facilitate a meditative state of connectedness and calm alertness between the two participants.Methods: fMRI was acquired on 20 pairs of subjects shortly following one of two states that were randomized in their order – during the OM practice or during a neutral condition. The practice is performed while the female is lying down on pillows with the clitoris exposed. During the practice, the male performs digital stimulation of the clitoris for 15 min. Resting BOLD image acquisition was performed at completion of the practice to assess changes in functional connectivity associated with the performance of the practice.Results: The results demonstrated significant changes (p < 0.05) in functional connectivity associated with the OM compared to the neutral condition. For the entire group there was altered connectivity following the OM practice involving the left superior temporal lobe, the frontal lobe, anterior cingulate, and insula. In female subjects, there was altered connectivity involving the cerebellum, thalamus, inferior frontal lobe posterior parietal lobe, angular gyrus, amygdala and middle temporal gyrus, and prefrontal cortex. In males, functional connectivity changes involved the supramarginal gyrus, cerebellum, and orbitofrontal gyrus, cerebellum, parahippocampus, inferior temporal gyrus, and anterior cingulate.Conclusion: Overall, these findings suggest a complex pattern of functional connectivity changes occurring in both members of the couple pair that result from this unique meditation practice. The changes represent a hybrid of functional connectivity findings with some similarities to meditation based practices and some with sexual stimulation and orgasm. This study has broader implications for understanding the dynamic relationship between sexuality and spirituality.

Kunal Desai ◽  
Pratibha Gupta ◽  
Priti Parikh ◽  
Alpa Desai

Stress and lack of quality sleep affect a large portion of the population around the globe, and the COVID-19 pandemic has genuinely brought attention to these problems. This study aimed to investigate whether using a virtual heart-based meditation program is associated with improved stress levels and quality of sleep among participants from the general population during the COVID-19 pandemic. We recruited 63 participants to receive an 8-week virtually conducted Heartfulness meditation program in a prospective pre–post single-arm intervention study from September 28 to November 22 2020. Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) and Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) scores were collected at baseline, at 4 weeks, and 8 weeks. Of the 63 participants enrolled in the study, 36 (57%) completed an 8-week Heartfulness meditation program. There was a significant decrease in PSS (mean difference of 6.68 with 95% C.I. 4.89–8.47, p < 0.0001) and in PSQI (mean difference of 2.05 with 95% C.I. 1.03–3.07, p < 0.0001) between week zero and week eight, regardless of Health Care Professional status. The qualitative thematic analysis strongly supported the survey results. A significant reduction in perceived stress score and improvement in sleep quality index was noted at the end of a virtual Heartfulness meditation program. Moreover, Heartfulness meditation practice may help cultivate the quality of empathy, acceptance, and individual peace. We conclude that the effects of virtually accessible Heartfulness meditation practice need to be explored further in larger studies.

2021 ◽  
Vol 3 (1) ◽  
pp. 8-13
Matthew John Moroz ◽  
Bianca Calagiu

Benefits arising from meditation practice gamification are not overtly obvious. Desires to achieve and progress to higher levels, which are common to gaming, seem diametrically opposed to the ethos underlying traditional meditation practice. We propose, however, that a motivation to gain greater wellbeing and enlightenment via mindfulness meditation practice shares more with the motivation to progress through a game than is initially apparent. We begin by explaining how gamification techniques may be employed in meditation practice with a focus on mitigating the five hindrances to successful practice as described in the Theravada tradition. We then highlight the utility of employing virtual reality as a medium for such simulations. We discuss the potential for beneficial therapeutic applications in patients with mental health disorders and prison populations. We conclude by summarising our position and urging increased attention in this increasingly relevant area of research.

2021 ◽  
Vol 1 (02) ◽  
pp. 44-49
Lenny Dwinijanti ◽  
Willie Japaries ◽  

Introduction: Overweight and obesity not only affect an individual’s health physically but also psychologically. So, it is imperative for a clinician to take care both aspects of the individuals. Methods: This study is to report the effects of acupuncture and meditation therapy on the slimming indices of the overweight and obese women visiting our aesthetic clinic. They were voluntarily segregated into two groups, ie. one group consisted of women who selected acupuncture therapy (AT) only, the other group consisted of women who selected acupuncture and meditation therapy (AMT). Both groups’ body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference (WC) were measured at the first visit and after eight and sixteen sessions of therapy, respectively. The differences between pre-therapy and post-therapy indices and between AT and AMT groups were analysed using two tailed t-test at 95% confidence interval (alpha at 0.05). Results: Subjects were seventeen women with overweight and obesity visiting aesthetic clinic for slimming treatment. Ten women chose AT and seven women chose AMT. After eight and sixteenth sessions of therapy, both AT and AMT groups show very significant reduction in the BMI and WC (P<0.01). The AMT subjects reported that they felt more relaxed and refreshed, and continued meditation practice at home. Discussion: The subjects that chose AMT have significantly lower BMI at the first visit compared to the subjects that chose AT, ie. BMI at 24,33±0,97 kg/m2 and 28,00±2,08 kg/m2(P<0.01), respectively. The age of AMT subjects is in average significantly older than AT subjects, ie. 34,42±5,99 years and 29,2±4,9 years respectively (P<0.01). This may indicate that at the initial or milder state of gaining overweight or obesity, as well as the older women were more aware of the need to seek tranquillity or to overcome the stressful mind through meditation practice.

2021 ◽  
Daniela Calvetti ◽  
Brian Johnson ◽  
Annalisa Pascarella ◽  
Francesca Pitolli ◽  
Erkki Somersalo ◽  

AbstractMeditation practices have been claimed to have a positive effect on the regulation of mood and emotions for quite some time by practitioners, and in recent times there has been a sustained effort to provide a more precise description of the influence of meditation on the human brain. Longitudinal studies have reported morphological changes in cortical thickness and volume in selected brain regions due to meditation practice, which is interpreted as an evidence its effectiveness beyond the subjective self reporting. Using magnetoencephalography (MEG) or electroencephalography to quantify the changes in brain activity during meditation practice represents a challenge, as no clear hypothesis about the spatial or temporal pattern of such changes is available to date. In this article we consider MEG data collected during meditation sessions of experienced Buddhist monks practicing focused attention (Samatha) and open monitoring (Vipassana) meditation, contrasted by resting state with eyes closed. The MEG data are first mapped to time series of brain activity averaged over brain regions corresponding to a standard Destrieux brain atlas. Next, by bootstrapping and spectral analysis, the data are mapped to matrices representing random samples of power spectral densities in $$\alpha$$ α , $$\beta$$ β , $$\gamma$$ γ , and $$\theta$$ θ frequency bands. We use linear discriminant analysis to demonstrate that the samples corresponding to different meditative or resting states contain enough fingerprints of the brain state to allow a separation between different states, and we identify the brain regions that appear to contribute to the separation. Our findings suggest that the cingulate cortex, insular cortex and some of the internal structures, most notably the accumbens, the caudate and the putamen nuclei, the thalamus and the amygdalae stand out as separating regions, which seems to correlate well with earlier findings based on longitudinal studies.

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