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How meditation techniques compare - Zen, Mindfulness, Transcendental Meditation and more
by Jeanne Ball

The Huffington Post    Translate This Article
22 September 2010

On 22 September 2010 The Huffington Post reported: Science reveals that not all meditation practices are the same: different meditation techniques produce different brain wave patterns and measurably different results. It is a joy for Global Good News service to feature this news, which indicates the success of the life-supporting programmes Maharishi has designed to bring fulfilment to the field of health.

'Having lectured on meditation for 25 years, I find that audiences no longer need to be convinced of meditation's practical benefits,' the author states. 'But people do often ask, ''Aren't all meditation techniques basically the same?'' '

'With advancements in neurophysiology, scientists are now identifying distinctions among varieties of meditation practices,' the article explains.

The 'myth' that all forms of meditation 'induce the same, general state of physiological rest—called the ''relaxation response''—has been overturned,' the article continues.

'Hundreds of published studies on meditation techniques show varying effects from different practices—ranging from measures of rest much deeper than the ''relaxation response'' to physiological states no different from sliding back into your easy chair.'

The article describes three main categories of meditation corresponding to 'EEG measurements and the type of cognitive processing or mental activity involved'.

Research on meditation at such universities as UCLA, Maharishi University of Management, University of Oregon, UW Madison, and Yale has helped to define these categories in terms of controlled focus (including Tibetan Buddhism, Qiqong, Zen), open monitoring (including mindfulness practices), and automatic self-transcending (including the Transcendental Meditation Programme).

The article describes practices in each category and the kinds of brainwave activity most often measured during each meditation.

Each practice gives rise to different kinds of effects in daily life. Research 'suggests that concentration techniques may improve focusing ability'; with 'better pain management and reduction of ''negative rumination'' ' indicated from mindfulness-type techniques.

The Transcendental Meditation Programme is a meditation technique in the third category. 'Studies show that the deep rest of ''transcending'' calms the sympathetic nervous system and restores physiological balance—lowering high blood pressure, alleviating chronic anxiety and reducing stress hormones such as cortisol,' the article states.

There is a growing body of research on meditation, particularly in the second and third categories, 'with over 600 studies on the Transcendental Meditation technique alone'.

'Brain research, along with findings on psychological and behavioral effects, gives a more objective framework for health professionals or anyone to determine which meditation technique might be most beneficial for a given purpose,' the article states.

In today's hectic world 'a reliable meditation practice can be your best friend,' the author concludes.

Global Good News comment:

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