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Effect of Meditation on Cortical Thickness of the Brain

Scientific evidence suggests that meditation alters the functional and structural plasticity of the brain. In the milestone study, Sara Lazar, et al. in 2005, demonstrated that meditation increases the cortical thickness of the brain. Since then a large number of studies, mostly with varying sample sizes are conducted to identify the relationship between meditation techniques and development of cortical thickness in different brain areas. The results have been remarkably consistent. There is increasing evidence that the insula undergoes structural refinement through meditation. Meditation stops insular cortical thinning process. Insular cortical thinning occurs due to age and depression. In this article we focus on the impact of meditation on overall cortical thickness of the brain. Advancements in developmental biology, neuroscience, and medical imaging have brought us closer than ever to understand the effect of meditation on brain.

There are several meditation methods, such as Yoga, Om meditation, Zen, mindfulness, breathing awareness, and Samatha. Specially, Om chanting and meditation has several benefits. The chanting of Om improves the somatic relaxation and the meditation on the meaning of Om increase cognitive relaxation. Special cognitive relaxation of Om meditation and somatic relaxation of Om chanting improves the cortical characteristics of the brain. Moreover, the practice of Om improve immune competence, especially in older populations who often experience a loss of immune function. Om mantra stabilizes the fight-and-flight response of the amygdala. Which improves the gyrification and cerebral characteristics. Continue reading

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