Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles have established a link between meditation and the amount of gray matter in the brain. Based on the analysis of a group of 100 people, it was found that meditation slows down the natural process of age-related decrease in gray matter.
The gray matter is the main component of our nervous system, it is in it that neurons are located. It is known that starting from about 25-30 years, the volume of the brain in general and the amount of gray matter in particular begins to decrease. Over the past 40 years, the average human life expectancy has increased by more than 10 years, but the number of diseases associated with the degradation of the nervous system has also increased.
As the lead author of the study, Dr. Eileen Luders, says: “In this regard, it is very important that the increase in life expectancy does not come at the cost of deterioration in its quality. A lot of research focuses on factors that increase the risk of mental disorders and degeneration of nerve tissue, but few are turning to approaches to improve brain health. ”
The study involved 100 people, 50 of whom had been meditating for more than 4 years, and the other half did not practice at all. The age of the participants ranged from 24 to 77 years. The data obtained using MRI of the brain showed a clear inverse relationship between the amount of gray matter and age in all participants. However, averaged data show that the decrease in the amount of this substance in those who practice meditation is slower.
Scientists found it unexpected that the effect is not only pronounced on the average graph, but also noticeable in the images – there is a difference in the state of the gray matter in all regions of the brain. Luders said she hopes the results of this study will spur other teams into similar experiments that could ultimately help people improve and maintain their health throughout their lives.
Various studies have established the beneficial effects of regular meditation on the body. Exercises for meditation have been known for more than one thousand years, and are included in the arsenal of almost all world religions. They are aimed primarily at calming the mind, which should lead to both the healing of the spirit and the body. You can meditate while sitting, lying down, standing and even walking. To concentrate consciousness, use internal sensations, images, or external objects or phenomena. The most famous posture for meditation is sitting, eyes closed, back straight, head slightly lowered, legs crossed, hands on knees with palms up, palms open, thumbs and forefingers connected.