Meditation Can Lead To Dramatic Enhancement In Cognitive Performance,

Not All Meditative Techniques Impact the Body Mind Alike

13/08/2014 06:06 GMTNational University of Singapore

Back in the day, our spiritual teacher used to make a point of explaining the wide range of meditations. Each designed for specific results, we used to experiment endlessly. Breath meditations, chanting meditations, silent attention and in motion all work in different ways impacting the body mind spirit.

NUS study revealed that Vajrayana meditation techniques associated with Tibetan Buddhism can enhance brain performance

Contrary to popular belief, not all meditation techniques produce similar effects of body and mind. Indeed, a recent study by researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) has demonstrated for the first time that different types of Buddhist meditation – namely the Vajrayana and Theravada styles of meditation – elicit qualitatively different influences on human physiology and behaviour, producing arousal and relaxation responses respectively.

In particular, the NUS research team found that Vajrayana meditation, which is associated with Tibetan Buddhism, can lead to enhancements in cognitive performance.

The study by Associate Professor Maria Kozhevnikov and Dr Ido Amihai from the Department of Psychology at the NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences was first published in the journal PLOS ONE in July 2014.

Vajrayana and Theravada meditation produce different physiological responses

Previous studies had defined meditation as a relaxation response and had attempted to categorise meditation as either involving focused or distributed attentional systems. Neither of these hypotheses received strong empirical support, and most of the studies focused on Theravada meditative practices.

Assoc Prof Kozhevnikov and Dr Amihai examined four different types of meditative practices: two types of Vajrayana meditations (Tibetan Buddhism) practices (Visualisation of self-generation-as-Deity and Rig-pa) and two types of Theravada practices (Shamatha and Vipassana).

They collected electrocardiographic (EKG) and electroencephalographic (EEG) responses and also measured behavioural performance on cognitive tasks using a pool of experienced Theravada practitioners from Thailand and Nepal, as well as Vajrayana practitioners from Nepal.

They observed that physiological responses during the Theravada meditation differ significantly from those during the Vajrayana meditation. Theravada meditation produced enhanced parasympathetic activation (relaxation). In contrast, Vajrayana meditation did not show any evidence of parasympathetic activity but showed an activation of the sympathetic system (arousal).

The researchers had also observed an immediate dramatic increase in performance on cognitive tasks following only Vajrayana styles of meditation. They noted that such dramatic boost in attentional capacity is impossible during a state of relaxation. Their results show that Vajrayana and Theravada styles of meditation are based on different neurophysiological mechanisms, which give rise to either an arousal or relaxation response.

Applications of the research findings

The findings from the study showed that Vajrayana meditation can lead to dramatic enhancement in cognitive performance, suggesting that Vajrayana meditation could be especially useful in situations where it is important to perform at one’s best, such as during competition or states of urgency. On the other hand, Theravada styles of meditation are an excellent way to decrease stress, release tension, and promote deep relaxation.

Further research

After seeing that even a single session of Vajrayana meditation can lead to radical enhancements in brain performance, Assoc Prof Kozhevnikov and Dr Amihai will be investigating whether permanent changes could occur after long-term practice. The researchers are also looking at how non-practitioners can benefit from such meditative practices.

Assoc Prof Kozhevnikov said, “Vajrayana meditation typically requires years of practice, so we are also looking into whether it is also possible to acquire the beneficial effects of brain performance by practicing certain essential elements of the meditation. This would provide an effective and practical method for non-practitioners to quickly increase brain performance in times of need.”

 

→  Read full article

Hemp Revolution Research Case Underway

Nutrition News Hemp Revolution Cover

Hemp Revolution Is Well Underway

Ongoing research into the complex compounds found in cannabis are adding to the knowledge base  Dr. Daniele Piomelli offers testimony on Medical Cannabis

Dr. Daniele Piomelli, Editor-in-Chief of Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, provided testimony on the science behind Cannabis research at a Senate Judiciary Committee, and Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism, hearing on “Researching the Potential Medical Benefits and Risks of Marijuana.”

The hearing was held on July 13, 2016, and was a timely discussion about researching the potential medical benefits of the Cannabis plant and its cannabinoid chemical components.Testimony was offered to the Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism. I think that says it all when it comes to the dogged reluctance to putting the research we already have into wide spread medical use.

The hearing also addressed further removal of unnecessary barriers to research on cannabis and cannabinoids; especially, cannabidiol in the United States, where we like to think of ourselves as exceptional. An in the case of adopting medicinal cannabis, we are exceptionally resistant to health and wellness.

 

The Glycaemic Outcomes Of Cinnamon

Cinnamon Stick and Powder

The Glycaemic Outcomes Of Cinnamon, A Review Of The Experimental Evidence And Clinical Trials

Arjuna B. Medagama Email author Nutrition Journal201514:108 DOI: 10.1186/s12937-015-0098-9 ©  Medagama. 2015

Recent estimates show that over 80 % of people living in developing countries depend on Complimentary Alternative Medicine for treatment of health conditions [9]. In the United States an increase of 380 % is seen in the use of herbal remedies [13]. The economic burden of CAMs is substantial, with the UK population in 2001 having spent an estimated 340 million pounds on CAMs [14]. More recently in 2013, Herman estimates the cost of Complementary and Integrative Medicine (CIM) in the US to be 34 billion dollars [15].

Integrative medicine is a new discipline of medicine that combines conventional medicine with evidence-based complementary medicines. Patients with diabetes are increasingly eager to be part of their disease management and keen to try out integrative strategies that involve lifestyle changes and self management [16].

Food as medicine is still the quickest direct route to wellness. Now we’re just going to prove it to ourselves all over again.

→  Read full article

New Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research Journal

25 June 2015 Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., Publishers

“…carefully prescribed medical use of marijuana may in fact be appropriate and we should follow the science as opposed to ideology on this issue,”

Mary Ann Liebert, publisher of the newly launched peer-reviewed open access journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, strongly supports President Obama’s statement that “…carefully prescribed medical use of marijuana may in fact be appropriate and we should follow the science as opposed to ideology on this issue,” when asked about a pending Senate bill seeking to change federal law regarding state-legalized medical marijuana programs.

Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, a fully open access journal will be the authoritative source for research, discussion, and debate. Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers (http://www.liebertpub.com/) will publish the Journal under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 (CC BY) license to ensure broad dissemination and participation.

Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research will publish fully peer-reviewed, evidence-based original articles, review articles, and perspectives on cannabis, cannabinoids, and the endocannabinoid system.

The Journal will publish a broad range of human and animal studies including basic and translational research; clinical studies; behavioral, social, and epidemiological issues; and ethical, legal, and regulatory controversies.

An interdisciplinary community including pharmacologists and psychopharmacologists, toxicologists, biochemists, neurologists, psychiatrists, physicians, and other healthcare practitioners, addiction specialists, and regulators and policymakers are invited to participate in this new open access resource.

Topics in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research will include: Biochemical process of the endocannabinoid system * Cannabinoid receptors and signaling

* Pharmaceuticals based on cannabis and cannabinoids * Optimal dosing and drug delivery

* Short- and long-term effects on the brain and behavior * Toxicological studies

* Analgesic effects, including neuropathic pain and chronic nerve injury

* Neurological disorders, including epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and glaucoma * Use of cannabis as antinauseants and antispasmodics

* Immune function and chronic inflammation, including HIV * Cancer and cancer-related treatment

* Screening and assessment for marijuana misuse and addiction * Social, behavioral, and public health impact

* Ethics, regulation, legalization, and public policy.

Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research (http://www.liebertpub.com/can) will build a central forum and repository for peer-reviewed open access papers, as more high-quality research is needed to move the field forward.

“Cannabis research and its applications for therapy will create new challenges as its promise is evaluated,” says Mary Ann Liebert, founder, President, and CEO of the company that bears her name.

“Scientists in the lab and those on the front lines of patient care now have an important new educational forum. Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research (http://www.liebertpub.com/can, which is fully open access, will be the Journal of record.”

 

Health Habits Of Dietary Supplement Users

 

Health habits and other characteristics

of dietary supplement users: A review

It’s always a welcome development to see a story that backs up what the majority of Americans already know. Taking nutritional supplements is part of a healthier lifestyle and in fact, healthier outcomes.  That’s quite a contrast to the negative press appearing regularly about  how  nutritional supplements are worthless or even dangerous. Just keep taking big pharma’s  answers to  all our health problems. Talk about not being clear on the health care concept.  I guess two thirds of adult Americans must be wrong.

Published: 6 February 2014

Annette Dickinson and Douglas MacKay

Abstract (provisional)

 

Dietary supplements are used by half to two-thirds of American adults, and the evidence suggests that this usage is one component of a larger effort to develop a healthier lifestyle. Dietary supplement users tend on average to be better educated and to have somewhat higher incomes than nonusers, and these factors may contribute to their health-consciousness.

Woman taking vitaminsDietary supplement use also tends to be more prevalent among women than among men, and the prevalence of use increases with age in both men and women. Numerous surveys document that users of dietary supplements are significantly more likely than nonusers to have somewhat better dietary patterns, exercise regularly, maintain a healthy weight, and avoid tobacco products.

While supplement users tend to have better diets than nonusers, the differences are relatively small, their diets have some substantial nutrient shortfalls, and their supplement use has been shown to improve the adequacy of nutrient intakes. Overall, the evidence suggests that users of dietary supplements are seeking wellness and are consciously adopting a variety of lifestyle habits that they consider to contribute to healthy living.

 

The complete article is available as a provisional PDF. The fully formatted PDF and HTML versions are in production.

Author Affiliations

Email: Annette Dickinson annettedickinson@comcast.net – Douglas MacKay dmackay@crnusa.org

 

 

Superfoods cover image

Play The Is It Healthy Game!

Read Nutrition News

Making Healthy Choices Easier Than You Think

You have Successfully Subscribed!