A certain type of Chinese mindfulness meditation has been shown the cause physical changes in the brain. Scientists believe that these changes may help to improve or even prevent mental illness.
In contrast to many meditation techniques, which require the practitioner to let go of their thoughts and mindfulness while slipping into a meditative trance, this body-mind integrative technique from China emphasizes awareness of not only the body and mind, but also the environment.
After 1 month of practicing this type of meditation regularly, participants in a study at the University of Oregon reported better moods after meditation practice. MRI imaging also showed that participants had an increase in myelin (protective tissue in the brain) as well as an increase in signaling connections in the brain.
The researchers concluded that the changes in the brain found in the study, “could provide a means for intervention to improve or prevent mental disorders.”
The actual type of meditation practice used in the study is called integrative body-mind training or IBMT and it has been adapted from Traditional Chinese Medicine, starting in the 1990’s. For more information about the study and this Chinese mindfulness meditation technique, check out the University of Oregon