REM Sleep-Like Response Hypothesis on the Neurophysiological Changes Due to Sustained Attention in Qigong

Author: Zhangi T 2//Hirasawa M 1//Yamamoto M 1//Kawano K 1,3
National Institute of Radiological Sciences (Chiba, Japan) [1]//Ochanomizu Women's University (Tokyo, Japan) [2]//Nippon Medical School (Tokyo, Japan)[3]
Conference/Journal: J Intl Soc Life Info Science
Date published: 2000
Other: Volume ID: 18 , Issue ID: 1 , Pages: 134-146 , Word Count: 198

Since sustained attention to a specific object is the main characteristic of qigong exercise and meditation, in this paper the authors overview the physiological changes in the state of qigong (by reviewing some studies on qigong and meditation with EEG, PET) based on recent knowledge on attention and wake-sleep regulatory mechanisms. It is observed that the alpha and theta activities of EEGs increase, and activities of the vigilance attentional network in the right frontal lobe, the thalamus, and the innominate substance (a part of the basal forebrain) related to levels of arousal decrease. Furthermore activation of limbic system is a common point between REM sleep and the state of qigong. It is inferred that in the longterm sustained attention of qigong, due to the decline of activity in the noradrenergic system in which the locus ceruleus has the leading role, activities of the prefrontal lobe and basal forebrain decrease. The REM activating-type ones in the cell group ch5 and ch6 of cholinergic neurons, moreover the REM regulatory mechanism in the lower part of the brainstem are affected owing to disinhibition of the descending output from the posterior hypothalamic area, and a state similar to REM sleep is experienced.