Rejuvenating effects of meditation on brainwave activity

Author: Hou Can
Dept Pathophysiology, Sun Yat-Sen University of Medical Sciences, Guangzhou, China [1]
Conference/Journal: 3rd Nat Acad Conf on Qigong Science
Date published: 1990
Other: Pages: 2 , Word Count: 330

Researches in the past showed that during meditation brain wave activity is different than other states of consciousness. To our knowledge, however, no articles which investigated the 'rejuvenating' or age reversal effect of meditation from a viewpoint of comparing EEG changes during meditation and EEG maturation were seen so far.

We saw in 1984 that in the brain wave activity changes during meditation there seems to be a phenomenon of reversal of aging. The meditation process seems to cause brain wave activity to 'rejuvenate.' When we compare with the data on EEG maturation process, we can see the tendency of EEG changes during meditation (meditation tendency, MT) with the tendency of EEG maturation in individual as chronological age advances (chronological tendency, CT). They seem precisely opposite.

Four examples:

1. The posterior basic (alpha) rhythm changes: CT of posterior basic rhythms is from slow to fast frequency, and the amplitude changes from high to low, whereas MT is from fast to slow frequency, and from low to high amplitude.

2. Changes in responsiveness of the alpha rhythm to visual stimuli (suppression phenomenon or blocking response): CT is for the alpha rhythm suppression phenomenon to be more pronounced with age. MT is to change from pronounced to less pronounced to none.

3. Changes in slow activity during waking state: CT is for such activity to diminishing, for amplitudes to decrease and frequencies increase. MT is for such activity to increase with amplitudes heightening and frequencies slowing.

4. Mixing of slow activity with alpha rhythm: CT is for its disappearance; MT is for its reappearance.

The above comparison suggests that the EEG activity during mediation runs counter to the direction taken in the process of maturation. This seems to be able to take a meditator's brain 'back' to the period of childhood or even infancy, which is to say that meditation seems to have a 'rejuvenating' effect on the brain's electrical activity in adults and old people.

A likely mechanism to explain the phenomena has been postulated.