According to research from a Texas Tech University faculty member, Integrative Body-Mind Training (IBMT) — a meditation program developed in China in the 1990s — affects two parts of the brain, in particular the anterior cingulate cortex and adjacent medial pre-frontal cortex, which play roles in attention and memory on the one hand and decision-making, empathy and emotion on the other.
IBMT is a program combining relaxation exercises, breathing exercises, posture exercises and mental visualization. This mind-body approach allows people to access meditation progressively and more easily than techniques that focus on thought control.
After five 20-minute sessions led by an instructor, most participants noticed a significant reduction in stress, anxiety, depression, anger and fatigue. They also saw their attention improve. What's more, IBMT participants saw overall improvements in emotional and cognitive performance, as well as improved social behaviour.
In conclusion, regular practice can be recommended as a means of learning to master oneself physically and emotionally, as meditators become mindful of their thoughts and maintain a healthy distance with their emotions.
The technique could help those with ADHD or learning difficulties to improve academic performances or improve behaviour at school.
A previous American study, published in the journal Translational Psychiatry, found that combined sessions of meditation and sport twice a week for two months reduced depression symptoms by 40 per cent.
Similarly, researchers at the USA's Carnegie Mellon University studied 35 stressed job-hunters following mindfulness meditation training. The technique was found to increase functional connectivity in the brain's resting default mode network in areas important for attention and executive control.