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giovedì 23 gennaio 2014

Meditazione. Funziona.

Immaginando che questo articolo sull'esistenza di un effetto placebo per il sonno avesse a che fare con la meditazione (nessun riferimento esplicito, però...), ho fatto un breve giro su Scholar per vedere cosa trovavo sulla meditazione, scoprendo che:
Oxygen consumption, heart rate, skin resistance, and electroenceph-alograph measurements were recorded before, during, and after subjects practiced a technique called transcendental meditation. There were significant changes between the control period and the meditation period in all measurements. During meditation, oxygen consumption and heart rate decreased, skin resistance increased, and the electroencephalogram showed specific changes in certain frequencies. These results seem to distinguish the state produced by transcendental meditation from commonly encountered states of consciousness and suggest that it may have practical applications.
Robert Keith Wallace (1970). Physiological Effects of Transcendental Meditation. Science, Vol. 167 no. 3926 pp. 1751-1754. doi:10.1126/science.167.3926.1751
Ninety chronic pain patients were trained in mindfulness meditation in a 10-week Stress Reduction and Relaxation Program. Statistically significant reductions were observed in measures of present-moment pain, negative body image, inhibition of activity by pain, symptoms, mood disturbance, and psychological symptomatology, including anxiety and depression. Pain-related drug utilization decreased and activity levels and feelings of self-esteem increased. Improvement appeared to be independent of gender, source of referral, and type of pain. A comparison group of pain patients did not show significant improvement on these measures after traditional treatment protocols. At follow-up, the improvements observed during the meditation training were maintained up to 15 months post-meditation training for all measures except present-moment pain. The majority of subjects reported continued high compliance with the meditation practice as part of their daily lives. The relationship of mindfulness meditation to other psychological methods for chronic pain control is discussed.
Jon Kabat-Zinn, Leslie Lipworth, Robert Burney (1985). The clinical use of mindfulness meditation for the self-regulation of chronic pain. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp 163-190. doi:10.1007/BF00845519
We report for the first time significant increases in left-sided anterior activation, a pattern previously associated with positive affect, in the meditators compared with the nonmeditators. We also found significant increases in antibody titers to influenza vaccine among subjects in the meditation compared with those in the wait-list control group. Finally, the magnitude of increase in left-sided activation predicted the magnitude of antibody titer rise to the vaccine.
These findings demonstrate that a short program in mindfulness meditation produces demonstrable effects on brain and immune function. These findings suggest that meditation may change brain and immune function in positive ways and underscore the need for additional research.
Richard J. Davidson et al. (2003). Alterations in Brain and Immune Function Produced by Mindfulness Meditation. Psychosomatic Medicine, vol. 65, no. 4, 564-570. doi:10.1097/​01.PSY.0000077505.67574.E3 (pdf)
E si potrebbero allora riassumere così i vantaggi (o almeno alcuni dei vantaggi) della meditazione:
Reports that Ss during the practice of transcendental meditation manifested physiological signs of a wakeful, hypometabolic state:
(a) reductions in oxygen consumption, carbon dioxide elimination, and rate and volume of respiration;
(b) decreased blood-lactate level;
(c) slowed heartbeat;
(d) increased skin resistance, and
(e) an EEG pattern of slow alpha waves with occasional theta-wave activity.
These changes bore little resemblance to physiological changes associated with other relaxed states, e.g., sleep and hypnosis.
Wallace, Robert K.; Benson, Herbert (1972). Scientific American, Vol 226(2), 84-90. doi: 10.1038/scientificamerican0272-84 (abstract via psycnet.apa.org)
E torniamo al sonno: quando Eric Horowitz scrive:
The sleep placebo also suggests that finding a way to improve your sleep may be more important than you think. If you're able to convince yourself that your bedtime routine is working — whether it's reading, exercising, or eating honey — you might see the cognitive benefits of improved sleep even on nights when you don't actually sleep better.
sta in pratica sponsorizzando la meditazione come tecnica per migliorare la qualità del proprio sonno.
E ora proviamoci tutti insieme!!!
P.S.: la meditazione, comunque, funziona. L'ho provata, e ogni tanto ancora la uso, ma non con la regolarità che servirebbe...
P.P.S.: ovviamente tutti i grassetti nei passi citati li ho messi io. Mentre il post non mi sembrava il caso di aggregarlo, e non l'ho aggregato, che in fondo non ho detto un bel nulla. E questo è sicuramente un... post placebo!

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