Author Topic: Meditation and Brain Waves  (Read 4386 times)


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Meditation and Brain Waves
« on: September 01, 2008, 09:08:54 AM »
hi. Does anybody know vipassana's effect on brainwaves? Does meditation drop you to an alpha level or does only hypnotism do that?


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Re: Meditation and Brain Waves
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2008, 01:06:43 PM »
I am certain that meditation does effect many bodily functions, including brain activity.  No doubt a good internet search will find lots of research on this.  I believe that several universities have looked into this.  Let us know what you find!

In Peace - Jack


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Re: Meditation and Brain Waves
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2008, 04:59:00 PM »
I don't know about vipassana meditation specifically, but I know a little about the effects of meditation in general. I bought a neurofeedback device a few years ago and did a little internet research into it.

There are a number of different effects that meditation has on EEG, both short term and long term. Short term effects show up as changes in EEG which reflect the current state of consciousness of the individual. During meditation there is typically an increase in alpha activity (8Hz-13Hz) and sometimes theta (4Hz-8Hz) and delta (2Hz-4Hz) in deeper states. In addition, experienced meditators are able to enter more exotic states of consciousness with signature EEG patterns, including complete flatline. See my earlier post in the "Dhamma: The Meditation Hall > Depressing Comics!!!" thread, with a link to Ken Wilber demonstrating changes in his own EEG during meditation:,220.msg2002.html#msg2002,220.msg2002.html#msg2002

Long term effects show up as differences between seasoned meditators and beginners. This includes the depth (amplitude) of the alpha frequencies during meditation, being higher in more experienced meditators. Also the response to external stimulus such as a sound produced at regular intervals is different between the groups. Experienced meditators continue to respond to the input, whereas beginners just tune it out of their awareness. This shows up on the EEG.

There is an article on Wikipedia that also indicates an increase amongst experienced meditators in gamma activity (80Hz-120Hz) both during meditation and while at rest but not meditating. This is a frequency not usually monitored by neurofeedback practitioners, which tend to deal with beta (13Hz-40Hz) and the lower frequencies (alpha, theta, delta), so I had not come across this before.

Actually I've just read on another Wikipedia article that due to the filtering properties of the skull, gamma cannot be detected by EEG and can only be recorded from electrocorticography or possibly with magnetoencephalography.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2008, 05:10:08 PM by deanmw »


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Re: Meditation and Brain Waves
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2008, 07:23:56 PM » - A very thorough review of all scientific research on meditation.
But I think that more important is: "What are the effects meditation can have on your life?"


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