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Improved meditation - being able to intuitively 'know' when you are producing brainwaves such as Theta and Alpha, enriches the time spent practicing attaining these states. Yoga, TM, classical music / Baroque - test out how these affect your brain with IBVA biofeedback at home.

With IBVA Coherence the phase coherence can become more frequent, displaying both hemispheres' brainwaves are in 'phase synchrony'. Trancendental Meditation and states achieved by zen buddhist monks are profoundly different to what an unpracticed user can produce. Like muscle power from training or the gym, you can't fake this. IBVA reveals the state of your internal brain waves, here is a client producing great Alpha entrainment.

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Here is a Flash movie of the Alpha entrainment

EEG Studies on Yogis and Zen Meditations:
Yogis practicing Raja-Yoga claim that during the state of samadhi they are oblivious to the internal and external stimuli, and they enjoy a calm ecstasy during that state. A study was undertaken to record the electrical activity of their brain during this state by means of a regular and useful test known as electroencephalography EEG. Physiological and experimental studies have demonstrated that the basis of conscious state of brain, among other things, is due to activation of "reticular system" in the brain-stem in response to internal and external stimuli. These stimuli bring about various changes during sleeping and wakeful states of the organism and these can be studied by EEG.

The study was carried out on four subjects during the state of concentration and meditation. Effects of external stimuli, like a loud gong, strong light, thermal simulation, and vibrations were studied. The results were compiled and analyzed. It was observed that two Yogis could keep their hands immersed in extremely cold water for about 50 minutes (raised pain threshold). During state of meditation, all of them showed persistent "alpha activity" in their EEG with increased amplitude wave pattern, both during 'eyes closed' and 'eyes open' recording. It was observed that these alpha activities could not be blocked by various sensory stimuli during meditation. It was also observed that those, who had well-marked "alpha activity" in their resting EEG showed greater aptitude and zeal for maintaining the practice of Yoga.
Similar observations and results were obtained when EEGs were recorded in persons adept in Zen Meditative technique.

In the 1970's J.P. Banquet studied twelve TM practitioners and twelve controls who were about to learn TM.  He found that subjects practicing TM had distinctive EEG changes, including slow high-amplitude alpha activity extending to anterior channels, theta activity different from sleep, rhythmic amplitude-modulated beta waves present over the whole scalp, and synchronization of anterior and posterior channels.

Studies of Zen Buddhist Monks
In a study that attracted much attention among meditation and biofeedback researchers during the 1960s, Akira Kasamatsu and Tomio Hirai, physicians at the University of Tokyo, studied the EEG changes exhibited during meditation by Zen teachers and their disciples (forty-eight in all) from Soto and Rinzai centers in Japan. For experimental control, they studied the EEGs of twenty-two subjects with no experience at meditation. They made EEG recordings; recorded their subjects' pulse rates, respiration, and galvanic skin response; and tested their responses to sensory stimuli during meditation. The recordings on the Zen monks were made during a weeklong retreat, or sesshin, at a Zendo, except for a few tests at the experimenters' laboratory. The Zen teachers and their most experienced students exhibited a typical progression of brain-wave activity during meditation, which Kasamatsu and Hirai divided into four stages:

* Stage 1: Appearance of alpha waves in spite of opened eyes.
* Stage 2: Increase in amplitude of persistent alpha waves.
* Stage 3: Decrease in alpha frequency.
* Stage 4: Appearance of rhythmical theta trains (Kasamatsu and Hirai,1966)

Not all four stages were evident in every Zen practitioner, nor in any of the controls, but a strong correlation existed between the number of stages a given student exhibited and that student's length of time in Zen training. This correlation was supported by a Zen teacher's evaluation of each student's proficiency. The teacher ranked the students in three levels, without seeing their EEG records, and his rankings correlated well with Kasamatsu and Hirai's assessment of their EEGs.
The Kasamatsu-Hirai study also revealed significant differences between four Zen masters and four control subjects in their response to repetitive click stimuli. Like the Zen masters, the controls exhibited a blocking of alpha when a click sound first occurred, but they gradually became habituated to such stimuli so that their brain-wave activity no longer responded when a click was made. The Zen masters, however, did not become habituated, but continued to exhibit blocking as long as the stimuli continued. This finding indicates that Zen practice promotes a serene, alert awareness that is consistently responsive to both external and internal stimuli (Kasamatsu et al., 1957; Hirai, 1960; and Kasamatsu and Hirai, 1963).

The Medline database contains reports that have been published in recognized research magazines, more than 27,000 reports on relaxation, yoga and meditation published over the last twenty years. It becomes apparent some of the researchers regard meditation as an unalterable quantity. Therefore they cannot understand why there is a discrepancy in their research. The fact is that the results largely depend on which meditation technique is used.
In some meditations you learn to withdraw the senses; in others you are more present in your senses. There are meditations where you learn to make your mind one-pointed, and meditations without a focal point, which are based on the ability to experience the totality in and around oneself. It should also be added that some methods give only a light relaxed state, while others produce very clear changes in your general state. Certain Tantric meditations, for example Inner Silence, are constructed as a developing sequence containing a whole array of the mentioned methods - it spans the spectrum from outer awareness to deep inner rest in oneself.


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