Forced and Non-forced Chinese Meditation Studies
There exist many different types of meditation. The mechanism why meditation improves people’s health remains unclear. Since different meditations may activate different regions in brain, we can use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate it. We may simply divide meditation into two different types, which is forced meditation (FM) and non-forced meditation (NFM). The FM type may keep a phrase in mind, observe breathing, proceed mind imaging or any other actions to keep people’s attention focused. Chinese original quiet sitting (COQS) is mainly one kind of traditional Chinese meditation. It contains two different parts: a short period of keeping phrase and receiving spiritual energy, and a long period of relaxation with no further action. The second part of it is really what we called “non-forced” type, whereas the first part is normally a forced one. In this paper, we want to find out the brain activation area precisely during FM and NFM. We studied the observing breathing meditation (OBM) and the first part of COQS as the FM type, and also studied the second part of COQS as NFM type. Our experimental results showed very different activation patterns among the brain between FM and NFM. The BOLD (Blood Oxygenation Level Dependent) signal changes had also been found. The posterior cingulated gyrus showed strong activation in OBM, the pineal gland and hypothalamus showed positive activation in the first and second stage of COQS separately. From our results, we found the basic meaning of the mechanism why meditation improves people’s health.
KeywordsfMRI BOLD OBM COQS IPQ ANW
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