There are three main meditation-related areas in the brain, according to a new meta-analysis study: Insula, the prefrontal cortex, and the anterior cingulate cortex. All of these are located in the front half of the brain, and they seem to be involved irrespective of the type of meditation used.
Raichle’s discovery of the default mode network may have important implications. On the one hand, it may help us find ways of dealing with medical problems, such as depression, schizophrenia, and dementia. On the other hand, new knowledge about the default mode network and the self-reflecting thoughts that it stimulates may facilitate our understanding of how we function in our daily lives. We are more than intellect or the motor control of arms and legs, which is often the focus of brain researchers. Perhaps it may at times be good to know that our brain actually gives us room for our spontaneous thoughts and the associations and emotions that may at first seem a bit weird.
The brain shows more signs of relaxation during meditation than during ordinary rest. Nondirective meditation has a greater impact than does concentrative meditation, especially in parts of the cortex associated with the processing of stress, emotions, and memories.
Some types of meditation, in particular the nondirective type such as Acem Meditation, activates brain areas that facilitate mind-wandering and processing of self-related thoughts and emotions, more so than during simple resting.
Half of the time, our mind wanders between thoughts, episodes, images and feelings. In Acem Meditation, the free mental attitude often increases the spontaneous activity of the mind. The brain uses available capacity to work through residue from past events, "read" other people, find creative solutions and prepare for the future.
Does it matter which parts of the brain you use when you meditate? It seems so. A recent study suggests that forms of meditation based on an open mode of attention lead to different types of brain activity than meditation based on concentration. Thus, ongoing research on brain activation may not only tell us more about what kind of mental activity meditation is, but may also reveal the distinctive elements in different meditation techniques.
"There is a pressing need for a rigorous investigation of how meditation affects brain function." Professor Jim Lagopoulos, Sydney University, studied electrical brain waves in Acem meditators. There was an abundance of theta waves in the frontal and middle parts of the brain, different from ordinary relaxation.
In an interview in the Barcelona newspaper La Vanguardia, Acem's founder Dr. Are Holen discusses implications of recent scientific studies of Acem Meditation. After the interview, Acem Spain received more than 600 e-mails and 400 registrations for beginner's courses.