“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.
Are Holen, expert in posttraumatic stress and founder of a meditation school
interviewed in the Barcelona newspaper La Vanguardia
the original interview in Spanish.
64 years of age, I am Norwegian, married, with two children. Psychologist, MD, PhD in medicine and specialist in psychiatry. Professor of neuromedicine at the University of Trondheim. Education is the foundation of a country’s prosperity. Believe in a non-punitive God.
By Carl Henrik Grøndahl
If you meditate, you do as ten million American adults do, among them film stars Goldie Hawn and Richard Gere, and former Vice President Al Gore. You are also an object of study for serious scientists, who are now discovering that some kinds of meditation have interesting effects that can be measured.
Many people still associate meditation with romantic dreams of a golden age. Someone – a prophet, a guru, a reincarnated Maitreya – is going to come and initiate a new era, where all pain is gone and all enigmas are solved. People who practise meditation are seen as escapists guided by such fantasies of a problem-free existence. Meditation entails crystals and pyramids, weird notions and even weirder lifestyles. Normal, sensible and realistic people do not meditate.
Relaxation and achievement
In his thesis, Dr Solberg showed that Acem Meditation reduces stress and increases relaxation in the body. Pulse rate reduction was more pronounced in meditators than in people who rested without meditating. This effect was reinforced during long meditations. Dr Solberg demonstrated that the relaxation achieved during meditation differed from the relaxation obtained during rest. Meditators had higher initial levels of melatonin, suggesting that this hormone plays a central role in the relaxation process.
Most of the studies relate to the performance and recovery of sportsmen. One study showed that elite marksmen who practiced Acem Meditation achieved better results in competitions than marksmen who did not meditate. Another study indicated that marathon runners who had practised Acem Meditation for six months had reduced the negative impact of stress on their immune systems. Runners who practised Acem Meditation also showed less physical fatigue (as measured by post-exercise lactate levels) than either those who did not meditate or those who practised another relaxation technique called autogenic training.