神经科学研究表明禅修增强专注力 有益精神健康

来源:百度文库 编辑:神马文学网 时间:2022/07/05 21:05:08


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据Religion News Service报道,美国亚特兰大州埃默里大学的神经科学家们最近进行的一项研究表明,佛教禅修有助于治疗忧郁症、注意力匮乏性紊乱、焦虑和其它精神疾病。
埃默里大学的神经学家帕格那尼说,强迫性神经失调、忧郁症等精神疾病表征为精神沉迷或精神散乱。禅修能够增强精神的专注力,远离散乱和有害的沉迷。
2008年,9月网络杂志Plos One发表了他的论文“思无著:禅修中的意识神经关联”。帕格那尼说,与那些想象自己在热带海滩的其它形式的沉思冥想不同,禅修避免精神散漫,并对当下的环境保持警觉。依据佛教,禅修者关注当下,不太可能陷入散乱。
埃莫里的研究者们将12名没有禅修体验的人与另一组12名禅修者进行对比,这些禅修者每天坚持禅修并且已经持续3年以上。帕格那尼和他的小组利用大脑成像扫描技术监测大脑的活动。受测者被要求分辨单词和无意义的混杂字母,当字母消失时,受测者要尽快专注于呼吸——这是一种常见的禅修方法。据帕格那尼说,大脑扫描显示,禅修者和非禅修者相比,能更快地停止散乱的思想,并专注于呼吸。帕格那尼在网络杂志LiveScience.com上说,经常禅修能够增强不受散乱思想影响的能力。
近年来,科学界对佛教禅修治疗效果的关注急剧增加,特别是在出现了可以绘制神经活动的切边机之后。根据已经公开的报道,美国国家健康研究中心资助了50多项研究,以测验禅修,或称为“专注的技能”。精神治疗师的研究表明,每天禅修能够减轻高血压、忧郁症和精神压力,并且能够增强对疾病的免疫力。
《无我的心理疗法:佛教的观念》一书的作者马克·爱波斯坦博士说,在过去的30年,佛教的思想和修持方法已经遍及心理治疗的各个分支。他说,禅修在很多方面非常有效,在他的纽约诊所中,他很少把禅修应用于病人。“病人病越重禅修的作用越小,比如严重的强迫性神经失调或重性抑郁症,”他说,“我们不应把禅修当作包治百病的万应灵药,因为它只是让失望的人们振作起来。”爱波斯坦还表示,帕格那尼做的禅修临床效果试验非常重要。“用物质的方法记录下来非常有用,”他说,“因为在我们的文化中人们相信物质。”(编译:平易)
Zen meditation’s benefits for mind
Researchers say it may help with depression, OCD, other ailments
By Daniel Burke
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Zen Buddhist meditation may help treat depression, attention-deficit disorder and anxiety, among other maladies, according to a recent study by Emory University neuroscientists.
Mental illnesses such as obsessive-compulsive disorder and depression are characterized in part by “excessive rumination” or runaway thoughts, said Giuseppe Pagnoni, a neuroscientist at Emory in Atlanta.
Zen meditators show an enhanced ability to control their mind’s focus and disentangle it from distracting or harmful preoccupations, Pagnoni argues. His paper, “Thinking about Not-Thinking: Neural Correlates of Conceptual Processing During Zen Meditation,” was published by the online journal Plos One in September.
Unlike other forms of meditation —- for example, imagining yourself on a tropical beach —- Zen discourages mental vacations and “prescribes a vigilant attitude” toward one’s present surroundings, as Pagnoni says. By focusing on the here and now, practitioners are less likely to get carried away, according to Buddhist teaching.
Using brain imaging scans, the Emory study compared 12 people with no meditation experience with a dozen who had practiced Zen meditation daily for at least three years. Pagnoni and his team monitored brain activity as the subjects were asked to distinguish between words or nonsensical jumbles of letters that periodically flashed on a screen before them. After the letters disappeared, the subjects were asked to focus on their breath —- a common Zen meditation practice —- as quickly as possible.
The brain scans showed that Zen meditators were able to stop their minds from wandering and return to focusing on their breathing much quicker than the non-meditators, according to Pagnoni.
“The regular practice of meditation may enhance the capacity to limit the influence of distracting thoughts,” Pagnoni told the online journal LiveScience.com.
Scientific interest in the therapeutic effects of Buddhist meditation has exploded in recent years, especially with the development of cutting-edge machines that can map neural activity.
The National Institutes of Health is financing more than 50 studies testing meditation, or “mindfulness techniques,” according to published reports. Studies suggest daily meditation can alleviate symptoms from hypertension, depression and stress as well as help the immune system fight off disease, according to psychotherapists.
In the past 30 years, Buddhist ideas and techniques have permeated every branch of psychotherapy, said Dr. Mark Epstein, author of “Psychotherapy Without the Self: A Buddhist Perspective.”
While meditation is useful in many ways, Epstein said, he rarely assigns it to patients in his New York City practice.
“The more entrenched the condition is —- like severe OCD or major depression —- the less helpful meditation will be,” Epstein said. “We should not talk about meditation as a panacea for all that stuff because it’s just setting people up for disappointment.”
Still, Epstein said clinical work like Pagnoni’s on the effect of meditation is important.
“It’s been very useful to have it documented in a material way,” Epstein said, “because that’s what people believe in our culture.”