Can we suppress mental disorders with meditation, or mindfulness practice? The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) considers that 7.7 millions of Americans (or nearly 3.3 % of the US population in combination) have bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. Most of them, nearly 40 % of the people with schizophrenia and 51 % of them with bipolar disorder are not treated during the year. However, according to the recent studies reported by Juan Santoyo and his colleagues, there is scientific evidence which shows that many of the devitalizing psychological disorders can be treated with meditation.
Juan Santoyo, who is studying contemplative studies and neuroscience, is not doing this only for himself, but to find out a solution to the problems of mental disorders. He revealed his results at the 12th Annual International Scientific Conference at the Centre for Mindfulness at the University of Medical School in Massachusetts. When his family moved away from Columbia, he realized that a lot of the homeless have mental disorders, which are mainly not treated.
Instead of consuming pharmaceutical medications, he found out another possible solution, which was primarily based on the findings of a study published in ‘Frontiers in Human Neuroscience’. The study revealed in which way meditation can influence the individual’s ability to change the activity of the brain in the posterior cingulated cortex (PCC). Some of the meditators could control the brain activity, when they got the chance follow the PCC activity.
Santoyo stated that you can follow both of the activities and found out how they combine with one another. During 10 meditation sessions that lasted one minute, the participants of the study could develop some strategies to raise some experience and to use it to constrain the signal.
Even though this is not similar to the first study to reveal how meditation can release genetic or mental disorders, most of the scientists believe that the innovation that meditation can release molecular disorders is markedly innovative.
Even though science is not necessary to get through or to prove the advantages of this old practice, these recent studies are greatly contributing to doctors, who prescribe meditation instead of medication to their patients. This has great impact on people who experience some psychiatric states, even though it is familiar to us that some mental changes can be related to certain parts of the mind.
Santoyo, in his study, found out that coded data on experience – ‘grounded theory methodology’ – reinforces the creation and testing of hypothesis and the scientific investigation of mindfulness… namely to help people who have some mental health problems. In his published study on ‘effortless awareness’, a concept that always follows meditation, he realized that some thoughts or memories that lead to stress can be changed with feedback after the meditation.
While he was studying at the Brown University, Santoyo also realized that meditation helps him to be more involved in what he was studying, and to become more skillful at dealing with these difficult situations as well as to do better at the academy. Not only good marks, but also dealing with the difficult everyday challenges with great enthusiasm, helping to homeless people, the study of meditation and mindfulness has to give more. In case Santoyo and the other people interested in this field are right, then more than 7 million Americans can have benefits from it.