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Sensory Alternative Medicine

Sharpen Your Senses

7 years, 9 months ago

9565  0
Posted on Jul 20, 2016, 6 a.m.

Zen meditation may improve sense of touch.

A type of mindfulness meditation, Zen meditation aims to quiet the mind and achieve deep concentration. Hubert Dinse, from the Ruhr-University Bochum (Germany), and colleagues studied a group of Zen-scholars with many years of meditation practice. They were scientifically escorted during a four-day Zen-retreat in the spiritual center "Benediktushof", Germany. The retreat was held in complete silence, with at least eight hours of meditation per day. All participants practiced their familiar meditation, which is characterized by a non-specific monitoring of thoughts and surroundings. Additionally, some participants applied a special finger-meditation for two hours per day, during which they were asked to specifically focus on their right index finger and become aware of spontaneously arising sensory percepts in this finger. Subsequent assessment of the group that practiced finger-meditation showed a significant improvement in the tactile acuity of the right index and middle finger. A control group that had maintained their familiar meditation practice for the whole time, showed no changes in tactile acuity.  Observing that: “Tactile spatial discrimination of the right index finger was persistently improved by only 6 hours of mental-sensory focusing on this finger,” the study authors submit that: “intrinsic brain activity created by mental states can alter perception and behavior similarly to external stimulation.”

Philipp ST, Kalisch T, Wachtler T, Dinse HR. “Enhanced tactile acuity through mental states.”  Sci Rep. 2015 Aug 27;5:13549.

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