The aim of Vipassana meditation is to reduce cognitive and emotional reactivity.
Dr. Alberto Chiesa at theUniversity of Bologna, in Italy, reviewed the evidence.
First, the details.
7 “mainly poor-quality studies” were identified.
And, the results.
3 neuroimaging studies (image the structure and function of the brain) suggest that Vipassana meditation might be associated with activation and changes in various areas of the brain.
3 studies in incarcerated populations suggest it reduced alcohol and substance abuse but not post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms in prisoners.
1 study in healthy people suggested it enhanced copying styles and more mature defenses (unconsciouspsychological strategies to cope with reality and maintain self-image).
The bottom line?
Dr. Chiesa concluded, “Current studies provided preliminary results about neurobiological and clinical changes related to Vipassana meditation.”
However, he continues, “Few and mainly low-quality data are available especially for clinical studies, and current results have to be considered with caution,” with respect to reproducibility of results, placebo effect, and long-term response to treatment.
John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.