There’s almost no limit to the value of meditation. A scientist studying the Chinese mindfulness meditation known as integrative body-mind training (IBMT) says that he and other researchers have confirmed that it changes the structural efficiency of white matter in the brain. They found positive behavioral changes in subjects practicing the technique for a month and a minimum of 11 hours total.

IBMT was adapted from traditional Chinese medicine in the 1990s in China, where it is practiced by thousands of people. It differs from other forms of meditation because it depends heavily on the inducement of a high degree of awareness and balance of the body, mind and environment.

Scientists Yi-Yuan Tang and Michael Posner found that improved mood changes coincided with increased brain-signaling connections. They also found an expansion of myelin, the protective fatty tissue that surrounds the nerves, in the brain’s anterior cingulate region. Deficits in activation for this area of the brain have been associated with attention deficit disorder, dementia, depression, schizophrenia and many other disorders.

Tang says, "When we got the results, we all got very excited because all of the other training exercises, like working-memory training or computer-based training, only have been shown to change myelination. We believe these changes may be reflective of the time of training involved in IBMT. We found a different pattern of neural plasticity induced by the training."

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