Thursday, August 26, 2010

Integrative Mind-Body Training: Shortcut to Meditative Bliss

There’s a new kid on the meditation block. It’s called Integrative Mind-Body Training (IMBT) and it is getting a lot of publicity in the wake of a recent study published online on the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
MAGELANG, JAVA, INDONESIA - JUNE 1: Buddhist monks meditate at the yard of Borobudur temple, built between 750 and 842 AD, June 1, 2007 in Magelang, Central Java province, Indonesia. Buddhists in Indonesia celebrate Vesak Day or 'the day of Buddha's birth, his enlightenment and his reaching of nirvana' today. (Photo by Dimas Ardian/Getty Images)

IMBT is based on traditional Chinese medicine. Although this meditation practice is getting a lot of press lately, the techniques was actually developed in the 1990s. A number of studies have shown that IMBT has a positive effect on cognitive function and stress reduction.

But perhaps more importantly, for a society that wants everything now, IMBT reportedly achieves these effects very quickly—after practicing this meditative practice for just 11 hours according to the most recent study. (Standard meditation, by comparison, can take years of regular practice to achieve the brain wave changes seen in a brief practice of IMBT).

University of Oregon Study

The most recent study of IMBT was conducted on 45 University of Oregon students. Half of these students did IMBT training and half of the students did relaxation training. The students’ brains were scanned before and after the training.

At the conclusion of the study, the IMBT group’s brain scans were compared against the relaxation group. The brain scans of the IMBT group had increased brain connectivity. These connections were more pronounced in an area of the brain that regulates emotion and behavior.

It took just six hours of IMBT to start this brain connectivity and this effect became very obvious after 11 hours of practice.

How does IMBT Work?

IMBT appears to combine many different meditative disciplines—mindfulness, controlled breathing, guided visualization—into one practice.

According to PsychCentral, “The technique avoids struggles to control thought, relying instead on a state of restful alertness, allowing for a high degree of body-mind awareness while receiving instructions from a coach, who provides breath-adjustment guidance and mental imagery while soothing music plays in the background.”

Further, “Thought control is achieved gradually through posture, relaxation, body-mind harmony and balanced breathing. The authors noted in the study that IBMT may be effective during short-term application because of its integrative use of these components.”

And I agree. There is something about the integrative use all of these meditative and/or spiritual components that bring results FAST. So of course, I want to try it.

There’s only one problem. Apparently, IMBT cannot be learned, or even practiced, on your own or while listening to tapes. A coach is essential for practicing IMBT, and I can’t find a coach anywhere. This technique is so new that there may not even be that many qualified coaches in the world.

But I’ll continue to look for one.

Have you any experience with practicing IMBT? Do you know where I can find an IMBT coach?

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