Over the last few decades, psychologists and psychotherapists have developed a wide range of new therapeutic approaches and strategies to improve patient health. Two different practices that have proved to be particularly promising are mindfulness meditation and hypnosis.
Meditation and hypnosis are guided by the voice of the therapist and share some common characteristics, such as the fact that patients usually need to close their eyes, but they are based on different principles and rationale. I am. Therefore, it is rare to find a therapist trained in both of these approaches.
Researchers at the University of Lyon 1 in France recently conducted an interesting study aimed at comparison. Neural dynamics Using a technique known as Intracranial EEG (iEEG), hypnotic meditation supports mindfulness meditation. Their dissertation is Neuroscience letterProvides the first iEEG-based comparison between mindfulness meditation and hypnosis deployment in the brain.
“The idea for this project stems from a conversation between renowned meditation researcher Dr. Antoine Lutz and hypnotic-trained neurologist Dr. Cecil Sabrudi,” the researchers said. Dr. Prisca Bauer, one of the members of the group, said. Conducted the study and told Medical Xpress. “Meditation and hypnosis look quite different, but they also have some common characteristics. Meditation and hypnosis have been scientifically studied for decades, but most studies compare them. There is none.”
recent years, Dr. Zoltan Dienes, University of Sussex We conducted several studies comparing meditation and hypnosis theoretically and empirically. Recent work by Dr. Bauer and her colleagues is based on these previous efforts using iEEG, a technique rarely used in experimental environments.
IEEG is an invasive technique because it essentially involves implanting electrodes in the human brain. However, some patients with severe, drug-resistant epilepsy choose to undergo the iEEG procedure because it helps define the brain region that is causing the condition so that it can be surgically removed.
Therefore, Dr. Bauer and her colleagues decided to ask epilepsy patients who are already planning iEEG if they would like to participate in their study. In addition to comparing the neural bases of meditation and hypnosis, the team wanted to see if patients with electrodes implanted in the brain could engage in these two different practices.
“We compared three audio-guided instructions, each of which was about 15 minutes long,” said Dr. Bauer. “The first was the wandering instruction, where the participants were instructed to wander wherever they liked. The second was the participants paying attention to and paying attention to their physical sensations. It was a guided meditation instructed to do. The third was a hypnotic recording, in which participants were instructed to imagine a safe and lovely place to see, hear, smell, taste, and so on. I was encouraged to imagine what I touched. “
Dr. Bauer and her colleagues used intracranial electrodes to measure their brain activity while the three patients who participated in the study followed the instructions in the recording. This allowed us to examine and compare the neural dynamics that occurred during 15 minutes of mind wandering, mindfulness meditation, and hypnosis.
“IEEG is a very rewarding test. People had surgery to implant the electrodes on the first day, then stayed in the hospital bed for about two weeks with the electrodes, and finally had another surgery to remove the electrodes. “I will,” said Dr. Bauer. “We asked patients with epilepsy who were set up to take the procedure if they wanted to participate in the study. If so, they were asked to follow three different instructions during the two weeks of implanting the electrodes. . “
Interestingly, Dr. Bauer and her colleagues are all able to follow the instructions of mindfulness meditation and hypnosis, even if electrode implantation and associated surgical procedures are very difficult for participants. I found. In addition, patient participation in guided sessions did not cause seizures, and they found the instructions useful or informative.
“This means that it is possible to set up a larger study of such patients,” said Dr. Bauer. “Embedded electrodes are of great value, for example, to pick up deep brain activity that is not normally accessible by surface EEG. In addition, meditation and hypnosis are also beneficial and may improve the well-being of people in this group. was. “”
Examining the data collected by the implanted electrodes, Dr. Bauer and her colleagues found that the three instructions involved activity in a large brain network that most of the three instructions had in common. In addition, their findings highlight a smaller neural network that is unique to each command. While the participants were following the instructions, these small networks appeared to be suppressed rather than activated.
In the future, this study may pave the way for other studies comparing the neural basis of meditation and hypnosis in patients with severe epilepsy undergoing iEEG treatment.In addition, this study was conducted as participants stated that guided sessions were beneficial. Mindfulness meditation Or a hypnosis-based therapeutic intervention for people with epilepsy.
“Our findings are very preliminary as they are based on only three participants, so further investigation is needed to review the findings and identify the networks involved. meditation When Hypnosis More precisely, “this small study was part of a large study, including functional magnetic resonance imaging, so we are currently analyzing other data collected,” Dr. Bauer adds. I did.
Prisca R. Bauer et al, Neural Dynamics of Mindfulness Meditation and Hypnosis Investigated in Intracranial EEG: Feasibility Study, Neuroscience letter (2021). DOI: 10.1016 / j.neulet.2021.136345
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The study investigates the neural dynamics of mindfulness meditation and hypnosis
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