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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0061038 Conclusion Tai Chi Chuan (TCC). Although cross-sectional study cannot rule out the pre-existing difference in brain structures, our findings may suggest the difference in cortical thickness for TCC practitioners might be associated with TCC practice. The underlying neurological mechanism for long-term TCC practice might have similar pattern to cortical morphology associated with meditation and aerobic exercise. Exploration on uses of TCC as one modality of behavioral intervention to maintain and enhance the human brain structure and function is an exciting avenue of research with the potential for a considerable public health yield. At the same time, this result indicates that it is imperative to conduct longitudinal studies aiming to disclose the real causal relationship between the change of brain structures and TCC practice.
Hello all, I've recently begun digging into the Chuang Tzu and am looking for some recommendations for companion material. I'm searching for some extra insight--especially thematically, as the text's purpose often goes over my head--but would be interested in any historical or miscellaneous background content as well. I would really love to have a firmer grasp on what messages appear to be conveyed through the stories. Any help would be wonderful. Thank you!
http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0176239 thoughts?... Buddhist-derived meditation practices are currently being employed as a popular form of health promotion. While meditation programs draw inspiration from Buddhist textual sources for the benefits of meditation, these sources also acknowledge a wide range of other effects beyond health-related outcomes. The Varieties of Contemplative Experience study investigates meditation-related experiences that are typically underreported, particularly experiences that are described as challenging, difficult, distressing, functionally impairing, and/or requiring additional support. A mixed-methods approach featured qualitative interviews with Western Buddhist meditation practitioners and experts in Theravāda, Zen, and Tibetan traditions. Interview questions probed meditation experiences and influencing factors, including interpretations and management strategies. A follow-up survey provided quantitative assessments of causality, impairment and other demographic and practice-related variables. The content-driven thematic analysis of interviews yielded a taxonomy of 59 meditation-related experiences across 7 domains: cognitive, perceptual, affective, somatic, conative, sense of self, and social. Even in cases where the phenomenology was similar across participants, interpretations of and responses to the experiences differed considerably. The associated valence ranged from very positive to very negative, and the associated level of distress and functional impairment ranged from minimal and transient to severe and enduring. In order to determine what factors may influence the valence, impact, and response to any given experience, the study also identified 26 categories of influencing factors across 4 domains: practitioner-level factors, practice-level factors, relationships, and health behaviors. By identifying a broader range of experiences associated with meditation, along with the factors that contribute to the presence and management of experiences reported as challenging, difficult, distressing or functionally impairing, this study aims to increase our understanding of the effects of contemplative practices and to provide resources for mediators, clinicians, meditation researchers, and meditation teachers.