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Monday, July 30, 2012

Meditation and Memory

Kirtan Kriya[i] 
Meditating to Help our Brains Remember

         For several years I have been developing my practice of meditation.  My primary thoughts about the process have been that it provides increased oxygen flow thorough out the brain and paying attention to the “here and now.”
         I am VERY interested in the following information that I discovered recently. The meditation process used in the research process is called Kirtan Kirya.  It asks us to focus on sounds and finger movements and that’s all. The study had the participants do this for eight weeks
Here is the process.
         First there is a repetition of four sounds – SA, TA, NA, MA. While doing this we are supposed to sequentially touch our thumb to our index finger, middle finger, fourth finger, and fifth finger.  “This is performed out loud for 2 minutes, in a whisper for 2 minutes, in silence for 4 minutes, followed by a whisper for 2 minutes and finally out loud for 2 minutes. The total time is for is for 12 minutes. 
         “Since this is a simple quick practice, it has the potential to be a very practical and low cost measure to help improve memory.” They were asked to do this for eight weeks.  The results were compared to a group of persons who listened to music for the same amount of time.

Some of the Results:
         Along with significant brain structure changes “ The subjects in general found the meditation practice enjoyable and beneficial.  They…”were able to perform the practice a mean of 75% of the days that they were in the study. Most subjects reported that they subjectively perceived that their cognitive function was improved after the 8-week problem.
         Finally the researchers tell us that “Even if techniques such as meditation prove to have only a small value, their low cost and ease of use may make them a beneficial adjunct to the pharmacological arsenal currently being explored.  Studies with larger population size would be able to advance the findings of this study.
         Sunday and Monday morning I have gone on my morning hour-long walk and I practiced this new meditation. I really enjoyed it.  One of the things that happens is I sometimes finding myself mixing the sounds up but staying focused is a big part of the job.


[i] Newberg, A. B. et al (2010). Meditations Effects of Cognitive Function and             Cerebral Blood Flow In Subjects with Memory Loss: A Preliminary Study.             Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease pp 517-526.  Contact Andrew Newburg e-            mail

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