Meditation and Neurofeedback

October 7, 2013
Arnaud Delorme, PhD

Brandmeyer T, Delorme A.(2013) Meditation and neurofeedback. Frontiers in Psychology. 4:688


Dating back as far as 1957, the academic investigation of meditation and the Asian contemplative traditions have fascinated not only the likes of philosophers and religious scholars, but researchers in the fields of neuroscience, psychology, and medicine. While most of the contemplative traditions are comprised of spiritual practices that aim to bring the practitioner closer to self-actualization and enlightenment, from a neuroscientific and clinical perspective, meditation is usually considered a set of diverse and specific methods of distinct attentional engagement (Cahn and Polich, 2009).

Over the last decade, we have witnessed an exponential increase in the interest in meditation research. While this is in part due to improvements in neuroimaging methods, it is also due to the variety of medical practices incorporating meditation into therapeutic protocols. With the general aim of understanding how meditation affects the mind, brain, body and general health, particularly interesting findings in recent research suggest that the mental activity involved in meditation practices may induce brain plasticity (Lutz et al., 2004).

With its increasing popularity, many people in Western societies express an interest and motivation to meditate. However, for many it can often be quite difficult to maintain a disciplined and/or regular practice, for various reasons, ranging from a lack of time to general laziness. It is possible that machine assisted programs such as neurofeedback may help individuals develop their meditation practice more rapidly. Methods such as neurofeedback incorporate real-time feedback of electro-encephalography (EEG) activity to teach self-regulation, and may be potentially used as an aid for meditation.

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