The mental silence experience clearly warrants further investigation. Needless to say, it would be ideal if this research was carried out by those without a financial, emotional or reputational stake in any such research. Experience however suggests that for the foreseeable future it will be meditation enthusiasts who will drive this field of exploration. In view of the promising findings future randomised controlled trials should include even more rigorous adhesion to CONSORT guidelines for clinical trials. Further, self report outcomes should be additionally complemented by objective biological outcomes.

Further directions of future research on meditation can be found at Dr Ramesh Manocha’s website.

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14 subjects experiencing menopausal symptoms, who were not on any other treatments were enrolled into a twice weekly, 8 week meditation programme. Pre, post and 8 week follow-up assessments included Hot Flush Diary, Greene’s. MENQOL, Kupperman, POMS, STAI self report questionnaires.  Significant improvements in all measures occurred at post treatment. Changes in vasomotor symptoms, especially hot flushes, were most prominent:. A significant decrease in mean hot flush frequency of 67%(p<.05) at post-treatment and 57%(p<.05) at follow-up. Kupperman’s Index score decreased by 58%(p<.05) at post-treatment and 40%(p<.05) at follow-up. All other symptom measures improved significantly from baseline to post-treatment.

journal publication

Dr Ramesh Manocha

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Objective:

To investigate whether a meditation technique which focuses on the experience of mental silence has a beneficial effect in improving ADHD behaviour of children.

Materials and Methods:

Sahaja Yoga Meditation (SYM) was used in an exploratory clinic for 48 children with ADHD and their parents in a 6–week programme of twice-weekly clinic meditation sessions and regular meditation at home.

Results:

Pre-post assessments showed significant improvements in the parents’ ratings of the core ADHD behaviours. Benefits were described by children at school (better concentration, less conflict) and at home (improved sleep pattern and anxiety). Parents reported feeling happier, less stressed and better able to manage their child’s behaviour.

Conclusion:

The eastern concept of meditation is that of a state of mental silence characterised by the elimination of unnecessary thought, effortless attention on the present moment and alert awareness. Meditation is thus thought to be well suited to reduce the severity of the features that are typically impaired in children with Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). There are several potential mechanisms of action of SYM on ADHD behaviours that will be discussed. Meditation has been suggested to relax the sympathetic nervous system by activating parasympathetic-limbic pathways. Improvements in hyperactivity may thus be related to the relaxation effect of meditation.

Congress website

Dr Ramesh Manocha

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The failure of the proponents of meditation in the West to produce conclusive data on its specific efficacy in the health sphere (see Ospina’s definitive treatment of this issue), has been due to understandings having been largely confined to Westernised versions of the practice. Such understandings have meant that the original ideas about meditation as developed in South Asia and particularly on the Indian sub-continent, have been substituted by more culturally accessible but less effective Western concepts.

Thus our research programme proposes that any solution to the current scientific impasse needs to involve a re-examination of the cultural contexts in which meditation is practiced. Of particular importance in this regard are South Asian cultural themes embodied in ideas such as yoga, moksha, and sahaja. It is argued that Western conceptualisations and definitions of meditation need to be reshaped to more accurately reflect the original meaning of the practice, particularly the experience of mental silence.


Dr Ramesh Manocha

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