Harvard MRI Study Evidence of Meditation’s Cognitive Benefits

New Evidence Confirms Beliefs of Experienced Meditation Practitioners

Arrowhead Lodge Recovery, Mens Rehab, Recovery Meditation| From the Harvard Gazette:
Eight weeks to a better brain

Although the Harvard study was completed in 2011, the study is now getting a second look.

As more individuals and corporations are beginning to practice mindfulness meditation – the question meditation effectiveness is important.

‘Mindfulness meditation … appears to make measurable changes in brain regions associated with memory, sense of self, empathy, and stress’.

The Harvard University study did MRI scans on two groups of people. Then over the course of the next eight weeks, one group practiced a series of mindfulness exercises an average of 27 minutes per day; the other group did not meditate.

Meditation-produced Changes in the Brain’s Gray Matter Over Time Proven

In the Harvard study, after eight weeks the subjects from both groups were scanned again. The results revealed structural change to brains from the group that meditated. These changes included increased density of the hippocampus. The hippocampus is associated with memory, feelings and self awareness.

Some patients scans also revealed a decrease in the density of the amygdala*. This change was observed in patients who said they experienced stress relief.

Mindfulness Meditation Health Benefits and Anxiety Relief

Arrowhead Lodge Recovery, Men's Rehab, MeditationMindfulness seems to improve nearly every aspect of health — but how? While mounting research has revealed many of the numerous physical and mental health benefits of mindfulness, little is known of the mechanisms underlying these positive changes.

Now, another new study from Carnegie Mellon Universitypublished on Jan. 29 in the journal Biological Psychiatry, demystifies the neuro-biological effects of cultivating a focused awareness on the present moment.

Addiction Recovery Meditation, Arrowhead Lodge Recovery

Arrowhead Lodge Recovery, Men's Rehab, Recovery MeditationAt Arrowhead Lodge Recovery (a men’s rehab center in Prescott, AZ) mindfulness meditation is incorporated into our addiction recovery treatment. Meditation has been used as an effective tool in our addiction recovery programs for years, but benefits of meditation were intangible.  Now, there is objective proof to support what people who practice meditation have believed all along.

Meditation Produces Tangible Changes the Brain and Changes Lives for the Better

We have found that men, especially boomer men (ages 45+), benefit enormously from meditation.

Men in this age group were taught to ‘stuff’ or suppress most emotions. Emotional awareness was considered to be a ‘sissy’ activity. As a result, boomer men experience higher rates of stress-related illness, including addiction.

Meditation and Mindfulness training starts with breathing exercises and builds from there. Meditation can done be in a group or solo. It may include music or not; and is practiced indoors and out.

Some of the benefits of meditation include:

  • Awareness
  • Relapse prevention
  • Better coping skills
  • Decreased anxiety
  • Quicker recovery of brain functions
  • Improved sleep
  • Tranquility
  • Improved physiological functions
  • Better concentration
  • Decrease in symptoms of depression
  • Reduction in anxiety symptoms

Arrowhead Lodge Recovery clients learn how to meditate in a style that works for each individual. Meditation brings a deep sense of calm and serenity.

Meditation Anxiety Relief in Addiction Recovery

Meditation also gives relief from the anxiety that plagues addiction recovery. When mindfulness meditation is incorporated into everyday activities, it provides a lasting and effective solution for life stresses.

The 11th step of twelve step programs specifically refers to “prayer and meditation” as a way to improve one’s awareness of the Divine (or personal spiritual experience). The benefits are many for only 5 minutes or more of mindfulness practice each day.

Arrowhead Lodge Recovery Psychosocial Addiction Recovery Program, Including Meditation

Arrowhead Lodge Recovery, Men's Rehab, Prescott AZOur recovery program includes individual and group counseling and assistance to rekindle and regain personal power and purpose. Limited to less than 10 participants, each client receives individual counseling and support from licensed medical, addiction and mental health professionals.

We incorporate psychosocial elements in our recovery program; as well as assisting men in finding their spiritual core.

At our mountain retreat facility near Prescott, Arizona – men find and strengthen inner peace, and experience tranquility. Men can also begin to discover their unique and authentic personal spiritual experience.

We equip our clients with the depth and stability to handle all the curves and disappointments – as well as joys – in their regular lives once they leave Arrowhead Lodge Recovery.


For a confidential conversation to discuss your situation, please call 888-654-3500.


* Amygdala: Shown to play a key role in the processing of emotions, the amygdala forms part of the limbic system. In humans and other animals, this subcortical brain structure is linked to both fear responses and pleasure. Its size is positively correlated with aggressive behavior across species. Conditions such as anxiety, autism, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and phobias are suspected of being linked to abnormal functioning of the amygdala, owing to damage, developmental problems, or neurotransmitter imbalance.


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