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The Research: BENEFITS OF MANTRA

Scientific Insight into Ancient Wisdom of Mantras

“Mantra is the living force; it is the life principle. A mantra can be a one-worded formula, or a syllable or a string of syllables. Repetition of the mantra, known as Japa, is a way to connect with the divine power that the mantra represents.”  – Swami Sivananda

Mantras have been used for centuries by a variety of cultures for psychological benefits such as stress relief, believed healing properties, enhancing mental focus, meditation and facilitating spiritual connections. The advantageous have attracted the attention of the scientific community, leading to research efforts focused on understanding how mantras impact brain activity.

Important Findings

These studies suggest that mantras, apart from their cultural and spiritual value, offer concrete advantages for both mental and physical well-being. The research revealed that repeating mantras leads to a global inhibitory effect on the brain, which can greatly enhance mood and mental clarity. Additionally, an extensive review highlighted the beneficial effects of mantra meditation on stress, anxiety, hypertension, and immune function.

Scientifically Proven

The Brain and Repetitive Speech: A Study on Non-Meditators

A study conducted on “non-meditators” studied the neuronal effects of mantra-like repetitive speech in individuals. This research aimed to isolate the impact of silent repetitive speech – a core aspect of many mantra meditations – on brain activity. The findings of the research indicated a widespread inhibitory impact on brain activity, without a simultaneous rise in positive activation. This effect might account for the calming and stabilizing influence typically associated with the practice of mantra meditation.

Mantras in College Life: A Psychological Perspective

A study investigated the psychological impact of mantra listening among college students. Participants chose and listened to mantras over a set period, with psychological assessments conducted before and after the intervention. A noticeable improvement in overall mood and mental clarity, inicates that mantras could be a simple yet effective tool for managing student stress and enhancing well-being.

Health Benefits of Mantra Meditation: Beyond the Spiritual

Shifting the focus from the spiritual to the health benefits, a comprehensive review examined the impact of mantra meditation on various health aspects. This review, intentionally steering clear of spiritual motivations, looked at the effects of mantra meditation on stress, anxiety, hypertension, and immune function. The results showed that mantra meditation could have beneficial effects in these areas.

Scientific Research — 1

Repetitive speech elicits widespread deactivation in the human cortex: the “Mantra” effect?

Source

Brain and Behavior 2015 Jul; Vol. 5 (7), pp. e00346. Date of Electronic Publication: 2015 May 04.

Background

Mantra (prolonged repetitive verbal utterance) is one of the most universal mental practices in human culture. However, the underlying neuronal mechanisms that may explain its powerful emotional and cognitive impact are unknown. In order to try to isolate the effect of silent repetitive speech, which is used in most commonly practiced Mantra meditative practices, on brain activity, we studied the neuronal correlates of simple repetitive speech in nonmeditators – that is, silent repetitive speech devoid of the wider context and spiritual orientations of commonly practiced meditation practices.

Methods: We compared, using blood oxygenated level-dependent (BOLD) functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), a simple task of covertly repeating a single word to resting state activity, in 23 subjects, none of which practiced meditation before.

Results

We demonstrate that the repetitive speech was sufficient to induce a widespread reduction in BOLD signal compared to resting baseline. The reduction was centered mainly on the default mode network, associated with intrinsic, self-related processes. Importantly, contrary to most cognitive tasks, where cortical-reduced activation in one set of networks is typically complemented by positive BOLD activity of similar magnitude in other cortical networks, the repetitive speech practice resulted in unidirectional negative activity without significant concomitant positive BOLD. A subsequent behavioral study showed a significant reduction in intrinsic thought processes during the repetitive speech condition compared to rest.

Conclusion

Our results are compatible with a global gating model that can exert a widespread induction of negative BOLD in the absence of a corresponding positive activation. The triggering of a global inhibition by the minimally demanding repetitive speech may account for the long-established psychological calming effect associated with commonly practiced Mantra-related meditative practices.

Competing Interests

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Scientific Research — 2

Mantras Help the General Psychological Well-Being of College Students: A Pilot Study

Source

Tseng AA. Scientific Evidence of Health Benefits by Practicing Mantra Meditation: Narrative Review. Int J Yoga. 2022 May-Aug;15

Abstract

The mind receives deep effect of harmonizing from incantatory spiritual verse known as “mantra.” This ancient Indian spiritual science of sound vibrations had been used to help the mind, body and life. Students in top-ranking colleges often feel pressurized and complain of depression. Mantras could help ease their stress. This work attempts to study the impact of mantra on the psychological well-being of college students. Volunteers selected and listened to the mantra of their choice in the test period. Psychological tests were conducted before and after the test period. Data collected were analyzed by psychologists. The findings reveal a clear improvement in the general cheerfulness and clarity of mind of the subjects.

Competing Interests

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Scientific Research — 3

Scientific Evidence of Health Benefits by Practicing Mantra Meditation: Narrative Review

Source

International journal of yoga [Int J Yoga] 2022 May-Aug; Vol. 15 (2), pp. 89-95. Date of Electronic Publication: 2022 Sep 05.

Abstract

Mantra meditation (MM) is one of the simplest and most effective meditative practices suitable for both novice and skillful meditators. It has attracted a significant number of practitioners for various health benefits or for spiritual inspiration. The scope of this review article focuses on the examination of the health benefits of practicing MM without considering the motivation by spiritual rewarding or cultivation. Through the examination, we attempt to confirm and to add scientific evidence on the benefits of mental and physical health to the practitioners. We review a large number of the recent studies of MM for understanding the mechanism in yielding medical benefits and for analyzing the quantitative evidence of the trial outcomes. The review covers four important areas: stress, anxiety, hypertension, and immunity, with the hope to evoke more studies to refine the current evidence and to encourage more studies in other promising areas. Furthermore, the review gives more attention or discussion on more recent, original, and stronger studies. The discussion can include the strong or weak points of the reviewed studies. The review discovers evidence that MM can provide various degrees of beneficial effects on the four areas considered. Studies with larger participants, superior quality, and a few others are recommended to draw firm conclusions. Several promising research areas and directions are also suggested.

Competing Interests

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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