Saturday 10 November 2012

Relax, Focus and Open

Relaxation, focused awareness meditation, and open monitoring meditation differ.

A study of the differences between these relaxation, concentration meditation and mindfulness meditation was done by Dunn and associates (1999).  In this study, ten student volunteers, all of whom were new to meditation, were taught concentration meditation for five weeks followed by five weeks of training in mindfulness meditation.  19 channel EEG recordings were made of the students at the outset of the study and then at the end with the first recording used only to familiarize the students with the recording procedure.  For the final recordings, the students were asked first to relax and then to practice concentration meditation and then mindfulness meditation.  Differences were found in all the bands studied, and the researchers concluded that each of the conditions was distinct.  However, because of the limited number of participants, the length of their training, and the likely cross contamination of the three conditions, the study has limited value in identifying the defining signatures of relaxation, concentration and open monitoring.

Dunn, B.R., Hartigan, J.A., & Mikulas, W.L. (1999). Concentration and mindfulness meditations:  Unique forms of consciousness?  Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, 24(3), 147-165.

Please feel free to comment or, if you wish, direct questions and comments to me directly at drampsych at

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