Meditating has now been proven to change brain chemistry. With brain imaging techniques such as MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and EEG (electroencephalography) it is possible to see the effect that meditation has on neurophysiology.
Neuroscientists such as Richard Davidson, from the University of Wisconsin, have been doing experiments with serious meditaors such as Tibetan monks. They have found that there are indeed changes to the brain during meditation.
The front part of the brain, which is usually involved in concentration and focusing attention, is more active, and there is decreased activity in the parietal lobe, which is responsible for giving us our sense of time and space. This may explain why serious meditators during meditation perceive the world to be endless and themselves at one with all creation.
There are changes in brain wave patterns during meditation, with an increase in alpha, theta and high beta waves. These are connected with creativity, empathy and high concentration. A person accessing these states regularly in meditation will start to show these qualities when they are not meditating due to the permanent changes in brain chemistry that they cause.
Besides making you a nicer person meditation also increases the production of seratonin, which is an important neuropeptide influencing mood and behaviour. It is the main ingredient in anti-depressants such as Prozac. To increase its production naturally helps a number of disorders caused by seratonin deficiency such as depression, obesity, migraine headaches, premenstrual syndrome and fibromyalgia.
If meditation is so beneficial for mental and physical health why is it not recommended routinely by doctors and other medical professionals? I dont know. It should be. Probably in the future it will be, now that science is catching up and proving what the wisdom of the East has known and taught for milleniums.
So forget the pills and potions, sign up for a meditation class soon, and reap the benefits of a newly wired brain!