Monday, October 14, 2013

Distinctive brain correlates of brief compassion meditation.

This article by Hassenkamp provides a very useful integrative review of, and links to, several articles on brain correlates of mindfulness, empathy, and compassion meditation that I have noted separately in previous posts. It is becoming increasingly clear that even brief engagement with training or practice of compassion meditation enhances both perception of the emotional state of others and activity of the brain's networks related to love, affiliation, and positive emotion. Hassenkamp notes that the studies:
...highlight the important difference between merely having empathy, which can lead to negative emotions and even feelings of helplessness and burnout, versus compassion, which is rooted in loving, affiliative, positive feelings, and fosters a motivation to help. When faced with intense suffering, these findings could have major implications for strategies to overcome empathic distress and strengthen resilience, not to mention promoting helpful action.


  1. Until we reached age of 4 during the normal state of eyes open, awake and alert our brains were functioning in the delta state, with brain waves function at less than 4 Hz. But still when we have deep sleep our brains function in the delta state..

    From age of 4 to 7, during the normal state of eyes open, awake and alert our brains were primarily operating in theta state, with brain waves functioning mainly between between 4 to 7 Hz. Now we experience this level of brain wave activity during sleep and during states of fear when the body goes into a fight,-flight or freeze response, (hyper arousal, or the acute stress response). This is a powerful level from which to initiate change and in this state, we only need mostly just one or couple of experiences of learning to change our behaviour.

    From the age 7 until we reached our puberty, during the normal state of eyes open, awake and alert our brains were mainly operating in the alpha state of 7 to 14 Hz. Now during light sleep, meditation, or eyes closed relaxation we reach alpha state. At this level effective learning can take place after about 21 repetitions. Practice a new behaviour for about 21 times and that behaviour becomes a habit. Strong levels of physical healing can take place when the brain is at 10 Hz

    Since puberty during the normal state of eyes open, awake and alert our brain operates in the beta state, 14 to 21 Hz during the normal state of eyes open, awake and alert. In this state it may take many thousands of repetitions to learn a new behaviour. To create significant change in our lives at this level takes extensive deal of time and effort.

    Brain waves less than 7 Hz are very ideal for rejuvenating and to maintain good health.

  2. 0.5 Hz - Relaxation, Soothe headaches
    0.5 - 1.5 Hz - Pain relief. Endorphin release
    0.9 Hz - Euphoric feeling
    1 Hz - Well being. Harmony and balance
    1 - 3 Hz - Profound relaxation, restorative sleep. Tranquility and peace
    2.5 Hz - Production of endogenous opiates (pain killers, reduce anxiety)
    2.5 Hz - Relieves migraine pain. Produces endogenous opiates
    3 - 8 Hz - Deep relaxation, meditation. Lucid dreaming
    3 - 8 Hz - Increased memory, focus, creativity
    3.4 Hz - Helps achieve restful sleep
    3.5 Hz - Feeling of unity with everything. Whole being regeneration
    3.9 Hz - Self renewal, enhanced inner awareness
    4 Hz - Enkephalin release for reduced stress
    4 Hz - Allows brain to produce enkaphalins, all natural pain killer
    4 Hz - Full memory scanning. Releases enkephalins
    4.Hz - Vital for memory and learning. Problem solving, object naming
    4 - 7 Hz - Profound inner peace, emotional healing. Lowers mental fatigue
    4 - 7 Hz - Deep meditation, near-sleep brainwaves.
    4.5 Hz - Brings about Buddha's state of consciousness, Buddhist chants.
    4.9 Hz - Induce relaxation and deeper sleep
    4.9 Hz - Introspection. Relaxation, meditation
    5 Hz - Reduces sleep required. Replaces need for extensive dreaming
    5.3 Hz - Allows relaxing breathing, free and efficient
    5.5 Hz - Inner guidance, intuition
    6.5 Hz - Activates creative frontal lobe
    7.5 Hz - Activates creative thought for art, invention, music. Problem solving
    7.5 Hz - Ease of overcoming troublesome issues
    7.8 Hz - Schumann earth resonance. Grounding, meditative, Leaves us revitalized
    8 Hz - Associated with the mouth. Brings creativity
    8- 10 Hz Super-learning new information, memorization, not comprehension.
    10 Hz - Enhanced serotonin release. Mood elevation, arousal, stimulant
    10 Hz - Provides relief from lost sleep, improves general mood
    10 Hz - Mood elevator. Used to dramatically reduce headaches
    10 Hz - Clarity, subconscious correlation. Releases serotonin
    11 Hz - Relaxed yet awake state
    11 - 14 Hz - Increased focus and awareness
    12 Hz - Centering, mental stability.
    12 - 15 Hz - Relaxed focus, improved attentive abilities
    12 - 14 Hz - Learning frequency, good for absorbing information passively
    13 - 27 Hz - Promotes focused attention toward external stimuli
    13 - 30 Hz - Problem solving, conscious thinking
    14 Hz - Awakeness, alert. Concentration on tasks, Focusing, vitality.
    16 Hz - Bottom of hearing range. Releases oxygen/calcium into cells
    18 - 24 Hz — Euphoria, can result in headaches, anxiety.