Electroencephalographic (EEG) measurements of mindfulness-based Triarchic body-pathway relaxation technique: a pilot study

Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback. 2008 Mar;33(1):39-47. doi: 10.1007/s10484-008-9050-5. Epub 2008 Jan 24.

Abstract

Objective: The "Triarchic body-pathway relaxation technique" (TBRT) is a form of ancient Chinese mindfulness-based meditation professed to give rise to positive emotions and a specific state of consciousness in which deep relaxation and internalized attention coexist. The purpose of this study was to examine the EEG pattern generated during the practice of this mindfulness exercise, and compare it to music listening which has been shown to induce positive emotions.

Methods: Nineteen college students (aged 19-22 years) participated in the study. Each participant listened to both the TBRT and music audiotapes while EEG was recorded. The order of presentation was counterbalanced to avoid order effect. Two EEG indicators were used: (1) alpha asymmetry index, an indicator for left-sided anterior activation, as measure of positive emotions, and (2) frontal midline theta activity, as a measure for internalized attention.

Results: Increased left-sided activation, a pattern associated with positive emotions, was found during both TBRT exercise and music conditions. However, only TBRT exercise was shown to exhibit greater frontal midline theta power, a pattern associated with internalized attention.

Conclusions: These results provided evidence to support that the TBRT gives rise to positive emotional experience, accompanied by focused internalized attention.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alpha Rhythm
  • Arousal / physiology
  • Attention / physiology
  • Brain Mapping
  • Dominance, Cerebral / physiology
  • Electroencephalography*
  • Emotions / physiology
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe / physiology
  • Hong Kong
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meditation / methods*
  • Meditation / psychology
  • Music
  • Pilot Projects
  • Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted*
  • Theta Rhythm