Could you elaborate on the science behind this mindfulness-based approach? What is happening inside the brain of a patient before and after this intervention?

What is happening inside the brain of the person who practices mindfulness is a hot topic in research these days. With new technologies in brain imaging techniques, we are able to see changes in the brain like never before. Compelling studies support the argument that mindfulness can lead to more adaptive changes in the brain as a person responds to old and new stimuli. One example is research conducted by Sara Lazar and her colleagues at Harvard suggesting that meditation leads to cortical growth and thickening in parts of the brain associated with focal attention, fear, and emotion regulation. The study revealed that experienced meditators versus non-meditators were more effective in sending information to unconscious areas of the brain, areas that exert influence on our ability to calm ourselves down when we might have an over-reaction of fear to a benign event or body sensation, as is the case with tinnitus.
Neuroimaging findings support the Hebbian theory: “Neurons that fire together wire together.” I emphasize that it is the very ‘awareness’ that shines the light on maladaptive thinking habits and behaviors giving us more conscious control to choose more adaptive choices. When we practice bringing awareness to our thoughts and actions (ie, regular yoga and meditation), we can strengthen connections within the brain. These connections facilitate better opportunity and more space as to how we choose to respond to our experience with tinnitus. Such practice contributes to creating new tinnitus neural networks, ones that can help to keep the brain in balance. Clearing the way for the natural process of habituation to take place is the result.

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