Meditation Studies: In 2008 Richard J. Davidson and his group at the University of Wisconsin–Madison published a classic study with the active participation of Ricard and other Buddhist monks. The cognitive scientists fitted skullcaps with 128 electroencephalographic (EEG) electrodes to the heads of eight long-term Buddhist practitioners and 10 student volunteers. The former were asked to attain a state of “unconditional loving-kindness and compassion” (a form of meditation that does not focus on a single object and is sometimes referred to as “pure compassion”), whereas the volunteers thought about somebody he or she deeply cared about and then tried to generalize these feelings to all sentient beings.

The onset of meditation in the monks coincided with an increase in high-frequency EEG electrical activity in the so-called gamma band (spanning 25 to 42 oscillations a second), which was synchronized across the frontal and parietal cortices. Such activity is thought to be the hallmark of highly active and spatially dispersed groups of neurons, typically associated with focusing attention. Indeed, gamma activity in these monks is the largest seen in nonpathological conditions and 30 times greater than in the novices. The more years the monks had been practicing meditation, the stronger the (normalized) power in the gamma band.

More important, even when the monks were not meditating, but simply quietly resting, their baseline brain activity was distinct from that of the students. That is, these techniques, practiced by Buddhists for millennia to quiet, focus and expand the mind—the interior aspect of the brain—had changed the brain that is the exterior aspect of the mind. And the more training they had, the bigger the effect.

This article was originally published with the title “The Brain of Buddha” in SA Mind 24, 3, 28-31 (July 2013)


(Further Reading)

Long-Term Meditators Self-Induce High-Amplitude Gamma Synchrony during Mental Practice. A. Lutz, L. L. Greischar, N. B. Rawlings, M. Ricard and R. J. Davidson in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, Vol. 101, No. 46, pages 16,369–16,373; November 16, 2004.

Buddha’s Brain: Neuroplasticity and Meditation. R. J. Davidson and A. Lutz in IEEE Signal Processing Magazine, Vol. 25, No. 1, pages 174–176; January 1, 2008.

Brain Mechanisms Supporting the Modulation of Pain by Mindfulness Meditation.F. Zeidan, K. T. Martucci, R. A. Kraft, N. S. Gordon, J. G. McHaffie and R. C. Coghill in Journal of Neuroscience, Vol. 31, No. 14, pages 5540–5548; April 6, 2011.


I met Robert Mathie a few years ago at the Faculty of Homeopathy Conference in Glasgow. Robert is not a homeopath, but he is one of the authors of this study, which he has been working on for 4 years. He was very excited that Systematic Reviews were publishing, as they only accept research for publication where the science is rock solid, and the science shows positive effects for RCT’s of individualised homeopathic treatment, which is what I do.  This is also what I find in practise, so it good to see that the science confirms what I see everyday, but also that there is a significant difference when the person takes the homeopathic medicine.

One of the most exciting developments in the war on cancer has just been published in the Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies, where new research shows that the homeopathic remedy, Lycopodium Clavatum (a spore bearing plant from the clubmoss family), has an anti-cancer effect on infected cells while protecting normal blood cells.  It is recommended that any cancer patients speak to the clinician responsible for their care and treatment before embarking on therapy to manage the symptoms of cancer.

An 8 year long study into the effects of homeopathic treatment in Germany and Switzerland concludes that “Patients who seek homeopathic treatment are likely to improve considerably. These effects persist for as long as 8 years.”

The English translation of the Swiss government report on homeopathy has now been published. The Bornhöft & Matthiessen HTA report ends with this statement: “In conclusion we have established that there is sufficient supporting evidence for the pre-clinical (experimental) as well as clinical effects of homeopathy, and that in absolute terms, as well as when compared to conventional therapies, it offers a safe and cost-effective treatment.” Click here to order a copy.

Click here to read more of the preview.

Homeopathy found to be 10x more effective than placebo in recent double blind placebo-controlled trial for nasal allergies.

Study into homeopathic Practice in Belgium projects €775 million (2/3 of the national drugs budget) saving if homeopathy were to be fully implemeted in their health service. This is set in the context of the good clinical outcomes found in the study.

The Faculty of Homeopathy Research pages

Dr Russell Malcolm talking to the Royal College of Physicians about the evidence for Homeopathy Part 1 May 2010

Dr Russell Malcolm talking about the evidence for Homeopathy Part 2 May 2010

The Society of Homeopaths Evidence Base

Nobel Prize winner reports effects of homeopathic dilutions: In a recent study Professor Luc Montagnier, a French virologist who co-discovered HIV and who won the Nobel Prize in 2008, and his team report the results of a series of rigorous experiments investigating the electromagnetic properties of highly-diluted biological samples. Read More…

ENHR Research Summary (2005)

Homeopathyworkedforme Multinational study into the effects of homeopathy on ENT Problems

Homeopathy on the NHS in Nottingham – Award winning project