Vipassana meditation: systematic review of current evidence
Language: 
English
Short Title: 
Vipassana meditation
Abstract: 

OBJECTIVES: Vipassana meditation (VM) is one of the most ancient and diffused types of meditative practices belonging to the pole of mindfulness. Despite the growing interest toward the neurobiological and clinical correlates of many meditative practices, no review has specifically focused on current evidence on neuro-imaging and clinical evidence about VM. METHODS: A literature search was undertaken using MEDLINE,((R)) ISI web of knowledge, the Cochrane database, and references of retrieved articles. Controlled and cross-sectional studies with controls published in English up to March 2009 were included. RESULTS: Seven (7) mainly poor-quality studies were identified. Three (3) neuro-imaging studies suggested that VM practice could be associated with the activation of the prefrontal and the anterior cingulate cortex during meditative periods, and with increased thickness in cortical areas related to attention as well as increased subcortical gray matter in right insula and hippocampus in long-term meditators. Three (3) clinical studies in incarcerated populations suggested that VM could reduce alcohol and substance abuse but not post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms in prisoners. One (1) clinical study in healthy subjects suggested that VM could enhance more mature defenses and copying styles. DISCUSSION: Current studies provided preliminary results about neurobiological and clinical changes related to VM practice. Nonetheless, few and mainly low-quality data are available especially for clinical studies and current results have to be considered with caution. Further research is needed to answer critical questions about replications, self-selection, placebo, and long-term effects of VM.

Author(s): 
Chiesa, Alberto
Item Type: 
Journal Article
Publication Title: 
Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (New York, N.Y.)
Journal Abbreviation: 
J Altern Complement Med
Publication Date: 
2010-01
Publication Year: 
2010
Pages: 
37-46
Volume: 
16
Issue: 
1
ISSN: 
1557-7708
DOI: 
10.1089/acm.2009.0362
Library Catalog: 
PubMed
Extra: 
PMID: 20055558

Turabian/Chicago Citation

Alberto Chiesa. 2010-01. "Vipassana meditation: systematic review of current evidence." Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (New York, N.Y.) 16: 1: 37-46. 10.1089/acm.2009.0362.

Wikipedia Citation

<ref> {{Cite journal | doi = 10.1089/acm.2009.0362 | issn = 1557-7708 | volume = 16 | pages = 37-46 | last = Chiesa | first = Alberto | coauthors = | title = Vipassana meditation: systematic review of current evidence | journal = Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (New York, N.Y.) | date = 2010-01 | pmid = | pmc = }} </ref>