Scientists looked at the effects of integrative body-mind training (IBMT) on two groups of university students.
After just four weeks, or 11 hours, of training scans showed physical changes in the brains of the volunteers.
Nerve fibres, known as ‘white matter’, became denser, providing greater numbers of brain-signalling connections. At the same time there was an expansion of myelin, the protective fatty insulation surrounding nerve fibres.
The effects were seen in the anterior cingulate cortex region of the brain, which helps regulate behaviour.
Poor nerve activity in this part of the brain is associated with a range of mental problems, including attention deficit disorder, dementia, depression, and schizophrenia.
The study built on previous research based on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans that first highlighted brain changes induced by IBMT.
Scientists revisited results from two 2010 studies, taking a closer look at what the scans revealed.