Instead of expensive gadgets or medication, smokers can now cut down their tobacco intake by as much as 60 percent thanks to a type of meditation developed in China.
The Texas Tech University and the University of Oregon study, which looked at the effect of the mindfulness meditation known as Integrative Body-Mind Training (IBMT) on the pathways in the brain related to addiction and self-control, discovered that by practicing the meditation exercise, smokers curtailed their habit by 60 percent.
The control group that received a relaxation regimen instead showed no reduction in their smoking.
"We found that participants who received IBMT training also experienced a significant decrease in their craving for cigarettes," Yi-Yuan Tang, a co-author and director of Texas Tech's Neuroimaging Institute, said.
"Because mindfulness meditation promotes personal control and has been shown to positively affect attention and an openness to internal and external experiences, we believe that meditation may be helpful for coping with symptoms of addiction," the researcher said.
IBMT, which involves whole-body relaxation, mental imagery and mindfulness training led by a qualified coach, has long been practiced in China.
It differs from other forms of meditation because it depends heavily on the inducement of a high degree of awareness and balance of the body, mind and environment.
The meditation state is facilitated through training and trainer-group dynamics, harmony and resonance.
Tang has studied the meditation practice for its potential impacts on a variety of stresses and related changes in the brain, including function and structure.
The findings are published in the Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.