In the News: The Effect of Meditation and Prayer on the Brain

Young woman performing yoga pose in living room

Dr. Andrew Newberg, Director of Research at the Myrna Brind Center of Integrative Medicine at Jefferson, recently spoke with the Huffington Post and The National Geographic Channel about his work studying the brain during spiritual practice and meditation.

Dr. Newberg compares the brain to an ordinary bicep muscle. When you exercise the bicep muscle, it grows, same with the brain.

“The more you do a practice like meditation or prayer, your brain physically gets thicker and it functionally works better,” Dr. Andrew Newberg said in the Huffington Post interview.

Dr. Newberg has studied the brains of Buddhist monks, Franciscan nuns, Muslim Meditators and Glossolalists, or “Tongue Speakers.” He uses imaging technology to study what happens in the brain during their spiritual practices and experiences like prayer, meditation, speaking in tongues and trance states.

According to Dr. Newberg, “Our research indicates that our only way of comprehending God, asking questions about God, and experiencing God is through the brain,” he explained.  “Whether or not God exists out there is something that neuroscience cannot answer.”

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