Meditation is a self-regulatory, mind-body process used to help engage attention and awareness, and to produce a state of inner quiescence. It has been used as a self-transformative practice for millennia, most notably in the Far East. Interest in meditation was evident in the United States in the late 19th century, and began to flourish during the early 1960s as Transcendental Meditation, Zen, and other traditions grew significantly in popularity. Over the ensuing decades a large body of scientific literature has also emerged. One factor contributing to this growth in publications is an increasingly sophisticated ability to measure brain activity using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and advance EEG and MEG technologies. National surveys, including the National Health Interview Survey's (NHIS), also show clear evidence of growing consumer interest in meditation. The NHIS shows use of meditation to be in the top ten most commonly used complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies. The most recent 2007 NHIS compared findings of meditation use with reported use in the 2002 survey. A statistically significant increase in mediation practice among adults in the previous 12 months was noted, up from 7.6% in 2002 to 9.4% in 2007.

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