tDCS and Meditation
Transcranial direct current stimulation has been occupying the neuroscience limelight over the last couple of years as an easily applied method that can enhance the cognitive powers in the healthy population. Though the idea of “buzzing” the brain with a low-level electrical current to treat patients with mental disorders is not a new one, it has been applied for decades now; the idea of applying the direct current to stimulate the brain of healthy individuals seems to be a breakthrough that many neuroscientists have welcomed with open arms. Though the evidence regarding tDCS and its application is still elusive, partly due to the nature of the experiments and partly to the lack of a study broad enough to be considered for Meta analysis, many people who have tried it swear by it.
tDCS is applied using a device, such as TheBrainDriver, by an individual usually in the comfort of their home or office. The device is composed of two electrodes, anode (positive) and cathode (negative), and a battery. The electrodes are placed on the skull of an individual. The placement of electrodes is determined by what the individual is seeking to improve upon; cognitive powers, creative thinking, faster responsiveness or whether they want to reach the “flow”, aka, the feeling of concentration where each new skill is mastered effortlessly.
The tDCS montages, i.e. electrode positions that we were mostly interested in were “savant” and “empathy”, as they enhance the meditative state within an individual, or at least that is what people using tDCS have reported.
With the cathode placed on the left temple and anode on the right temple, savant montage allows the brain to reach the equilibrium between the lateral thinking and creativity. The standard montage usually concentrates too much on the thinking part, which often leaves an individual feeling overly focused on a task. Giving undivided attention on one thing can often result in a feeling of nervousness and tension, which is why it is important to exercise not just the standard montage, but the savant one as well. After the session that usually lasts for 20 or 30 minutes, an individual can transform themselves into a meditative state prior to practicing their regular meditation.
With the anode placed on the back upper head and the cathode on the left side at the same position, this montage increases the sense of empathy that the user has for other people. This montage is in perfect sync with Loving Kindness Meditation, aka Metta, the aim of which is to send positive thoughts and vibrations towards three people that the individual practicing meditation has contact: a close person, a neutral one and one that they have had a conflict with.
These tDCS montages are just an example of what multiple studies have shown promising results. However, it must be noted that there are no clear evidence for the results listed by some of the people using tDCS for meditative purposes. As with everything, it is advised that further research is done prior to trying it out.
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tDCS Devices with Digital Precision