Dr. Peter Van Houten, M.D. is the founder and medical director of a medical clinic in Nevada City, CA. He is also an Ananda minister and resident of Ananda Village. When he’s not working at the clinic, he gives talks and writes articles about the science of meditation and spirituality.

How Meditation Can Increase Happiness

Engineered for Divinity

In the early 1980’s, I attended a revolutionary conference for scientists who specialize in the brain and nervous system called, “The Ever-changing Brain.” New information was being discovered about the nature of our brain and central nervous system that corroborated strongly with what the ancient spiritual traditions of yoga said about the brain’s ability to change. Read More

Meditation Reverses Chronic Pain: The Scientific Evidence

One of the breakthrough studies was published in 2011. It involved 15 non-meditators who were taught a mindfulness meditation technique of watching the breath and letting go of distracting thoughts. A pain-producing heat device was placed on the skin of each participant’s right leg. Both before and after meditation training, this heat device was heated to a temperature of 120 degrees F – a temperature that most people would find painful. Read More

Meditation Slows Aging: The Scientific Evidence

peterAbout four months ago some reporters from India who were visiting the United States and touring Ananda Village interviewed me. I was surprised that one of the main things they wanted to know was how my patients who meditated regularly and lived the Ananda lifestyle differed from my other patients. After thinking about it for a moment I said, “Well, on average, they appear to be about 10 years younger.” Read More

DNA: Our Karmic Thumbprint?

With science’s latest understanding of genetics, we are experiencing a phenomenon similar to the change in our understanding of how the brain functions. In the early 1980s most neuroscientists thought that by age 22, our brain stopped changing. Now we know the brain is very changeable, and that there are specific things we can do to change it in positive ways. Read More

Meditation Protects You against Stress and Disease: The Latest Scientific Research

We’ve known for some time that stress is a major factor in the onset or worsening of many diseases, but we now have solid scientific research identifying the main biological changes triggered by stress and explaining how they undermine the immune system’s function. There is also recent scientific research which shows that meditation is an important safeguard against stress-related diseases and that it can produce effects equal to standard medications. Read More

Meditation and Emotions: Their Impact on Your Brain and Health

From the standpoint of health, negative emotions like anger, fear, and intolerance activate the limbic system, the part of the brain that stores negative emotions and functions as the brain’s “fight or flight” safety net. All negative emotions, but especially anger and fear, release destructive neurochemicals into the brain which, over time, can cause cardiovascular disease and other serious health problems. Read More

Science Catches Up with Ancient Yoga

The controversy in science at the time was whether people were doing something unique when they meditated or just sleeping. Well-known physiologists were saying, “When people meditate, they’re just napping and, of course, anyone would feel better with a little extra sleep.” Read More

Your Brain: Highway to the Infinite

In the last twenty-five years, scientific thought has come full circle in its understanding of the brain and its potential for change. We now understand that the brain and the central nervous system are among the most changeable organs in the body. This “plasticity” of the brain is part of what allows us to make fundamental changes in our behavior. Read More

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