Matcha tea has a long history that’s deeply intertwined with the history of mindful meditation. In fact, to say that their shared history is long may be an understatement—Japanese Zen Buddhists have been using matcha as a meditation aid since the 12th century, and the Chinese were doing it way before that.
As more and more research comes out about the effects of mindful meditation, we’re seeing more just how meditation can have a major positive effect on both physical and mental health.
It makes you Smarter
Mindful meditation can actually alter the brain’s structure and neural patterns. A recent study showed a thickening of the cortical region which controls attention and sensory processing thanks to meditation and that meditation may offset cortical thinning that resulted from aging.
Mindful Meditation Reduces Stress
Millions of Americans suffer from high stress levels and have no effective way of coping with their stress. Although the Japanese have known that meditation can be a great stress reliever for centuries, the practice of mindful meditation actually entered the Western mainstream through what is called mindfulness-based stress reduction, or MSBR.
Although the idea of practicing secular meditation can be traced back to the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn beginning in 1979, studies confirm that mindful meditation can effectively reduce stress levels.
In one such study, researchers at Stanford concluded that mindful meditation reduced activity in participants’ amygdalas—the stress center of the brain—following eight weeks in a meditation course.
Say Goodby to Anxiety and Depression
Although everyone experiences worry and negative moods on occasion, millions of Americans have these feelings far too often. The good news is that these disorders are usually treatable, and mindfulness meditation may be a key component of treatment for many sufferers. In fact, researchers at Johns Hopkins point to dozens of trials that show a link between meditation and relief from symptoms of general anxiety disorder, depression, and pain.
A study at the University of North Carolina showed that couples who meditated were happier in their relationship than couples who did not. A 2007 study concurred and added that mindful meditation improved communication too.
Meditation can also help families and studies showed that parents of children who had developmental issues experienced less stress and improved communication with their children through mindful meditation.
In a study by Moore and Malinowski, 2009, the ability to focus and cognitive flexibility were shown to be vastly improved in subjects who practiced mindful meditation. From the APA: “One study found that people who practice mindfulness meditation appear to develop the skill of self-observation, which neurologically disengages the automatic pathways that were created by prior learning and enables present-moment input to be integrated in a new way (Siegel, 2007a). Meditation also activates the brain region associated with more adaptive responses to stressful or negative situations (Cahn & Polich, 2006; Davidson et al., 2003). Activation of this region corresponds with faster recovery to baseline after being negatively provoked (Davidson, 2000; Davidson, Jackson, & Kalin, 2000).”
Aid your meditation the Japanese way: have it with a cup of matcha tea! The amino acids found in matcha tea powder improve focus and reduce stress so you are able to meditate.