I recently conducted an experiment recording EEG during an eyes open mindfulness meditation. I saw a substantial amount of alpha bursts throughout the meditation both in the occipital and frontal regions of the brain. Is anyone aware of any research that demonstrates high alpha waves during eyes open relaxation, focus or mindfulness training?
There are many studies suggesting an increased alpha activity during mindfulness/meditation (Delmonte, 1984). Below is a table from Cahn & Polich (2006) summarizing the recent studies of meditation using EEG methods, not all of them mentioned it's eyes open or not, but the effect of increased alpha power can be long lasting(Davidson & Lutz, 2008), thus higher alpha activity should be observed during eyes open as well. The article also points out that the increased alpha power is related to increased relaxation induced by mindfulness/meditation practice.
May not relevant to your question, but it might be interesting to look at theta power as well, since it's mentioned together with alpha in quite a few studies(Dunn et al., 1999;Lagopoulos et al., 2009; Ivanovski & Malhi, 2007) .
- Delmonte, M. M. (1984). Electrocortical activity and related phenomena associated with meditation practice: A literature review. International Journal of Neuroscience, 24(3-4), 217-231.
- Cahn BR, Polich J (2006) Meditation states and traits: EEG, ERP, and neuroimaging studies. Psychological Bulletin 132: 180–211. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.132.2.180
- Davidson RJ, Lutz A (2008) Buddha's Brain: Neuroplasticity and Meditation. IEEE Signal Process Mag 25: 176–174. doi: 10.1109/msp.2008.4431873
- Dunn, B. R., Hartigan, J. A., & Mikulas, W. L. (1999). Concentration and mindfulness meditations: unique forms of consciousness?. Applied psychophysiology and biofeedback, 24(3), 147-165.
- Lagopoulos, J., Xu, J., Rasmussen, I., Vik, A., Malhi, G. S., Eliassen, C. F., ... & Ellingsen, Ø. (2009). Increased theta and alpha EEG activity during nondirective meditation. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 15(11), 1187-1192.
- Ivanovski, B., & Malhi, G. S. (2007). The psychological and neurophysiological concomitants of mindfulness forms of meditation. Acta neuropsychiatrica, 19(2), 76-91.