Zen MONQ Increases Relaxation During Meditation
The plant kingdom features a repository of compounds that exhibit anxiolytic properties upon humans. These phytochemicals can be captured within natural botanical products, such as essential oils, making it possible to experience their benefits whenever the need arises. Aromatherapy providers leverage these properties to make bold claims about the efficacy of their products, but there are few scientific studies or sets of published data to support these claims.
Based on the existing literature on aromatherapeutic use of essential oils in the context of stress¹, and the anecdotal reports from Zen MONQ users, we hypothesized that inhalation and the subsequent intranasal absorption of specific plant extracts increases relaxation and enhances a meditative state. Electroencephalograms (EEGs) record patterns of brain waves which can provide a robust measurement of meditation and stress². Concerning the four major types of brain waves (delta, theta, alpha, beta), an increase in Currently anecdotal accounts suggest that Zen MONQ decreases stress for users, but formal studies have not yet been published alpha and theta represents a transition to or increased level of resting and meditative states²,³.
EEGs and Meditation
Experiments were carried out based on a study led by Thilo Hinterberger at Germany’s University Medical Center Regensburg⁴. Briefly, subjects were fitted with a wireless Emotiv EEG headset and asked to meditate in their preferred technique, during which brain waves would be recorded. The study was run over the course of two days, and subjects used a Zen MONQ and placebo on alternate day sessions.
Preliminary results show a significant increase in relaxation during meditation immediately following use of Zen, indicated by an effect size of 0.62 (Figure 1). Furthermore, alpha and theta waves increased by 5%, indicating that participants achieved more of a relaxed meditative state when using Zen (Figure 2). Heat maps of brain activity support this finding, showing a notable increase in occipital and frontal alpha and theta waves (Figure 3). In related experiments, other researchers have shown that transcendental meditation states achieve an effect size of 0.3-0.5, which are associated with decreased anxiety and cognitive worry symptoms⁵. A larger sample size is needed to confirm these promising preliminary findings.
Figure 1: Using Zen MONQ while meditating increases relaxation with an effect size of 0.62. Relaxation scores were obtained from Emotiv’s Affective Suite, which uses proprietary algorithms to filter and translate brainwaves to emotional states.
Figure 2: Alpha+Theta wave power increased when meditating with Zen MONQ. An increase in alpha and theta wave powers is commonly seen in resting and meditative states.
Figure 3: Heat maps of topographic brain activity show an increase in alpha and theta waves when meditating with Zen MONQ. On average, alpha and theta waves increased in the occipital and frontal areas.
1. Ali, B. et al. Essential oils used in aromatherapy: A systemic review. Asian Pac. J. Trop. Biomed. 5, 601–611 (2015).
2. Ahani, A. et al. Quantitative change of EEG and respiration signals during mindfulness meditation. J. Neuroeng. Rehabil. 11, 87 (2014).
3. Kim, D.-K., Lee, K.-M., Kim, J., Whang, M.-C. & Kang, S. W. Dynamic correlations between heart and brain rhythm during Autogenic meditation. Front. Hum. Neurosci. 7, 414 (2013).
4. Hinterberger, T., Schmidt, S., Kamei, T. & Walach, H. Decreased electrophysiological activity represents the conscious state of emptiness in meditation. Front. Psychol. 5, (2014).
5. Tomljenović, H., Begić, D. & Maštrović, Z. Changes in trait brainwave power and coherence, state and trait anxiety after three-month transcendental meditation (TM) practice. Psychiatr. Danub. 28, 63–72 (2016).