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Transcendental Meditation 'trains the brain to function in a style opposite to that of ADHD'

Maharishi University of Management    Translate This Article
26 July 2011

New study shows Transcendental Meditation improves brain functioning in ADHD students
Continuation of press release from Maharishi University of Management about a new study, published 26 July 2011 in Mind & Brain, The Journal of Psychiatry (Vol 2, No 1): ADHD, Brain Functioning, and Transcendental Meditation Practice.
The random-assignment controlled study found improved brain functioning and decreased symptoms of attention-deficit / hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in students practicing the Transcendental Meditation® (TM) technique.

See earlier sections of this press release:
'A non-drug approach to enhance students' ability to learn'
'What was measured: Theta/Beta Power Ratios and ADHD' & 'Why the TM Technique'

Why the TM Technique, continued:

The Transcendental Meditation technique is an effortless, easy-to-learn practice, unique among categories of meditation. ''TM does not require concentration, controlling the mind or disciplined focus—challenges for anyone with ADHD,'' added principal investigator Sarina J. Grosswald, EdD, a George Washington University-trained cognitive learning specialist.

There is substantial research showing the effectiveness of the TM technique for reducing stress and anxiety, and improving cognitive functioning among the general population.

''What's significant about these new findings,'' Grosswald said, ''is that among children who have difficulty with focus and attention, we see the same results. The fact that these children are able to do TM, and do it easily, shows us that this technique may be particularly well-suited for children with ADHD.''

Transcendental Meditation produces an experience of restful alertness, which is associated with higher metabolic activity in the frontal and parietal parts of the brain, indicating alertness, along with decreased metabolic activity in the thalamus, which is involved in regulating arousal, and hyperactivity.

With regular practice, this restfully alert brain state, characteristic of the TM technique, becomes more present outside of meditation, allowing ADHD students to attend to tasks. ''In a sense,'' said lead author, neuroscientist Fred Travis, PhD, director of the Center for Brain, Consciousness, and Cognition, ''the repeated experience of the Transcendental Meditation technique trains the brain to function in a style opposite to that of ADHD.''

Improved Brain Functioning

During the practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique, coherence is found across different EEG frequencies. After meditation, the brain utilizes this increased functioning ability to support the performance of a task in an integrated manner.

Three months of TM practice resulted in significant decreases in theta/beta ratios and increased verbal fluency. This translates into improved executive function and more efficient cognitive processing.

During the first 3 months of the study, the theta/beta ratios of the control group (delayed start) actually increased. After learning, and practicing TM for 3 months, this group experienced dramatic decreases in theta/beta ratios and increased verbal fluency as well.

Contact: Ken Chawkin
Tel: +1 641-470-1314
Maharishi University of Management

The study was funded by a grant from the David Lynch Foundation.

Global Good News will continue to feature the results of the new study in the coming days, including:
∙ surveys assessing parents' and students' perceptions of improvements in the children's ADHD symptoms
∙ fact sheets about the Transcendental Meditation technique and ADHD.

© Copyright 2011 Global Good News®

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