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Maharishi University of Management neuroscientists in forefront of EEG brain research on Transcendental Meditation
by Global Good News staff writer
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24 July 2013
The seventh volume of Scientific Research on Maharishi's Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi Programme: Collected Papers has been completed. The 950-page volume includes 81 scientific papers published in research journals between 1997 and 2005. The papers are authored by 116 researchers from 50 universities in 12 countries. Thirty-nine of the authors are from Maharishi University of Management.
Neuroscience faculty at Maharishi University of Management have contributed substantially to the body of published EEG brain wave research on Transcendental Meditation. Studies conducted through the years by Dr Fred Travis and colleagues at MUM and other institutions has been published in the International Journal of Psychology, Biological Psychology, Consciousness and Cognition, Electroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology, and the International Journal of Neuroscience.
Dr Travis has summarized results of this research in a series of 'alpha coherence maps' that show graphically a great increase in alpha brain wave coherence during Transcendental Meditation, compared to sitting with eyes open and sitting with eyes closed. EEG alpha coherence was seen especially in the prefrontal cortex of the brain, known as the 'CEO' of the brain.
Another study by Dr Travis, who is Director of the Center for Brain, Consciousness, and Cognition at MUM, delineated the different EEG brain wave patterns found during the practice of three main categories of meditation: focused attention, open monitoring, and automatic self-transcending.
During focused attention (concentration) types of meditation, brain waves are fast gamma waves (20-50 Hz); during open monitoring types of meditation (including mindfulness), researchers see slow theta waves (4-8 Hz)—the brain wave activity in both of these categories reflecting activity at the surface of the mind, the conscious thinking level. During Transcendental Meditation, which is in the automatic self-transcending category, highly coherent alpha waves in the 8-10 Hz range are seen. This study shows that, objectively speaking, Transcendental Meditation is completely different from other forms of meditation.
The Brain Integration Progress Report, developed by Dr Travis and other researchers, shows the development of brain coherence through the students' years of education. Through periodic EEG testing made available to students, they have the opportunity see how their brain wave coherence is increasing through their daily practice of Transcendental Meditation and its advanced techniques—a central aspect of Consciousness-Based Education offered at MUM. The Brain Integration Progress Report is a key feature offered in Consciousness-Based Education.
When an educator who is a psychologist visited Maharishi University of Management and saw the evidence of this level of increased coherence during Transcendental Meditation, particularly in the prefrontal cortex, he was deeply impressed, commented Dr Bevan Morris, President of Maharishi University of Management.
Dr Travis's research is so compelling, Dr Morris said, that during his recent speaking tour of Australia hundreds of medical professionals attended his lectures.
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