Research has shown improved brain functioning and decreased symptoms of ADHD in students practicing Transcendental Meditation. Researchers investigated how Transcendental Meditation affects brain functioning and task performance in ADHD students.
The study showed improved language-based skills, increased brain processing, and improved brain functioning in ADHD students practicing Transcendental Meditation.
EEG (Electroencephalograph) was used to measure brain functioning when students were working on a difficult computer based visual motor task. In order to perform successfully on the task memory, focus, attention, and impulse control is required. .
Students were also given a verbal fluency test, in which higher-order executive functions, such as simultaneous processing, initiation and systematic retrieval of knowledge were measured. Performance on this task is dependent upon a number of fundamental cognitive factors, including spelling, vocabulary knowledge, and attention.
Theta brain waves in relation to beta brain waves can be measured with EEG measurements, and the theta/beta ratio can effectively distinguish ADHD students from those not having it.
While theta EEG around 4-5 Hz is generally related to unfocused mental states, drowsiness, and daydreaming, theta EEG around 6-8 Hz is observed when a person is focused on inner mental tasks, which include identifying, memory processing, and associating.
In normal people, theta activity inside the brain while performing tasks indicates that irrelevant information is being blocked out by the brain so the individual can concentrate on the task. However, the theta activity is even higher in people having ADHD, indicating that relevant information is also being blocked out by the brain.
And when beta activity is lower than normal, it has an effect on the ability to focus on tasks for longer time periods.
In the course of the practice of Transcendental Meditation, coherence is observed across different EEG frequencies. The brain makes use of this increased functioning ability after meditation to support task performance in an integrated way.
3 months of Transcendental Meditation practice resulted in a considerable decrease in theta/beta ratios and increase in verbal fluency. This leads to better cognitive processing and improved executive function.
After six months, a 48 percent reduction in the theta/beta power ratios was observed as well as a 30 percent increase in brain coherence. Research has found that theta/beta power ratios are decreased by 3 percent with pharmaceuticals and neurofeedback by 25 percent.