Transcendental meditation (TM) was used in a new study to determine if it would help children with ADHD improve their focus and attention. “We chose the TM technique for this study because studies show that it increases brain function. We wanted to know if it would have a similar effect in the case of ADHD, and if it did, would that also improve the symptoms of ADHD,” said principal investigator, Sarina J. Grosswald, Ed.D. The researchers recruited 18 children with ADHD, between the ages of 11 and 14, and had them participate in TM over a period of six months. The children’s brains were measured using an electroencephalogram for activity while they performed a rigorous visual-motor assignment. The task demanded focus, memory, attention and impulse control. The findings revealed that all of the children experienced increased brain functioning, processing abilities and even higher executive functioning, as a result of the TM.
Fred Travis, Ph.D., a neuroscientist and researcher on the study, said “In normal individuals, theta activity in the brain during tasks suggests that the brain is blocking out irrelevant information so the person can focus on the task. But in individuals with ADHD, the theta activity is even higher, suggesting that the brain is also blocking out relevant information.” He said that this results in decreased focus and concentration. Additionally, previous research has found that children with ADHD have limited capacities for dealing with stressful situations. Current studies have indicated that TM is an effective method for decreasing stress and therefore could benefit these children.
“What’s significant about these new findings,” said Grosswald, “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.”
© Copyright 2011 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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