Children with ADHD May Benefit from Transcendental Meditation

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

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • ashley


    July 30th, 2011 at 12:15 PM

    if a part of the body is weak,exercise fixes it.and if it comes to the brain then mental exercises like this should definitely help.its surely great news for a lot of kids with ADHD.

  • Avant garde

    Avant garde

    July 30th, 2011 at 2:28 PM

    But how to teach children this process? It is quite complicated and even adults sometimes have a difficult time mastering the nuances. The patience, the time, it all seems a bit much for child don’t you think?

  • Kurt


    July 30th, 2011 at 7:43 PM

    How are the children taught TM? A child with ADHD is so hard to keep focused I would think that getting them in a state prepared for meditation of any sort would be extremely difficult. Add to that the fact that traditional TM from my research is done twice per day it has to be difficult.

    For anyone that knows how the techniques of TM are taught to a child with ADHD I would be most appreciative of the knowledge or a few pointers. My son has suffered for long enough and medication is a great thing, but some summer time non-medicated treatment that could potentially show benefits would be even better.



    July 31st, 2011 at 12:42 PM

    Well,in reply to the posters above me,yeah it does sound tough to teach a child with ADHD meditation,but then if it could be made fun and if some sort of a reward system is used,then it is possible that it will work out.An effort in teaching them TM will go a long way in their recovery.

  • Kevin


    July 31st, 2011 at 5:56 PM

    @Terrence mentions a very good methodology for teaching TM to children with ADHD. I would think that maybe with positive reinforcement and potentially a well thought plan with each child the introduction of TM may be possible. I would start by doing very short meditation sessions and hopefully as the child experiences a higher satisfied state in life the sessions could become longer.

  • Faith


    August 1st, 2011 at 4:31 AM

    Is this to be used only if the traditional therapies are not making an impact? Because I for one would think that there are a whole lot of other ways to reach kids in thsi type of situation rather than trying TM which is hard for even some of the most focused adults! Would n’t something like this kind of set the child up for feeling even more like he was failing at something if he was not a success with it?

  • ryan


    August 1st, 2011 at 6:46 AM

    meditation is hard for adults let alone kids…!kids talk a lot to meditate anyway…maybe we should try to have some more ‘academic’ methods for ADHD…?

  • Tim


    August 1st, 2011 at 8:32 AM

    TM is actually easily learned and practiced. It makes use of a natural tendency of the mind to settle down. The kids don’t have to try to do it, they just follow the simple instruction and it works by itself.

  • H2O


    August 1st, 2011 at 2:48 PM

    So if the brain in blocking out even relevant information in those with ADHD,how do they make meditation work?I guess its all about brain waves and the different kinds of them, but it would be interesting to know. Anyone can link to a suitable article?

  • shannon


    August 2nd, 2011 at 4:38 AM

    There are a number of great therapy options available. The key is for parents not to stop just at one or two that are the newsmakers of the day. Keep all of your options opne because you never really know when something better could come along that could really help your child with his or her struggles.

  • Rogeer Gurr

    Rogeer Gurr

    August 2nd, 2011 at 11:31 AM

    No Problem with children learning.
    I have taught several children.

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