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Transcendental Meditation Improves Brain Functioning In Students With ADHD

students in the study

Students with ADHD practiced Transcendental Meditation 10 minutes twice a day at school during a study to measure brain functioning and cognitive development. Credit: Maharishi University of Management

A random-assignment controlled study published today in Mind & Brain, The Journal of Psychiatry found improved brain functioning and decreased symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, ADHD, in students practicing the Transcendental Meditation® (TM) technique. The paper, “ADHD, Brain Functioning, and Transcendental Meditation Practice,” is the second published study demonstrating Transcendental Meditation’s ability to help students with attention-related difficulties. Included in this report is a link to a free digital version of this journal that includes the referenced study.

The first exploratory study, published in Current Issues in Education, followed a group of middle school students diagnosed with ADHD who meditated twice a day in school. After 3 months, researchers found over 50% reductions in stress, anxiety, and ADHD symptoms. During the study, a video was made of some students discussing what it felt like to have ADHD, and how those experiences changed after 3 months of regular Transcendental Meditation practice.

In this second study, lead author, neuroscientist Fred Travis, PhD, director of the Center for Brain, Consciousness and Cognition, joined principal investigator Sarina J. Grosswald, EdD, a George Washington University-trained cognitive learning specialist, and co-researcher William Stixrud, PhD, a prominent Silver Spring, Maryland, clinical neuropsychologist, to investigate the effects of Transcendental Meditation practice on task performance and brain functioning in 18 ADHD students, ages 11-14 years.

The study was conducted over a period of 6 months in an independent school for children with language-based learning disabilities in Washington, DC. The study showed improved brain functioning, increased brain processing, and improved language-based skills among ADHD students practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique.

A local TV news station reported on the study in-progress during the first 3 months.

What was Measured
Students were pretested, randomly assigned to Transcendental Meditation or delayed-start comparison groups, and post-tested at 3- and 6-months. Delayed-start students learned Transcendental Meditation after the 3-month post-test.

EEG measurements of brain functioning were taken while students were performing a demanding computer-based visual-motor task. Successful performance on the task requires attention, focus, memory, and impulse control.

In addition, students were administered a verbal fluency test. This test measured higher-order executive