New Study: Transcendental Meditation Technique Reduces ADHD Symptoms (Released 1-30-09 by MUM's "Achievements" e-mail newsletter)
The Transcendental Meditation® technique may be an effective and safe non-pharmaceutical aid for treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) according to a promising new study published last month in the peer-reviewed online journal Current Issues in Education .
The study was conducted in a private K-12 school for children with language-based learning disabilities. Participation was restricted to 10 students, ages 11-14, who had pre-existing diagnoses of ADHD. About half of the students were on medication. The students practiced the TM technique at school in a group for 10 minutes, morning and afternoon.
After three months, researchers found over 50 percent reduction in stress and anxiety, and improvements in ADHD symptoms.
“The effect was much greater than we expected,” said Sarina J. Grosswald, Ed.D., a George Washington University-trained cognitive learning specialist, M.U.M. adjunct faculty, and lead researcher on the study. “The children also showed improvements in attention, working memory, organization, and behavior regulation.”
Dr. Grosswald said that after the in-school meditation routine began, “teachers said they were able to teach more, and students were able to learn more because they were less stressed and anxious.”
Other research shows ADHD children have slower brain development and a reduced ability to cope with stress. “This results in impaired executive functioning, causing difficulty with skills such as analyzing, problem solving, and focus,” said Dr. Grosswald. “By reducing stress through the practice of the TM technique, executive functioning improves – reducing the symptoms of ADHD.”
“The results were quite remarkable,” said Daryl Schoenbach, mother of one of the students. “The twice daily meditations smoothed things out, gave her perspective, and enabled her to be in greater control of her own life when things started falling apart. It took some time, but it gradually changed the way she handled crises and enabled her to feel confident that she could take on greater challenges.”
There is growing concern about the health risks and side effects associated with ADHD medications and the Transcendental Meditation technique can provide a safer alternative for parents and their children.
Dr. Fred Travis, Director of the Center for Brain, Consciousness and Cognition at M.U.M. also coauthored this study, which was funded by the Abramson Family Foundation and the Institute for Community Enrichment.
Click here to view an interview with participating students
Click here to view PBS Feature on the TM technique and ADHD