12 March 2009

University Students' Brains Improve with TM

University Students' Brains Improve with TM and Decline Without It … New Research

The International Journal of Psychophysiology has published the first random-assignment clinical study on the effects of the TM technique (Transcendental Meditation) on brain functioning and stress reactivity in university students. Results indicate that TM significantly improved students' brain function and reaction to stress. Those not practising TM showed decreased brain function and other measures of decline in only 10 weeks, from pre-test to post-test in the spring term leading up to Finals' Week (in the USA).

Typical university life - high pressure, interrupted sleep, alcohol and drug abuse - leaves its mark on the functioning of the brain, resulting in elevated stress and cognitive deterioration, according to the research article authored by Dr Fred Travis, Director of the Center for Brain, Consciousness and Cognition at Maharishi University of Management, Fairfield, Iowa, USA. Said Dr Travis, 'College is a time of great challenge for students. Most are making major life decisions for the first time. The academic, financial, and social demands of college can be highly stressful.'

Beginning in January 2006, scientists, including faculty of American University in Washington, DC, investigated the brain function, cognitive development, and health of 298 university students in the Washington area. Fifty students volunteered for a 10-week sub-study, and were randomly assigned to two control groups, either 'Immediate-start' or 'Delayed-start' for instruction in the Transcendental Meditation Technique. Research methods included EEG (brainwave) analysis combined to form a Brain Integration Scale and other empirically identified measures.

Data from the 'Delayed-start' group revealed significant decreases in Brain Integration Scale scores, increases in sleepiness, and impaired recovery from stress. In contrast, the practice of the Transcendental Meditation Technique by the 'Immediate-start' students appeared to buffer the effects of the high stress college lifestyle—students were less tired, recovered from stress better, and showed increased Brain Integration Scale scores, which is correlated with emotional stability, higher moral reasoning, and decreased anxiety.

Commenting on the significant findings of the study, Dr Travis said, 'We could speculate that frontal areas (of the brain) responsible for planning and guiding behaviour - which are activated during Transcendental Meditation - may lead to better decision making and lifestyle choices.'


NB. Transcendental Meditation is an effortless mental technique is practised in a comfortable sitting position with eyes closed for 20 minutes twice a day. (Morning and evening). It has a soothing effect on the central nervous system, calming the mind and giving the body a state of rest much deeper than sleep in which accumulated stress and tension is released. Anyone can learn it, regardless of their cultural background, attitude or IQ. and it has been taught worldwide since the early sixties by a non-profit educational organisation. Ref. www.tm.org

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