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Dr. Gregory Pais, ND
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Grosswald SJ, Stixrud WR, Travis F, Bateh MA. Use of the Transcendental Meditation technique to reduce symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) by reducing stress and anxiety: An exploratory study. Curr Issues Educ 2008 Dec;10(2).

This exploratory study tested the feasibility of using the Transcendental Meditation? technique to reduce stress and anxiety as a means of reducing symptoms of ADHD. Students ages 11-14 were taught the technique, and practiced it twice daily in school. Common ADHD inventories and performance measures of executive function were administered at baseline and three months later. Results showed statistically significant reductions in stress, anxiety, and improvements in ADHD symptoms and executive function. +++++

The practice of transcendental meditation (TM) may help children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) manage their symptoms.

In this pilot study, researchers found that TM lessons appeared to calm the anxiety of children with ADHD, and improve their behavior and ability to think and concentrate.

TM is considered to be one of the simplest meditation techniques. Practitioners sit comfortably for 10 to 15 minutes with their eyes closed, silently repeating a mantra -- a sound, word or phrase -- to calm the mind and body. TM has been shown to affect the nervous system in a way that can alter a range of bodily functions, including breathing, blood vessel dilation and stress-hormone regulation.

This study showed that children with ADHD can not only learn the TM technique but also benefit from it. "The effect was much greater than we expected," lead researcher Sarina J. Grosswald, a cognitive learning specialist in Arlington, Virginia, said in a written statement. "The children also showed improvements in attention, working memory, organization, and behavior regulation," she added.

The study included 10 children between the ages of 11 and 14 who were attending a school for students with language-related learning disabilities. All had been diagnosed with ADHD and, though most were taking medication, were having problems at school and home.

The students were taught the TM technique and then practiced it at school twice a day, for 10 minutes at a time. After three months, the students reported lower stress and anxiety levels, while their ADHD symptoms also improved, based on questionnaires given to teachers and parents. "Teachers reported they were able to teach more," Grosswald said, "and students were able to learn more because they were less stressed and anxious."
"TM doesn't require concentration, controlling the mind or disciplined focus," Grosswald noted. "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."


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