Transcendental Meditation

Study on gamma brainwaves

Neurofeedback-Enhanced Gamma Brainwaves from the Prefrontal Cortical Region of Meditators and Non-Meditators and Associated Subjective Experiences

Author:  Rubik, B.

Published:  Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine. 2011 Feb;17(2):109-15. Epub 2011 Feb 8.

Methods: OBJECTIVES: This study had two aims: (1) to explore the inner experiences associated with increased production of gamma brainwaves in an initial neurofeedback experience; and (2) to measure and compare neurofeedback-enhanced increased output from the prefrontal cortical region of meditators and non-meditators, using the Peak Brain Happiness Trainer neurofeedback system. DESIGN: This was a controlled pilot study; it involved a single session per subject. SETTING: The research was conducted in a nonprofit laboratory in the United States.SUBJECTS: There were 12 adults in 2 groups (N = 12): 6 practitioners of Transcendental Meditation and six controls. MEASURES: The measures were self-assessed inner experiences and measurements of clarified gamma output at the prefrontal cortical region.

Results: (1) Self-assessed descriptions were comparable for both groups; (2) the associations of 16 supplied descriptors with the initial neurofeedback experience were comparable for both groups and showed highest scores for “happy” (p < 0.0001) and “loving” (p < 0.0001), and lowest scores for “stressed” (p < 0.0001) and “disappointed” (p < 0.0001); (3) baseline measures were comparable for both groups; (4) both groups were able to increase gamma brainwaves using neurofeedback (p < 0.01); and (5) meditators produced greater increases over controls (p = 0.02).

CONCLUSIONS: The inner experience associated with increased clarified gamma amplitude from the prefrontal cortex apparently involves positive emotions of happiness and love, along with reduced stress. Transcendental Meditation practitioners achieved greater increases in the gamma band from the prefrontal cortical region over controls during an initial neurofeedback session.

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