Transcendental Meditation

Study on stress and brain function

Effects of Transcendental Meditation practice on brain functioning and stress reactivity in college students

Authors:  Travis, F.; Haaga, D.A.; Hagelin, J.; Tanner, M.; Nidich, S.; Gaylord-King, C.; Grosswald, S.; Rainforth, M.; Schneider, R.H.

Published:  International Journal of Psychophysiology, Volume 71, Issue 2, February 2009, pp 170–176

Methods: This randomized controlled trial investigated effects of Transcendental Meditation (TM) practice on Brain Integration Scale scores (broadband frontal coherence, power ratios, and preparatory brain responses), electrodermal habituation to 85-dB tones, sleepiness, heart rate, respiratory sinus arrhythmia, and P300 latencies in 50 college students. After pretest, students were randomly assigned to learn Transcendental Meditation immediately or learn after the 10-week posttest. There were no significant pretest group differences.

Results: A MANOVA of students with complete data (N=38) yielded significant group vs treatment interactions for Brain Integration Scale scores, sleepiness, and habituation rates (all p<.007). Post hoc analyses revealed significant increases in Brain Integration Scale scores for Immediate-start students but decreases in Delayed-start students; significant reductions in sleepiness in Immediate-start students with no change in Delayed-start students; and no changes in habituation rates in Immediate-start students, but significant increases in Delayed-start students. These data support the value of Transcendental Meditation practice for college students.

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