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Mindfulness is associated with low levels of neuroticism, anxiety, and depressive symptoms, as well as high levels of self-esteem and satisfaction with life (Brown & Ryan, 2003). As part of a 3-month randomized waitlist-controlled trial of the effects of the Transcendental Meditation (TM) program on university students (N=295), we examined the impact of TM practice on mindfulness as measured by the Kentucky Inventory of Mindfulness Skills (KIMS; Baer, Smith, & Allen, 2004). A repeated measures ANOVA on total KIMS scores showed a significant time×treatment interaction, with the TM participants reporting greater increases in mindfulness than the waitlist participants. All KIMS subscales were positively intercorrelated at pretreatment, and there were no differences over time or as a function of treatment condition in subscale intercorrelations. Therefore, previously published findings of a positive correlation between subscales measuring the skills of observing and accepting-without-judgment one's inner experiences only among those with meditation experience may have reflected a self-selection effect rather than a change in the relation of these mindfulness components resulting directly from meditation practice. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Clin Psychol 65: 1–16, 2009.

Summary Although meditation has been practiced worldwide for centuries, there are no reports that it causes epilepsy or increases the predisposition to it. Medical care utilization statistics and clinical studies indicate that individuals who regularly practice the Transcendental Meditation technique have fewer problems of the nervous system and specifically show decreased symptoms of epilepsy. The frequency, amplitude, areas of activation, and effects of the EEG during the Transcendental Meditation technique are completely different from those of epilepsy. There is no evidence that the Transcendental Meditation technique increases glutamate, which has been associated with epilepsy. With regard to serotonin, the relationship of serotonin to epilepsy has to be viewed in the context of the abnormal brain tissue that causes epilepsy. The serotonin increases that may occur through meditation have been associated with only beneficial effects.

OBJECTIVE: Although the efficacy of meditation interventions has been examined among adult samples, meditation treatment effects among youth are relatively unknown. We systematically reviewed empirical studies for the health-related effects of sitting-meditative practices implemented among youth aged 6 to 18 years in school, clinic, and community settings. METHODS: A systematic review of electronic databases (PubMed, Ovid, Web of Science, Cochrane Reviews Database, Google Scholar) was conducted from 1982 to 2008, obtaining a sample of 16 empirical studies related to sitting-meditation interventions among youth. RESULTS: Meditation modalities included mindfulness meditation, transcendental meditation, mindfulness-based stress reduction, and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy. Study samples primarily consisted of youth with preexisting conditions such as high-normal blood pressure, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and learning disabilities. Studies that examined physiologic outcomes were composed almost entirely of African American/black participants. Median effect sizes were slightly smaller than those obtained from adult samples and ranged from 0.16 to 0.29 for physiologic outcomes and 0.27 to 0.70 for psychosocial/behavioral outcomes. CONCLUSIONS: Sitting meditation seems to be an effective intervention in the treatment of physiologic, psychosocial, and behavioral conditions among youth. Because of current limitations, carefully constructed research is needed to advance our understanding of sitting meditation and its future use as an effective treatment modality among younger populations.

Three studies on 362 high school students at three different schools in Taiwan tested the hypothesis that regular practice of the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique for 15–20 min twice a day for 6 to 12 months would improve cognitive ability. The same seven variables were used in all studies: Test for Creative Thinking-Drawing Production (TCT-DP); Constructive Thinking Inventory (CTI); Group Embedded Figures Test (GEFT); State and Trait Anxiety (STAI); Inspection Time (IT); and Culture Fair Intelligence Test (CFIT). Univariate testing showed that TM practice produced significant effects on all variables compared to no-treatment controls (Ps ranged from .035 to <.0001). Napping for equivalent periods of time as TM practice had no effect. Contemplation meditation improved inspection time and embedded figures, but not the other variables. The TM technique was superior to contemplation meditation on five variables. The effect sizes for TM practice were in the order of the variables listed above.

This two-year longitudinal study investigated the effect of participation in a special university curriculum, whose principal innovative feature is twice-daily practice of the Transcendental Meditation (TM) and TM-Sidhi program, on performance on Cattell's Culture Fair Intelligence Test (CFIT) and Hick's reaction time. These measures are known to be correlated with general intelligence. One hundred college men and women were the subjects—45 from Maharishi International University (MIU) and 55 from the University of Northern Iowa (UNI). The experimental group (MIU) improved significantly on the CFIT (t=2.79, P<0.005); choice reaction time (t=9.10, P<0.0001); SD of choice reaction time (t=11.39, P<0.0001), and simple reaction time (t=2.11, P<0.025) over two years compared to the control group, which showed no improvement. Possible confounds of subject's age, education level, level of interest in meditation, father's education level, and father's annual income were controlled for using analysis of covariance and stepwise regression. The results replicate the findings of previous longitudinal studies on intelligence test scores at MIU, and indicate that participation in the MIU curriculum results in improvements in measures related to general intelligence.

Transcendental Meditation (TM®) is derived from ancient yogic teachings. Both short- and long-term physiological correlates of TM® practice have been studied. EEG effects include increased alpha, theta, and gamma frequencies and increased coherence and synchrony. Neuronal hypersynchrony is also a cardinal feature of epilepsy, and subjective psychic symptoms, apnea, and myoclonic jerking are characteristic of both epileptic seizures and meditative states. Clinical vignettes have highlighted the potential risk of human kindling from repetitive meditation in persons practicing TM®, but clinical studies of similar techniques suggest that meditation may also be a potential antiepileptic therapy. Future clinical studies of meditating subjects using video/EEG monitoring are warranted to determine whether behavioral phenomena have an underlying epileptic basis, and prospective clinical trials of TM® in subjects with well-delineated epilepsy syndromes are necessary to establish the safety of this technique and its potential efficacy for seizure reduction and improvement of quality of life.