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THEMA: TM and Neurofeedback

TM and Neurofeedback 11 Jahre 9 Monate her #104

Rubik B:
Neurofeedback-Enhanced Gamma Brainwaves from the Prefrontal Cortical Region of Meditators and Non-Meditators and Associated Subjective Experiences.
The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 17(2),109-116(2011)
Online Ahead of Print: February 8, 2011


In the present study, subjects who were either advanced practitioners of Transcendental Meditation (TM) or non-meditating controls were engaged in a single session of neurofeedback in the 40 Hz band of gamma EEG at the prefrontal cortex. A new neurofeedback system was used in the study to train enhanced emission of gamma band. The study had two aims:

I. to explore the inner experiences associated with increased production of gamma brainwaves in an initial neurofeedback experience; and
II. to measure and compare neurofeedback-enhanced output from the prefrontal cortical region of practitioners of Transcendental Meditation and of non-meditators.

The controlled pilot study involved a single session per subject and was conducted in a non-profit laboratory in the United States. There were six practitioners of Transcendental Meditation and six controls. The measures were self-assessed inner experiences and measurements of clarified gamma output at the prefrontal cortical region.

The neurofeedback attention training strategy applied in the study, uses a clarified 40 Hz rhythm (called Neureka!) allowing to maximize gamma enhancement via the established relationship between Neureka! and feelings of happiness, joy, pleasure, delight, love, awareness, mindfulness, gratitude, and satisfaction. The Neureka! scores then reflect the optimal relationship between gamma brainwave activity and perceived well being.

The main results of the study are:

(1) the self-assessed descriptions of emotions before performing the
neurofeedback task were comparable for both groups;

(2) the associations of 16 supplied emotion-descriptors with the initial
neurofeedback experience were comparable for both groups (p > < .05); 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 gamma EEG measures of a neutral emotional state were
comparable for both groups a (p>.05);

(4) both groups were able to quickly produce gamma brainwaves using neurofeedback with respect to the supplied 16 emotion-descriptors (p<0.01); and

(5) In the neurofeedback condition, the TM practitioners showed greater increase of gamma brainwaves from the prefrontal region as compared to the controls (p=0.02).

From these results it is concluded that
I. 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.
II. TM practitioneers achieved much greater increases (about 500%) in the gamma band from the prefrontal cortical region over controls during an initial neurofeedback session.


From previous research on the effects of Transcendental Meditation it is known that this mental technique significantly increases learning ability and task performance due to the enlivenment of hidden brain reserves. The corresponding enfoldment of the mental potential is due to the natural experience of the coherent ground state of brain activity which gives rise to what is called a fourth state of consciousness characterized by global EEG coherence. This global brain wave coherence starts in the alpha and theta bands and in the default mode network of the brain. Then gradually spreads over all frequency bands (delta as well as beta and gamma) and over the whole brain, when TM is practiced regularly. So it is to be expected that TM practitioners perform significantly better in mental tasks and gradually optimize their sensory-motor performance. This is confirmed by the results of this study

During neurofeedback the brain is hooked up to a EEG-analysing computer which indicates visually (e.g through coloured brain maps) or through acustic signals the brain activity. It is known through such a set-up, which brainwave frequencies are present and to which part of the brain they relate to. Different tasks show distinct patterns of activity in the brain. Previous studies had shown that 25 to 42 Hz brainwaves from the prefrontal cortical region were found to be correlated with heightened experiences of compassion and clarity in advanced Tibetian Buddhist meditators due to their regular attention on such mental states. This was the reason for choosing a happiness related task and the EEG gamma band as a means for task optimisation via a feedback system.

The fact that both meditators and non-meditators where able to increase gamma brainwaves using neurofeedback shows that performing tasks has a distinct corresponding effect on brain activity. But the degree to which the attention is able to produce the desired change in the mental state depends on the overall state of consciousness(wakefulness).

The reason why practitioners of Transcendental Meditation are able to perform better than the non-meditating controls, is not because of a specific training as it is the case with Buddhist monks, but is due to the overall enfoldment of the brain potential through the experience of transcendental consciousness during TM. Neurofeedback training is a learning process which purposefully develops a specific brain ability. It applies to any aspect of brain function that can be measured.

In contrast the regular practice of Transcendental Meditation gradually unfolds the total brain potential in a natural und effortless way. In case, the need arises to eliminate a specific brain malfunction neurofeedback treatment may be tried in cooperation with an expert doctor. The TM-practice is expected to make the treatment more effective and to prevent undesired side-effects.
Letzte Änderung: 11 Jahre 8 Monate her von admin. Begründung: better readability of text

TM and Neurofeedback: Discussion 11 Jahre 8 Monate her #107

Exchange of Emails with Professor B.Rubik who did the pioneering research on TM and

Beverly Rubik, PhD
Institute for Frontier Science
PMB 605
6114 LaSalle Avenue
Oakland, CA 94611-2802
E-mail: Diese E-Mail-Adresse ist gegen Spambots geschützt! JavaScript muss aktiviert werden, damit sie angezeigt werden kann.

Dear Dr. Rubik,
Recently I became aware of your research on Neurofeedback-Enhanced Gamma Brainwaves
via presentation at
From this sources I compiled the summary given below presenting your findings supplemented by an interpretation from the perspective of Transcendental Meditation. Both findings and interpretation I like to post at the Science Forum of Transcendental Meditation which I am moderating.
It will be the first research study presented there because I started the English section of the forum only recently. The German section I started about half a year ago. So I would be very happy to receive your comments and corrections of my presentation of your research.
I also have compiled a chart from the available information which you find attached. Please let me know whether all is correct.
Thank you in advance for your kind responds
With greetings
Bernd Zeiger, PhD

Original Message
Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2011
Subject: FW: Gamma Brainwaves
From: Beverly Rubik

Dear Dr. Zeiger,
I corrected what you wrote about my study. Enclosed is a Word file
showing all changes in colored font.

I suggest that you use charts from my paper instead. I did not
say that TM meditators were HAPPIER. I reported that they produced more
gamma band.

I am intrigued about the results on TM meditators, since the meditation apparently does not increase gamma from the prefrontal cortex, and yet they apparently have great facility in producing it, as shown in my study. This could be seen as paradoxical.

Thanks for your interest. I would like to keep in touch on gamma band research findings or discussion with you and your colleagues, too.

Best wishes,
Beverly Rubik

Inst for Frontier Science
Oakland, Calif.

Original Message
From: Dr.Zeiger
Sent: Saturday, February 26
To: Beverly Rubik
Subject: Re: FW: Gamma Brainwaves

Dear Prof. Rubik,

Thank you for your rapid response to my inquiry about your research. I am very grateful for your corrections, which have further clarified my understanding. Also the chart I have improved in the way you have suggested.

By keeping the term Neureka! scores, I added the following explanatory passage to the findings which is based on information available in section 10 on gamma at

The neurofeedback attention training strategy applied in the study uses a clarified 40 Hz rhythm (Neureka!) allowing to maximize gamma enhancement via the established relationship between Neureka! and feelings of happiness, joy, pleasure, delight, love, awareness, mindfulness, gratitude, and satisfaction. The Neureka! scores then reflect the optimal relationship between gamma brainwave activity and perceived well being

I hope this is a proper understanding.

The paradox you describe - that during TM gamma activity does not increased but outside TM there is greater facility to produce gamma - highlights the principle behind TM and explains why it is called transcendental, which means >condition of possibility< with reference to knowing, understanding, experiencing and performing.

What is experienced in TM is a state of pure potentiality which becomes actualised outside TM spontaneously according to the requirements.

The process of diving has been used by the founder of TM , Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, as analogy to highlight this principle: When we take a dive into the water, the hitherto silent levels, deeper waters, become activated. As a result of the activity of the deeper levels of water, the waves on the surface are found to be more powerful. So, when by T M the conscious mind takes a dive into the deeper levels of consciousness, the surface value of the mind becomes more powerful. Much
greater depth is there underneath the waters. Diving is necessary. Coming up is necessary.

This analogy can be interpreted as an illustration of the relationship between the coherent quantum reality and localized classical states of the brain, with the quantum reality being the field of pure potentiality and the classical the actual experienced states. According to the Quantum Principle (Heisenberg) energy increases when the observers attention goes to smaller time and distance scales.

Seen from the subjective experience with TM it seems, that quantum dynamism becomes
increasing pleasant when approaching the ground state, a field of infinite energy.

In my understanding, this is the clue behind the gamma activity of the brain and the reason why TM practitioners spontaneously produce gamma brain waves when focussing their attention. It also explains why focussing attention on the basis of unbounded transcendental consciousness is connected with feelings of happiness, pleasure etc..

My field of interest are the theoretical models describing the quantum nature of the brain. Your research seems to confirms that the best models are those combining quantum mechanical and classical behaviour. So I am very interested in continuing this discussion of gamma band research But I also encourage you to contact the researchers Travis and Shear who wrote the attached paper on the different EEG patterns associated with attention and transcending published in Consciousness and Cognition 19:1110-1119 (2010).

Is it ok to add our Email correspondence in the Science Forum as a comment
to the presentation of your research to make the topic more lively?

All the best wishes
Bernd Zeiger

Original Message
Date: Mon, 28 Feb 2011
Subject: RE: FW: Gamma Brainwaves
From: Beverly Rubik
To: Dr.Zeiger

Dear Dr. Zeiger,

What you wrote about the "transcendental" aspect of TM meditation is well
said, and I think that simply measuring brain waves on the skull and trying
to make sense of it all is very far from any physiological understanding of
what is happening in the mind-brain of meditators.

I regret that I have too much work and travel in the next week or two to
respond more in detail now. However, I confirm that it is fine that you use
our email correspondence for posting or printing in your Science Forum.

Best wishes,
Beverly Rubik
Letzte Änderung: 11 Jahre 8 Monate her von admin. Begründung: better readability of text
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