Theta bursts: an EEG pattern in normal subjects practising the transcendental meditation technique

Author: Hebert R//Lehmann D
Conference/Journal: Electroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol
Date published: 1977
Other: Volume ID: 42 , Issue ID: 3 , Pages: 397-405 , Word Count: 129

In a survey of the EEG characteristics of persons practising the Transcendental Meditation technique, 21 of 78 people demonstrated intermittent prominent bursts of frontally dominant theta activity. On the average across subjects, the theta bursts occurred about every 2 min, had an average duration of 1.8 sec, and an average maximal amplitude of 135 muV. Typically, the bursts were preceded and followed by alpha rhythm. Subject reports elicited during theta bursts indicated pleasant states with intact situational orientation and no subjective experiences related to sleep. Fifty-four non-meditating controls showed no theta bursts during relaxation and sleep onset. It is hypothesized that theta burst may be the manifestation of a state adjustment mechanism which comes into play during prolonged low-arousal states, and which may be related to EEG patterns of relaxation in certain behavioural conditions.