Research Support for the 
Old Me New Me Programs

The Effects of Frontal EMG Biofeedback and Progressive Relaxation Upon Hyperactivity and Its Behavioral Concomitants

Lendell Williams Braud, Ph.D. Texas Southern University, Biofeedback and Self-Regulation, Vol 3, No. 1, 1978

Hyperactive children (N=15) and non-hyperactive children (N=15) were compared. Hyperactive children were found to possess significantly higher (p<.002) muscular tension levels and in addition presented more behavioral problems and had lower test scores. Both electromyographic (EMG) biofeedback and progressive relaxation exercises using Peace, Harmony Awareness program for children (renamed Old Me New Me) were successful in the significant reduction of muscular tension, hyperactivity, distractibility, irritability, impulsivity, explosiveness, aggressivity, and emotionality, “emotional – aggression” (irritability, explosiveness, impulsivity, low frustration tolerance, aggression). No differences were seen in the EMG improvement of drug and nondrug hyperactivity. Both made progress under these self-control techniques. However, non medicated children made greater improvements in the behavioral area. Both EMG biofeedback and progressive relaxation resulted in improvements on the test scores of hyperactive subjects (Bender-Gestalt, visual sequential memory, digit span, coding). The therapy would appear to be improved by the inclusion of mental relaxation, concentration, meditation, and mind blanking exercises for mental control.

An Alternative Therapeutic Intervention To Reduce Aggression and Other Emotional Problems. Abstract: Lendell Braud, Ph.D. and Blair Powell, M.A.

Unpublished study, presented in 1999 at International Conference on Learning Disabilities

In a previous study, the authors found 4-5 years improvement in reading and visual motor coordination in abused males. However, when the authors looked at 21 emotional and behavioral measures, only one measure (anxiety) showed significant improvement after one year of individual and group therapy. Therefore, the authors decided to test the effectiveness of relaxation therapy, (Old Me New Me program) on aggression and other behavioral and emotional problems in abused (CPS) and delinquent (JD) males living in residential treatment facilities. Experimental participants (N=20) made significant improvement over controls (N=15) on aggression, attention span, hyperactivity, anxiety and physiological symptoms on two tests completed by the participants. Counselors and therapists rated significant improvement in experimentals versus controls on the Children’s Behavior Check List (CBCL) on the following scales: externalizing, internalizing, total problems, aggression, delinquency, and other problems. CPS and JD participants differed significantly on only two scales (thought disorder and phobias). In both cases, the JD participants admitted to significantly more symptoms.

The authors have observed very similar behavioral and emotional problems in children in adaptive behavior classes and therefore this intervention could be helpful for other children.

Effects of Relaxation Training on Anxiety and Other Emotional and Behavioral Problems in Culturally Disadvantaged Adolescents, Verlynn E. Williams, Texas Southern University, Unpublished doctoral dissertation, March 2005

This study specifically examined the efficacy of relaxation training in significantly reducing the indices of psychological, behavioral, and physiological distress as they relate to anxiety. Primary outcome variables were aggression, anxiety, impulsivity, hyperactivity, anxiety-related worry, short-term memory, and physiological indicators of stress. Forty highly anxious adolescents, ages 12- 16, were randomly assigned to either the experimental or control condition. Experimental subjects received twelve 30-minute sessions of relaxation training over an eight-week period using the children’s relaxation program “Old Me New Me.” Data analysis at the .05 alpha level or better revealed statistically significant differences between these groups in all primary areas with effect sizes being generally large. The data supports the potential efficacy of relaxation therapy in treating anxiety and other emotional and behavioral disorders. The authors discuss the factors that make these children at-risk and how relaxation training increases resiliency factors in disadvantaged adolescents.

There were no statistically significant differences between experimental and control participants on any of the emotional or behavioral measures on the pretests. Experimental subjects (N = 20) made statistically significant improvement as compared to controls (N = 20) on aggression (t(38) = -2.66, p < .012), impulsivity (t(38) = -2.97, p <.006), hyperactivity (t(38) = -2.18, p < .036), frustration (t(38) = -4.50, p < .000), and attention span (t(38) = -4.15, p < .000) on the TOHASP. Significant improvements were also demonstrated on the RCMAS by experimental participants over controls on the anxiety scale (t(38) = -7.95, p < .000), physiological scale (t(38) = -5.00, p < .000) and the worry scale (t(38) = -7.91, p < .000). The Digit Span scores of the experimental participants increased over 1 standard deviation (+3.40) while the performance of the controls declined (-.15) This is important since Digit Span is an objective measure of attention. The participants who received relaxation training performed significantly better than controls at posttest time on Digit Span (t(38) = 5.06, p < .000).

Group Counseling With Learning Disabled Children: Effects of Social Skills on Relaxation Training on Self-Concept and Classroom Behavior.

Martin Amerikaner, Ph.D. and MaryLue Summerlin Ed.D. DeerPark ISD Houston, Tex. Published Journal of Learning Disabilities, June/July 1982

Children identified as learning disabled often have concurrent emotional and interpersonal difficulties. Beyond their academic difficulties, “a spiral” can occur in which others’ perceptions of the child’s behaviors and the child’s self-perception interact, enhancing the likelihood of the child’s expecting and then experiencing social failures. This study examined the effects of two group-counseling approaches, social skills and relaxation training, on LD children’s self concept and on their in-class behavior as assessed by their teachers. 46 first and second grade LD children were randomly assigned to one of three conditions- social skills, relaxation training, or no treatment control. Scores from Primary Self Concept Inventory and the Walker Problem Behavior Identification Check List indicated that the Social Skills had more positive social self-concept scores that the other groups, although there was no difference in personal or intellectual self, while the relaxation training group was perceived by teachers as exhibiting less acting out and marginally less distractibility than the other groups. Results are discussed in terms of implications for counselors and for researchers in the LD counseling fields.

*The Effects of Biofeedback-Induced Relaxation Training in Hyperactive Adolescents Boys.

Michael M. Omizo, Ph.D. Dept.of Guidance and Counseling University of Houston. Journal of Psychology, March 1980. Dr.Omizo is now Dean of Students University of Hawaii

This study examined the effects of biofeedback –induced relaxation training, locus of control, and on 5 factors of self concept in the school setting as measured by the Dimensions of Self-Concept.(DOSC) among 56 hyperactive adolescent boys: (a) Level of aspiration, (b) Anxiety,(c)Academic Interests and satisfaction, (d) Leadership and Initiative (e) Identification vs. Alienation.

Participants were randomly assigned to experimental (N=28) and control (N=28) groups. The study spanned a period of 13 weeks with the experimental treatment consisting of three sessions of relaxation training. Three tapes of Peace, Harmony, Awareness (now named Old Me New Me) were used to help train subjects to relax. Biofeedback ratings were used as objective measures. Multivariate analysis variance revealed significant differences (F=2.55,df=6.49:p<.03) between the two groups.

Post hoc procedures of univariate Fs and discriminate analysis revealed that the experimental group had significantly lower locus of control scores indicating an internal locus of control orientation and higher Level of Aspiration scores. Although the treatment proved to be modestly effective, it was concluded that biofeedback-induced relaxation training affords promise for the sample investigated.

The Effects of Biofeedback and Relaxation Training on Memory Tasks Among Hyperactive Boys Michael M. Omizo, University of Hawaii

Walter E. Cubberly and Stephen G. Semands University of Houston

Sharon A. Omizo Published in Exceptional Child Vol. 33, No.1, March 1986

This study examined the effects of biofeedback and relaxation training on memory tasks among 48 hyperactive boys randomly assigned to experimental and control conditions for three treatment sessions. During each of the three relaxation sessions a different tape from the series Peace, Harmony, Awareness was utilized.. Results indicated that subjects exposed to the biofeedback and relaxation training achieved higher scores on memory tasks compared to controls.

Biofeedback-Induced Relaxation Training as an Alternative for the elementary School Learning-Disabled Child. Michael M. Omizo and Robert E. Williams University of Houston, Central Campus, college of Education Published in Biofeedback and Self-Regulation, Vol. 7, No.2, 1982

This study examined the effects of biofeedback-induced relaxation training on attention to task, impulsivity, and locus of control among 32 learning-disabled

Children between the ages of 8 and 11 years. Attention to task and impulsivity were measured Matching, Familiar Figures Test and the locus of control was measured by NOWICKI-Strickland Scale. Participants were randomly assigned to experimental (N=16) and control (N=16) groups. The spanned a total of 8 weeks, and with the experimental treatment consisting of three sessions spaced approximately 2 weeks apart. The treatment included EMG biofeedback training used with relaxation tapes. Univariate values and discriminate analysis procedures revealed that the attention to task and impulsivity measures proved to be valid discriminators respectively beyond the .01 and .05 levels of significance. Experimental group subjects have significantly fewer number of errors on the attention to task measure and significantly lower impulsivity scores. It was concluded that the biofeedback-induced relaxation training affords promise in assisting learning-disabled children in reaching their education potential. It was recommended that future examine the long term efficacy and the transfer to school related tasks of this intervention.

The Effects of Relaxation and Biofeedback on Attention to Task and Impulsivity Among Male Hyperactive Children. Edelwina Rivera, Los Angeles Unified School District and Michael M. Omizo,Ph.D. University of Houston (now at University of Hawaii) Published March 1980, Exceptional Child, March 1980.

This study examines the effects of relaxation training and biofeedback training to attention to task and on impulsivity as measured by the Matching Familiar Figures Test (MFFT) among 36 hyperactive male children. Subjects who identified by teacher rating on the abbreviated Connor’s Behavior Rating Scale were randomly assigned to treatment and control groups. The experimental treatment consisted of three sessions (each session consisting of 2 phases) of relaxation training and biofeedback. There were no significant differences on all pretests measures baseline eletromyographic readings, pretest errors on attention tasks, and pretest latency). However, differences on all these measures became statistically significant (p<.01) with the treatment group improving attention to task scores and decreasing impulsivity scores. When all pretest data, posttest error, student’s age and teacher’s rating controlled for, analysis of co-variance results confirmed the significant differences between both groups. It was concluded that relaxation training and biofeedback warrants inclusion in programs designed for hyperactive male children.

Biofeedback Training Can Calm The Hyperactive Child

Michael M Omizo Ph.D and Robert E. Williams, University of Houston faculty members. Published in Academic Therapy Sept. 1981

Three hyperactive boys, two six years olds and one age seven were diagnosed as hyperactive by medical and clinical tests. Each boy was seen twice a week and heard two of the Lupin tapes each week. The sessions lasted 20-25 minutes, with intervention time approximately one month with a total of 8 biofeedback-induced relaxation training sessions. They were hooked up to a biofeedback unit and shown that they could influence by their actions to make the lower lights and then the higher lights come on. Then they were allowed to listen to a relaxation story tape and told that these tapes would help them in their efforts to relax. Before each session the concepts in the tapes were explained so that they could understand them. Data was collected from their mothers and number of times the boys were sent to discipline box and to the school counselor. After only two sessions teachers noticed a decrease in the boys’ disruptive behavior. They seemed less fidgety and less distractible. The boys said they had a sense of control over their behavior. The boys express their feelings about themselves and schooling in general and replied they felt “real good’”. The boys mothers reported their were extremely happy with the results of the intervention and said the boys were less disruptive at home. Although this was an experimentally controlled study yielding statistically significant results, there was not significant evidence of a negative side effect from such intervention. Authors believe that biofeedback-induced relaxation training can help hyperactive children achieve their educational potential.

Children, Parents, and Relaxation Tapes. Mimi Lupin, Lendell Braud, William Braud, William F. Duer. Published in Academic Therapy, vol. X11 No.1. Full study available.

* Several of the biofeedback studies used biofeedback as an objective measure of tension levels pre and post and the relaxation program Peace Harmony Awareness (renamed Old Me New Me) to actually teach the relaxation process.