Scientific researches prove that abacus training can impact its users positively

Today, a claim like “Abacus training improves mental health” still raises a lot of doubts on its statement itself.

Let me kick off this post with a step back into history. The use of the abacus trace back centuries, for the past 20 years, it marked an increased interest within the scientific community in different parts of the world, to assess the effects of mental arithmetic and abacus training on mental and brain functions. Take a look at the remarkable findings below.

Research on effects of mental arithmetic on the brain

From neuroimaging technology studies done on children by researchers from the Zhejiang University in China, to pilot studies done on the cognitive stimulation ability of abacus arithmetic on the elderly in hospitals in Spain, researchers are concluding, in different ways, how abacus mental arithmetic training can have a positive impact on people’s mental health – from children to the elderly.

In 2013, a group of researchers from Zhejiang University in China used neuroimaging technology (functional magnetic resonance imaging or fMRI as it is commonly referred to) to measure 17 children who were trained in abacus mental arithmetic. The scientists mapped out, with precision, how abacus-trained children indeed had higher brain activation and significantly enhanced integration of multiple brain neural networks.

In 2016, researchers from Spain carried out a pilot study to assess and analyze the applicability of cognitive stimulation using abacus arithmetic on a group of 20 elderly patients aged above 65 with mild cognitive impairment (Alzheimer disease). The results show a high level of satisfaction with and usability of the method in the patients.

What do these studies mean?

These are just two isolated studies that echo the same sentiments: intense stimulation, connectivity in the brain and enhanced functional integration of the brain networks happen as a result of introducing abacus training to the routine in their normal lives.

What makes these two studies particularly interesting and noteworthy is that these studies point towards potential application possibilities to develop mental health, in both children as well as the elderly.

Research has shown that children who are exposed to abacus mental arithmetic exercises uses their memory banks (right brain) to retrieve data and information whereas students who are not exposed to this kind of training will rely on procedural methods (left brain) to solve a problem.

Procedural methods involve relating things to an established way of getting it done. For example, finger counting to do arithmetic questions. Relying on fingers counting will eventually get the sums right. Counting out loud & decomposition of numbers to calculate are such procedural methods to say the least.

When we know how the brain is being stimulated through abacus training can result in a high level of engagement and satisfaction in users regardless of age or mental condition, this is encouraging proof on the positive effects of abacus training.

Our CMA Master Founder’s, Master Tai Chiang Ching, efforts to improve abacus calculations were driven by his conviction that abacus training was not limited to one side of the brain. He believed that it was possible to invent new techniques that would activate both sides of the brain.

From existing scientific research, most people in the world are left brain dominant and existing abacus methods mostly relied on a principle: the application of the left brain to achieve fast calculations.

Through rigorous research and experiments, Master Tai developed and perfected the dual-hand 4-fingers abacus technique. CMA’s dual-hand 4-fingers technique enables users to exercise their right brain (manipulating the virtual image of an abacus in the mind) complementing the left brain (responsible for processing and solving numbers and maths problems) to achieve fast mental calculations.

Mental health is equally as important for us to defend ourselves against mental diseases. Now there are more reports on our children having to deal with school stress, peer pressure, etc… How well they deal these daily pressures is dependent on the strength of their mental fitness.

If those elderly, with mild cognitive impairment, showed significant improvements while going through the abacus training. The effects would be much greater in our children.

Learn more about CMA mental arithmetic training here
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Published on 7th September 2017