Summary:
First of all, let us figure out what exactly is mental math. Today if you search the phrase "mental math" you will probably end up with millions of options. Not exactly that makes your life easy; instead it builds up and strengthens your curiosity. Put in simplest terms, mental math can be defined as calculations performed in your head - mentally - without help of any external device be it as simple as pen and paper or any modern day device such as calculator, computer or any...

First of all, let us figure out what exactly is mental math. Today if you search the phrase "mental math" you will probably end up with millions of options. Not exactly that makes your life easy; instead it builds up and strengthens your curiosity. Put in simplest terms, mental math can be defined as calculations performed in your head - mentally - without help of any external device be it as simple as pen and paper or any modern day device such as calculator, computer or any other electronic gadget.
We humans perform mental mathematical calculations everyday, consciously and unconsciously. When you are driving you figure out when to apply brakes to bring the vehicle to stop before hitting something. You figure out time difference between east coast and west coast. But where we falter is at the simplest and most mundane of calculations. Go to a restaurant and figure out 18% gratuity.
Abacus Mental Mathematics
What is abacus mental mathematics? Origin of Abacus is highly disputed today, some say it originated in Mesopotamia and some claim to be in China. Over centuries, abacus has evolved in to various different forms and sizes. The most commonly used is the Japanese Soroban Abacus.
The Soroban Abacus consists of one upper row and four lower rows and columns vary from thirteen, fifteen, seventeen or twenty one. It is claimed and proven by many researchers in Asia that Abacus stimulates whole brain development. When children use both hands to move the abacus beads to perform arithmetic calculations, there is quick communication between the hands and the brain that stimulates both the right and left hemispheres of the brain. This promotes rapid, balanced whole brain development.
If a child starts learning the abacus before being taught traditional arithmetic, there is minimal conflict and the child will easily work within both systems. If a child starts the program later, having already received traditional foundations, there may be a slightly extended learning period for the child to accept and integrate the abacus method.
Vedic Mental Mathematics
What is Vedic mental mathematics? Origin of Vedic Mathematics is in Atharva Veda (Holy Scripture from Hinduism). Vedic mathematics is a system based on sixteen sutras (aphorisms) which are actually word-formulae describing natural ways of solving a whole range of mathematical problems. These formulae describe the way the mind naturally works and are therefore a great help in directing the student to the appropriate method of solution.
It is claimed and proven by many researchers in Asia that practice and use of Vedic mathematics helps the person in many different aspects of decision making. From intelligent guessing to thinking outside the box ability. Vedic mathematics has its applications to much advanced mathematics, such as calculus and linear algebra. The sixteen sutras are: By one more than the one before, All from 9 and the last from 10, Vertically and crosswise, Transpose and apply, If the Samuccaya is the same it is zero, If one is in ratio the other is zero, By addition and by subtraction, By the completion or non-completion, Differential calculus, By the deficiency, Specific and general, The remainders by the last digit, The ultimate and twice the penultimate, By one less than the one before, The product of the sum, and All the multipliers
Today, both these methods have made a come back in Asia. Abacus Mental Math method is extremely popular in nations of China, Taiwan, Japan, Malaysia, Korea and India whereas Vedic Mental Math method is extremely popular only in India.