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Why Meditate The Benefits of Transcendental MeditationThe experience of the most silent and settled state of mind, Pure Consciousness, develops the total brain and eliminates accumulated stress and fatigue. Transcendental Meditation was found to increase Self-actualisation which means using more of one's inner potential, more effective relationships, more integrated and stable personality, greater self regard, emotional maturity and capacity to adapt to change. A meta-analysis of 146 independent studies indicated that Transcendental Meditation was much more effective in reducing trait anxiety compared to concentration, biofeedback, progressive muscle relaxation and other relaxation and meditation techniques. Transcendental Meditation was found to significantly reduce blood pressure compared to progressive muscle relaxation and health education controls. A comparison of the results of several statistical meta-analyses indicated that the Transcendental Meditation program produced significantly larger reductions in tobacco, alcohol, and non-prescribed drug use than standard substance abuse treatments and standard prevention programs. Practitioners of Transcendental Meditation who had been meditating less than 5 years were found to have a biological age that was 5 years less than their chronological age. Transcendental Meditation was founded by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in 1957, and was first taught in Great Britain in 1960. Maharishi’s Vedic Approach to Health is the name given to the integrated system of health care that includes both Transcendental Meditation and Maharishi Ayur-Veda, as parts of a spectrum of approaches to improving health and well-being. This section summarizes results of scientific research on Transcendental Meditation, with special emphasis on the area of health.
Transcendental Meditation, as taught by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, is a simple technique which has well-documented benefits for health, well-being, and performance [1, 2]. Transcendental Meditation is practised for 15-20 minutes twice daily, sitting comfortably with eyes closed.
Transcendental Meditation has been taught extensively around the world over the past 40 years. Research on Transcendental Meditation has been conducted at more than 200 universities, hospitals, and research institutions in 27 countries.
Transcendental Meditation allows mental activity to settle down in a natural way while alertness is  maintained and indeed enhanced.
Physiological research has shown that Transcendental Meditation gives rise to a unique state of deep rest characterized by marked reductions in metabolic activity [3-13], increased orderliness and integration of brain functioning [14-27], increased cerebral blood flow [6, 28, 29], and features directly opposite to the physiological and biochemical effects of stress, including skin resistance changes [3, 8, 30, 31] and reductions in plasma cortisol [32-35], arterial blood lactate [3, 6, 7, 11, 30], and muscle tone [15, 36]. The most important contribution of Transcendental Meditation to health would appear to be in primary prevention. Hospital admission rates for medical and surgical conditions were 60-70% lower in the Transcendental Meditation group, with reductions in all 17 disease categories studied. Other studies have reported decreased requirements for medication among people who practise Transcendental Meditation, including reduced use of mild analgesics, sleeping tablets, tranquillisers, anti-depressants, anti-histamines, asthma inhalers, anti-hypertensives, and drugs for heart disease [47-51].
Transcendental Meditation produced reductions in systolic and diastolic pressure comparable to those commonly found with anti-hypertensive medication, but without any adverse side effects [60]. Further analysis showed that Transcendental Meditation produced significant reductions in systolic and diastolic blood pressure for men and women in both high- and low-risk groups on six measures of hypertension risk: psychosocial stress, obesity, alcohol use, physical inactivity, dietary sodium-potassium ratio, and a composite measure of these risk factors [61].
In addition, a recent analysis found that Transcendental Meditation is more cost-effective in treating mild hypertension than medication [81]. A large body of research has demonstrated that Transcendental Meditation produces comprehensive improvements in mental health, enhancing positive features and reducing various forms of psychological distress [48, 49, 65, 71, 72, 74-79, 82-104]. The comprehensive nature of Transcendental Meditation's benefits for mental health is well illustrated in a randomized study of Vietnam War veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder—a common and extremely distressing syndrome which can result from many causes and is often difficult to treat [71] (see chart below). Over a three-month period, patients practising Transcendental Meditation showed clear-cut improvements in all aspects of the syndrome studied, with significant decreases in depression, anxiety, insomnia, and alcohol consumption, improvement in family problems, reduced severity of delayed stress syndrome and less emotional numbness, as well as greater ease in obtaining a job.
Transcendental Meditation has been found to lead to reduced use of alcohol, cigarettes, and  non-prescribed drugs [47, 48, 63-66, 71, 72, 96, 97, 105-120].
Readers interested in finding out more about this subject are referred to a book Self-Recovery: Treating Addictions Using Transcendental Meditation and Maharishi Ayur-Veda (Haworth Press, 1994), which reprints papers 64-66, 96, 97, 111-120.
Transcendental Meditation has also been shown to have a direct effect on reducing medical expenditure. In Britain and other countries, many doctors have been encouraging patients to learn Transcendental Meditation [121, 122]. In a controlled study on asthma, Transcendental Meditation was found to improve airway resistance and to reduce severity of symptoms (as evaluated by both patients and physicians) [124].
The effects of Transcendental Meditation go beyond prevention and treatment towards the development of positive aspects of health. It has been noted that many effects of Transcendental Meditation are opposite to deteriorations usually seen with ageing [1, 57, 135, 148-151], while others indicate a strengthening of factors known to favour longevity and good health in later life (such as cardiovascular health, work satisfaction, positive health habits, mental health, happiness, and intelligence) [57, 148]. As discussed above, a randomized controlled study on elderly individuals found that Transcendental Meditation led to improvements in mental and physical health and well-being, cognitive and perceptual abilities, and longevity [57]. Transcendental Meditation has been applied very successfully in the rehabilitation of criminal offenders. In April the AHA issued a scientific statement on non-drug methods of treating hypertension, in which it recommended that Transcendental Meditation be considered in clinical practice for the prevention and treatment of hypertension (high blood pressure). The purpose of the report was to inform physicians which alternative approaches to lowering blood pressure have been shown by research to be effective.

Transcendental Meditation was the only meditation technique that had sufficient research to merit being recommended in clinical practice.
The AHA scientific statement also reported the finding that lower blood pressure through Transcendental Meditation practice is associated with substantially reduced rates of death, heart attack and stroke. A meta-analysis of all available studies (42 independent studies) found that that Transcendental Meditation was more than twice as effective in increasing Self-actualisation compared to concentration, contemplation and other techniques.
A meta-anaysis of all well designed, randomised, control studies found that only Transcendental Meditation had a statistically significant impact on reducing high blood pressure compared to stress management, muscle relaxation and biofeedback. For those who had been meditating more than 5 years their biological age was 12 years younger than their chronological age. Over four million people around the world have learned Transcendental Meditation (160,000 in Britain), and the first published research on this technique appeared in 1970.
In a number of cases the National Health Service has paid for instruction in Transcendental Meditation where it has been recommended by a doctor. Following Transcendental Meditation, individuals report feeling refreshed physically and mentally. Several other neuroendocrine changes have also been observed during Transcendental Meditation [31, 37-44]. Research from the USA examined health-care utilization over five consecutive years among 2,000 people practising Transcendental Meditation, as compared to control groups (from a total sample of 600,000) who were closely comparable with regard to age, gender, occupation, and health insurance terms [2]. For example, hospital admissions were 87% less for diseases of the heart and blood vessels, 55% less for tumours, 73% less for respiratory disorders, 87% less for neurological problems, and 30% less for infections (see chart below). A statistical meta-analysis summarising 19 studies on the effects of Transcendental Meditation found the technique produced substantial and highly significant reductions in alcohol, cigarettes and illicit drug use, with larger effects than other treatments, including standard therapies and other techniques of meditation and relaxation [64]. More than 40 well-controlled studies have now shown that about 1% of the population of a community practising Transcendental Meditation, or an even smaller fraction practising the advanced TM-Sidhi programme, can lead to reduction of negative tendencies (such as violence, crime, accidents, disease, and suicides) and improvement in positive trends (such as economic prosperity) for the whole society [153-165] (see chart below). Forearm blood flow and metabolism during stylized and unstylized states of decreased activation. Pulmonary ventilation during the Transcendental Meditation technique — applications in preventive medicine. Shortening of latencies of human auditory evoked brain potentials during the Transcendental Meditation technique.
Theta bursts: an EEG pattern in normal subjects practising the Transcendental Meditation technique. Short-term longitudinal effects of the Transcendental Meditation technique on EEG power and coherence.
Electrophysiologic characteristics of respiratory suspension periods occurring during the practice of the Transcendental Meditation program.
Participation in the Transcendental Meditation program and frontal EEG coherence during concept learning. Reduced age-related declines in P300 latency in elderly practicing Transcendental Meditation. The Transcendental Meditation technique, adrenocortical activity, and implications for stress.
Long-term endocrinologic changes in subjects practising the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi programme.
Secondary prevention of drug dependency through the Transcendental Meditation programme in metropolitan Philadelphia. Auswirkungen der Technik der Transzendentalen Meditation (TM) auf die psychische und psychosomatische Befindlichkeit.
Improved mental and physical health and decreased use of prescribed and non-prescribed drugs through the Transcendental Meditation programme. Effectiveness of the Transcendental Meditation program in preventing and treating substance misuse: a review. Luteinizing hormone: a marker for Type A behavior and its modification by the Transcendental Meditation program. Effects of the Transcendental Meditation program on stress-reduction, health, and employee development in two occupational settings. The Transcendental Meditation program and rehabilitation at Folsom State Prison: a cross-validation study. Transcendental Meditation, self-actualization, and psychological health: a conceptual overview and statistical meta-analysis. Joint National Committee on the Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure. Increased intelligence and reduced neuroticism through the Transcendental Meditation program.
Psychological research on the effects of the Transcendental Meditation technique on a number of personality variables. Transcendental Meditation lowers high blood pressure, and is the only meditation technique recommended by the American Heart Association (AHA) as being effective in this regard.

After considering meta-analyses and the latest clinical trials on different types of meditation, the report stated that Transcendental Meditation is recommended to lower blood pressure, but there was not enough scientific evidence to recommend other meditation or relaxation techniques. The AHA scientific statement reports*, “Because of many negative studies or mixed results and a paucity of available trials, all other meditation techniques (including MBSR – Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) received a ‘Class III, no benefit, Level of Evidence C’ recommendation. Transcendental Meditation has many applications in the field of health, and supports the highest ideals of modern health care.
Taken together, these studies clearly distinguish the physiology of Transcendental Meditation from sleep or simple relaxation [13, 30] (see chart below).
Over the five-year period, the Transcendental Meditation participants consistently had fewer than half the number of doctor visits and days in hospital compared to controls. Over an 18-24 month period, abstinence ranged from 51% to 89% for Transcendental Meditation compared to 21% for good conventional substance abuse programmes (see chart below). The impact of the Transcendental Meditation program on government payments to physicians in Quebec. The effects of Transcendental Meditation compared to other methods of relaxation and meditation in reducing risk factors, morbidity, and mortality.
In search of an optimal behavioral treatment for hypertension: A review and focus on Transcendental Meditation. Treating and preventing alcohol, nicotine, and drug abuse through Transcendental Meditation: A review and statistical meta-analysis. Effectiveness of broad spectrum approaches to relapse prevention in severe alcoholism: a long-term, randomised, controlled trial of Transcendental Meditation, EMG biofeedback and electronic neurotherapy. The role of the Transcendental Meditation technique in promoting smoking cessation: a longitudinal study. The Transcendental Meditation program in the college curriculum: a four-year longitudinal study of effects on cognitive and affective functioning. Kohlbergian moral perspective responses, EEG coherence, and the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program. Rehabilitation of juvenile offenders through the Transcendental Meditation program: a controlled study. The pattern of reduction of drug and alcohol use among Transcendental Meditation participants. A neuroendocrine mechanism for the reduction of drug use and addictions by Transcendental Meditation.
Transcendental Meditation as an epidemiological approach to drug and alcohol abuse: Theory, research, and financial impact evaluation. Importance of reducing stress and strengthening the host in drug detoxification: The potential offered by Transcendental Meditation. Implementation of the Transcendental Meditation program and Maharishi Ayur-Veda to prevent alcohol and drug abuse among juveniles at risk. Usefulness of the Transcendental Meditation programme in the treatment of patients with coronary artery disease.
Modification of the paired H-reflex through the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program. Elevated serum dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate levels in practitioners of the Transcendental Meditation (TM) and TM-Sidhi Programs.
The Transcendental Meditation program and crime rate change in a sample of forty-eight cities.
Effects of Transcendental Meditation and the TM-Sidhi program on quality of life indicators: Consciousness as a field.
Test of a field model of consciousness and social change: Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program and decreased urban crime. Consciousness and the quality of economic life: empirical research on the macroeconomic effects of the collective practice of Maharishi's Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program. Transcendental Meditation reduces not only hypertension,  but also heart attacks and strokes, and does not have side effects. Of considerable interest was the fact that the Transcendental Meditation group showed relatively little increase in need for health care with increasing age, whereas this trend was clearly seen in controls, as would usually be expected (see chart below). From Johnson EH, Gentry WD, and Julius S (eds), Personality, Elevated Blood Pressure, and Essential Hypertension, 1992, 291-312, Hemisphere Publishing Corp, Washington DC. When mental and physical well-being are enhanced, personal relationships also improve, a commonly reported and valued benefit of Transcendental Meditation.

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