Summary of Research on TM

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This figure shows the effect on the electrical activity of the brain of this experience of the unified field within during this fourth state of human consciousness. At the top of the figure is a top view of the brain, and at the bottom is a frontal view of the brain. The small dots positioned on the scalp indicate the location of electrodes measuring the electrical signals of the brain. In a few places, we see bars connecting these dots, indicating that these neighboring points in the brain are communicating with each other—that is, that there is coherent, correlated, integrated functioning among neighboring regions of the brain. But on the left-hand side of the chart—in agitated, normal waking consciousness—we see very little such coherence.

In contrast, on the right-hand side of the chart, we see the very same individual, three months later. And this individual is now practicing Maharishi’s Transcendental Meditation program. In this case, we see the same electrodes measuring the electrical activity of the brain, but now there are bars connecting virtually every single electrode—indicating that the entire brain now is communicating and functioning in a highly correlated and integrated way. We see strong correlation between the left and right hemispheres of the brain, between the frontal and occipital lobes of the brain, and between the temporal and parietal lobes of the brain, such that the entire brain is functioning in concert.

 

The Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique is distinct from other techniques of meditation not only in its origin and procedure, but also in the amount and breadth of research testing it. Evidence for its ability to reduce traditional and novel risk factors for CVD includes:

  1. decreases in blood pressure,
  2. reduced use of tobacco and alcohol,
  3. lowering of high cholesterol and lipid oxidation, and
  4. decreased psychosocial stress.

– US National Library of Medicine – National Institutes of Health 

 

“Transcendental Meditation benefits from a vast body of 40 years of research showing very powerful long-lasting reductions in stress and sustained improvements in health.”

—Norman Rosenthal, MD, renowned psychiatrist, medical researcher, and best-selling author who is credited with the discovery of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

“Many people think that all types of meditation or ‘stress management techniques’ are equally effective. Research shows otherwise. For example, Transcendental Meditation (TM) beat several other non-drug treatments in reducing blood pressure (the so-called silent killer). TM can reduce the chance of heart attacks and strokes and prolong life — something no other form of meditation has been shown to do. Given these powerful advantages, I recommend TM above other forms of meditation for promoting health and longevity.”

– Norman E. Rosenthal, M.D.
Clinical Professor of Psychiatry
Georgetown University
Medical School

  • More than 380 peer-reviewed research studies on the Transcendental Meditation program have been published in over 160 scientific journals.
  • They have been conducted at more than 200 independent universities and research institutions worldwide over the past 40 years.
  • The National Institutes of Health have awarded over $26 million to research the effectiveness of TM for reducing stress and stress-related illness with a focus on cardiovascular disease.
  • Findings have been published in leading, peer-reviewed scientific journals, including The American Journal of Cardiology and the American Heart Association’s Hypertension and Stroke.

Please click the link for Research Summary

Highlights of recent published studies:

  • Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, November 2012, a journal of the American Heart Association: 5-year randomized controlled study on patients with established coronary heart disease reported a 48% reduction in death, heart attack, and stroke in subjects in the TM group compared to controls.
  • Hypertension, June 2013: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association concluded that the TM technique is the only meditation practice that has been shown to lower blood pressure. (Beyond Medications and Diet: Alternative Approaches to Lowering Blood Pressure. A Scientific Statement from the American Heart Association. Brook RD et al. Hypertension, 61:00, 2013.)    Here is the statement from American Heart Association, “Because of many negative studies or mixed results and a paucity of available trials, all other meditation techniques, including Mindfulness, received a ‘Class III, no benefit, Level of Evidence C’ recommendation. Thus, other “meditation” techniques are not recommended in clinical practice to lower BP at this time.”
  • Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, October 2013: Meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) found significantly greater effect of TM in reducing trait anxiety than treatment-as-usual and other alternative treatments, including mindfulness-based therapy (MBT) and other meditation and relaxation practices.

 

Independent clinical studies have confirmed the positive physiological effects of the TM® technique on the mind and body. This video Dr. John Hagelin summarized the most exciting research.

 

 

A large-scale study in the U.S., where 5 years of health statistics of 2000 TM practitioners were compared with the standard, came to a similar conclusion – a 50% decrease in hospital admissions for the younger group and a 70% decrease for the TM practitioners who were more than 40 years old.

The more detailed statistics showed a significant lower hospital admission rate for all disease categories except childbirth, including a 60% reduction in cancer and a 87% reduction in heart-disease.

tm-for-ptsd-17-728

 

A statistical meta-analysis of 146 independent study results found that the Transcendental Meditation Program is significantly more effective in reducing trait anxiety than procedures of concentration or contemplation, or other techniques.

Reference: Journal of Clinical Psychology 45: 957–974, 1989.

Effectiveness in Reducing Trait Anxiety Meta-Analysis 146 Studies

 

Today’s heart disease experts believe the top heart disease risk factor for women is the metabolic syndrome.

The metabolic syndrome has five elements—hypertension, insulin resistance, high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol and obesity around the abdomen. Having even three of the five elements is highly dangerous. The metabolic syndrome triples the risk of a fatal heart attack and results in a 10 fold increase in a woman’s chances of developing diabetes.

The TM program has been shown to directly reduce four out of the five elements of the metabolic syndrome: hypertension, insulin resistance, triglycerides and HDL cholesterol. Click on the links for more specific information on the TM technique’s proven benefits in reducing these problems.

Dr. Gary Kaplan, a New York clinical neurophysiologist, states that there is evidence from a well-controlled scientific study published in Archives of Internal Medicine in 2006 that the Transcendental Meditation technique can reduce the components of metabolic syndrome, a major cause of poor health and premature death. Patients with metabolic syndrome are characteristically overweight, with high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar and triglycerides, and low HDL (good) cholesterol.

Effects of TM on Metabolic Syndrome

 

 

Global Brainwave (EEG) Coherence During Experience of the Unified Field in the Meditative State

Every time a part of our brain is active, the electrical activity can be measured through an electroencephalogram (EEG) and the results can be displayed as a waveform. Nowadays, one can send several of these waveforms from different parts of the brain to a computer and mathematically calculate the extent to which these waves are similar, or coherent. A high coherence means that these different parts of the brains work together as one whole.

When our attention is directed outward, we see things, hear things, smell things etc. Different parts of the brain (visual cortex, auditory cortex etc.) are functioning independently from one another and coherence between the parts is generally very low. When we allow the mind to transcend our awareness becomes expanded, the wave expands into the ocean, and this is clearly measurable through a strong increase in EEG coherence. (shown on the graph by lines, the thicker the line, the higher the EEG coherence).

The Transcendental Meditation technique enlivens coherent brain wave functioning in the pre frontal cortex, the brain’s executive control centre. By utilising an electroencephalograph (EEG) brain wave patterns are recorded and documented. These computer-generated drawings illustrate alpha-range coherence. The lighter lines show coherence (communication) between the two linked brain areas of about 70%, the heavier lines, coherence of 80% or higher (100% is perfect).

Most people display alpha 1 brain wave activity when they close their eyes because the back of the brain, which governs the visual system, is no longer receiving input and shifts into a restful state whilst remaining alert.

During Transcendental Meditation one achieves a high level of coherence very quickly. Alpha activity spreads throughout the brain- as the mind settles to its ground state, the experience of pure consciousness and the entire brain becomes restfully alert.

This unique alpha wave coherence during Transcendental Meditation suggests that all mental activity is coming to rest while full alertness is maintained – in turn indicating that the total brain is awake and integrated.

In the following picture, we see the same electrodes measuring the electrical activity of the brain, but now there are bars connecting virtually every single electrode—indicating that the entire brain now is communicating and functioning in a highly correlated and integrated way. We see strong correlation between the left and right hemispheres of the brain, between the frontal and occipital lobes of the brain, and between the temporal and parietal lobes of the brain, such that the entire brain is functioning in concert.

As EEG coherence increases, so does intelligence, creativity, learning ability, moral maturity and more.

References: International Journal of Psychophysiology, 116, 1519-38 (2006); Biological Psychology, 61, 293 – 319 (2002); Consciousness and Cognition, 8 (3), 302-18 (1999); Electroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology, 35 (1973); International Journal of Neuroscience 14: 147 – 151, 1981.

Brain Wave Coherence in TM

 

Global EEG Coherence Correlates with Optimal Brain Functioning

This finding in itself is a scientific breakthrough of the foremost magnitude. In Transcendental Meditation, we have a very simple, universal practice, practiced 20 minutes twice a day, that develops the integrated functioning of the brain. This integrated functioning is of paramount importance, because coherent brain functioning correlates scientifically with rising IQ, increased intelligence, increased creativity, improved academic performance and learning ability, increased moral reasoning, improved psychological stability, increased emotional maturity, and improved alertness and reaction time (see Figure 9, below). Everything good about the brain depends on its orderly functioning. And today, orderly brain functioning can be systematically developed in anyone—in any student or any individual of any age—just through direct experience of the unified field, which brings integrated, or unified, functioning of the brain.
One very important application of this increasingly integrated brain functioning is in the field of education. Education today does not develop the integrated functioning of the brain, simply because nothing in the current conventional curriculum engages the total brain. Specific fields of academic study, such as physics, mathematics, literature, the arts, and music—different activities of learning—engage small fractions of the brain, but none engage the total brain, and therefore they do not develop the brain holistically.

Optimization of Brain Functioning - Correlates of EEG Coherence

 

Summary of Scientific Research on. Maharishi’s Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi Program. Compiled and Edited by. David Orme-Johnson, Ph.D.

 

More on TM research summaries at the websites

Here are the MUM books, videos, audios.