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Research

Scientific evidence that Transcendental Meditation works

“TM dramatically reduces high blood pressure. It also reduces cholesterol, atherosclerosis, obesity, risk of stroke—even lowers death rates due to cardiovascular disease. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many other benefits to mind and body.”

—Mehmet Oz, M.D., Emmy Award-winning host of The Dr. Oz Show

Hundreds of scientific studies have been conducted on the benefits of the Transcendental Meditation program 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.

Research Summary

Benefits to Education

  • 21% increase in high school graduation rate
    Education 133 (4): 495-500, 2013
  • 10% improvement in test scores and GPA
    Education 131: 556–565, 2011
  • Increased attendance and decreased suspensions for high school students
    Health and Quality of Life Outcomes 1:10, 2003
  • Reduced ADHD symptoms and symptoms of other learning disorders
    Mind & Brain: The Journal of Psychiatry 2 (1): 73-81, 2011
  • Increased intelligence and creativity
    Intelligence 29: 419-440, 2001
  • 40% reduction in psychological distress, including stress, anxiety and depression
    American Journal of Hypertension 22(12): 1326-1331, 2009
  • Reduction in teacher burnout and perceived stress
    Permanante Journal 18 (1): 19-23, 2014

For more research on the Quiet Time program

Benefits to Veterans

  • 40-55% reduction in symptoms of PTSD and depression
    Military Medicine 176 (6): 626-630, 2011
  • 42% decrease in insomnia
    Journal of Counseling and Development 64: 212-215, 1985
  • 25% reduction in plasma cortisol levels
    Hormones and Behavior 10: 54–60, 1978
  • Decreased high blood pressure–on par with first-line antihypertensives
    American Journal of Hypertension 21: 310–316, 2008
  • 47% reduced risk of cardiovascular-related mortality
    Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes 5: 750-758, 2012
  • 30% improvement in satisfaction with quality of life
    Military Medicine 176 (6): 626-630, 2011

Benefits to Abused Women and Girls

  • Reduced flashbacks and bad memories
    Military Medicine 176 (6): 626-630, 2011
  • Greater resistance to stress
    Psychosomatic Medicine 35: 341–349, 1973
  • Twice the effectiveness of conventional approaches for reducing alcoholism and substance abuse
    Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly 11: 13-87, 1994
  • 42% decrease in insomnia
    Journal of Counseling and Development 64: 212-215, 1985
  • Twice as effective as other relaxation techniques for decreasing trait anxiety
    Journal of Clinical Psychology 45(6): 957–974, 1989
  • Improved quality of life
    Military Medicine 176 (6): 626-630, 2011

Universities and Medical Schools

Research has been conducted on the Transcendental Meditation program at 250 independent universities and medical schools, including:

  • Harvard Medical School
  • Yale Medical School
  • University of Virginia Medical Center
  • University of Michigan Medical School
  • University of Chicago Medical School
  • University of Southern California Medical School
  • UCLA Medical School
  • UCSF Medical School
  • Stanford Medical School

University of Connecticut

At-risk adolescents reduce stress, anxiety and hyperactivity through Transcendental Meditation
This newly completed study found that 106 at-risk adolescents in three high schools reduced their levels of stress, anxiety, hyperactivity and emotional problems when practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique for four months at school, as compared with controls.

  • Robert Colbert, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Educational Psychology, University of Connecticut
  • Annual Meeting of the Society for Behavioral Medicine, March 2008

American University

Transcendental Meditation produces positive effects on health, brain functioning and cognitive development in students
This two-year study of 250 students attending American University and surrounding colleges in Washington, D.C., found that the TM program produced beneficial effects for health, brain functioning and cognitive development compared to controls.

  • David Haaga, Ph.D., Professor and Director of the James J. Gray Psychotherapy Training Clinic, American University
  • American Journal of Hypertension, 2009
  • International Journal of Psychophysiology, 2009

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center–Los Angeles

Transcendental Meditation reduces hypertension, obesity and diabetes in patients with coronary heart disease
This study of 103 people with coronary heart disease found that individuals practicing Transcendental Meditation for four months had significantly lower blood pressure, improved blood glucose and insulin levels (which signify reduced insulin resistance), and more stable functioning of the autonomic nervous system compared to controls.

  • C. Noel Bairey Merz, M.D., Director of the Preventive and Rehabilitative Cardiac Center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center; Professor of Medicine at the UCLA Medical School
  • American Medical Association’s Archives of Internal Medicine, June 2006

Medical College of Georgia

Reduced high blood pressure among high school students
This eight-month study of 156 hypertensive African American high school students found that the Transcendental Meditation program reduced high blood pressure among the meditating students as compared with little or no change in the control group (twenty percent of African American teenagers suffer from high blood pressure).

  • Vernon Barnes, Ph.D., physiologist and research scientist, Georgia Prevention Institute, Medical College of Georgia
  • American Journal of Hypertension, April 2004

University of Michigan

Transcendental Meditation reduces stress and increases happiness among middle school students
Two studies on 60 sixth-graders at two middle schools found the practice of Transcendental Meditation over four months positively affected emotional development in early adolescent children in a school setting. Meditating students also had significantly higher scores on affectivity, self-esteem and emotional competence.

  • Rita Benn, Ph.D., Director of Education, Complementary & Alternative Medicine Research Center, University of Michigan
  • National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, April 2003

University of California at Irvine

Transcendental Meditation reduces the brain’s reaction to stress
In this pilot study, 12 subjects practicing Transcendental Meditation for 30 years showed a 40–50% lower brain response to stress and pain compared to 12 healthy controls. Further, when the controls then learned and practiced Transcendental Meditation for five months, their brain responses to stress and pain also decreased by a comparable 40–50%.

  • David Orme-Johnson, Ph.D., study director, Neuroimaging Laboratory, University of California at Irvine
  • NeuroReport, August 2006

Bibliography of the research findings
relevant to education

Improved Brain Functioning

  1. Human Physiology 25 (1999) 171-180.
  2. Psychophysiology 31 Abstract (1994) S67.
  3. Psychophysiology 27 Supplement (1990) 4A.
  4. Psychophysiology 26 (1989) 529.
  5. International Journal of Neuroscience 15 (1981) 151-157.
  6. International Journal of Neuroscience 14: (1981) 147–151.
  7. International Journal of Neuroscience 13: (1981) 211-217.
  8. Psychosomatic Medicine 46: (1984) 267–276.

Increased Blood Flow to the Brain

  1. Physiology & Behavior, 59(3) (1996): 399-402 .
  2. American Journal of Physiology 235(1)(1978): R89–R92.
  3. Psychophysiology 13 (1976): 168.
  4. The Physiologist 21 (1978): 60.

Increased Flexibility of Brain Functioning

  1. Biological Psychology, 55 (2000): 41-55.
  2. Psychophysiology 14 (1977): 293–296.

Increased Efficiency of Information Transfer in the Brain

  1. Motivation, Motor and Sensory Processes of the Brain, Progress in Brain Research 54 (1980): 447–453.
  2. International Journal of Neuroscience 10 (1980): 165–170.
  3. Psychophysiology 26 (1989): 529.

Mobilization of the Latent Reserves of the Brain

  1. Proceedings of the International Symposium: Physiological and Biochemical Basis of Brain Activity, St. Petersburg, Russia, (June 22–24, 1994).

Increased Intelligence in Secondary and College Students

  1. Intelligence 29/5 (2001): 419-440.
  2. Journal of Personality and Individual Differences 12 (1991): 1105–1116.
  3. Perceptual and Motor Skills 62 (1986): 731–738.
  4. College Student Journal 15 (1981): 140–146.
  5. Journal of Clinical Psychology 42 (1986): 161–164.
  6. Gedrag: Tijdschrift voor Psychologie [Behavior: Journal of Psychology] 3 (1975): 167–182.
  7. Dissertation Abstracts International 38(7) (1978): 3372B–3373B.
  8. Higher Education Research and Development 15 (1995): 73–82.

Increased Creativity

  1. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 57 (1989) 950-964.
  2. The Journal of Creative Behavior 19 (1985) 270-275.
  3. Dissertation Abstracts International 38(7): 3372B–3373B, 1978.

Improved Memory

  1. Memory and Cognition 10 (1982): 207–215.

Improved Academic Performance

  1. Education 107 (1986): 49–54.
  2. Education 109 (1989): 302–304.
  3. British Journal of Educational Psychology 55 (1985): 164–166.

Benefits in Special Education

  1. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 42 (1981) 35-36.
  2. Journal of Biomedicine 1 (1980) 73-88.

Increased Integration of Personality

Increased Self-Confidence and Self-Actualization

  1. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality 6 (1991): 189–247.
  2. Higher Stages of Human Development: Perspectives on Adult Growth (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990), 286–341.
  3. British Journal of Psychology 73 (1982) 57-68.
  4. College Student Journal 15 (1981): 140–146.
  5. Journal of Counseling Psychology 20 (1973): 565-566.
  6. Journal of Counseling Psychology 19 (1972): 184–187.

Improved Perception

  1. Perceptual and Motor Skills 49 (1979): 270.
  2. Perceptual and Motor Skills 64 (1987): 1003–1012.

Increased Efficiency of Perception and Memory

  1. Memory and Cognition 10 (1982): 207–215.

Orientation Towards Positive Values

  1. Perceptual and Motor Skills 64 (1987): 1003–1012.

Improved Problem-Solving Ability

  1. Personality and Individual Differences 12 (1991): 1105–1116.
  2. Dissertation Abstracts International 38(7): 3372B–3373B, 1978.

Decreased Hostility

  1. Criminal Justice and Behavior 5 (1978): 3–20.
  2. Criminal Justice and Behavior 6 (1979): 13–21.

Improved Left Hemispheric Functioning—Improved Verbal and Analytical Thinking

  1. The Journal of Creative Behavior 13 (1979): 169–180.
  2. The Journal of Creative Behavior 19 (1985): 270–275.
  3. Perceptual and Motor Skills 62 (1986): 731–738.

Improved Right Hemispheric Functioning—Improved Synthetic and Holistic Thinking

  1. The Journal of Creative Behavior 13 (1979): 169–180.
  2. Journal of Clinical Psychology 42 (1986): 161–164.
  3. Biofeedback and Self-Regulation 2 (1977): 407–415.

Increased Field Independence—Increased Resistance to Distraction and Social Pressure

  1. Perceptual and Motor Skills 39 (1974): 1031–1034.
  2. Perceptual and Motor Skills 65 (1987): 613–614.
  3. Perceptual and Motor Skills 59 (1984): 999-1000.
  4. Dissertation Abstracts International 38(7) (1978): 3372B–3373B.

Reduced Anxiety

  1. Journal of Clinical Psychology 45 (1989) 957-974.
  2. Anxiety, Stress and Coping: An International Journal 6 (1993) 245-262.
  3. Journal of Clinical Psychology 33 (1977) 1076-1078.
  4. Dissertation Abstracts International 38(7) (1978): 3372B–3373B.
  5. Hospital & Community Psychiatry 26 (1975): 156–159.

Decreased Depression

  1. Journal of Counseling and Development 64 (1986): 212–215.
  2. Journal of Humanistic Psychology 16(3)(1976): 51–60.
  3. Gedrag: Tijdschrift voor Psychologie [Behavior: Journal of Psychology] 4 (1976): 206–218.

Improved School-Related Behavior

Reduction of Anger, Absenteeism, Disciplinary Infractions and Suspensions

  1. Annals of Behavioral Medicine 23 (2001) S100.
  2. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes 1 (2003): 10.

Increased Tolerance

  1. The Journal of Psychology 99 (1978): 121-127.
  2. International Journal of the Addictions 26 (1991): 293-325.
  3. Dissertation Abstracts International 38(7) (1978): 3372B–3373B.

Reduced Substance Abuse

  1. Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly 11 (1994) 1-524.
  2. Bulletin of the Society of Psychologists in Addictive Behaviors 2 (1983) 28-33.
  3. The International Journal of the Addictions 12 (1977) 729-754.
  4. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation 36 (2003): 127–160.
  5. American Journal of Psychiatry 132 (1975): 942–945.
  6. American Journal of Psychiatry 131 (1974): 60–63.

Accelerated Cognitive Development in Children

  1. Perceptual and Motor Skills 65 (1987): 613–614
  2. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality 17 (2005): 65–91.
  3. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality 17 (2005): 47–64.

Greater Interest in Academic Activities

  1. Western Psychologist 4 (1974): 104–111.

Improved Health

Physiological Rest

  1. American Physiologist 42 (1987) 879-881.
  2. Science 167 (1970) 1751-1754.
  3. American Journal of Physiology 221 (1971) 795-799.

Increased Muscle Relaxation

  1. Electroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology 35 (1973): 143–151.
  2. Psychopathométrié 4 (1978): 437–438.

Faster Reactions

  1. Personality and Individual Differences 12 (1991): 1106–1116.
  2. Perceptual and Motor Skills 38 (1974): 1263–1268.
  3. Perceptual and Motor Skills 46 (1978): 726.
  4. Motivation, Motor and Sensory Processes of the Brain, Progress in Brain Research 54 (1980): 447–453.
  5. L’Encéphale [The Brain] 10 (1984): 139–144.

Decreased Stress Hormone (Plasma Cortisol)

  1. Hormones and Behavior 10(1)(1978): 54–60.
  2. Journal of Biomedicine 1 (1980): 73–88.
  3. Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology 7 (1980): 75–76.
  4. Experientia 34 (1978): 618–619.

Increased Stability of the Autonomic Nervous System

  1. Psychosomatic Medicine 35 (1973): 341–349.
  2. Psychosomatic Medicine 44 (1982): 133–153.

Healthier Response to Stress

  1. Psychosomatic Medicine 35 (1973): 341–349.
  2. Journal of Counseling and Development 64 (1986): 212–215.
  3. Psychosomatic Medicine 49 (1987): 212–213.
  4. Journal of Psychosomatic Research 33 (1989): 29–33.
  5. Psychosomatic Medicine 44 (1982): 133-153.
  6. International Journal of Neuroscience 46 (1989): 77-86.

Improved Quality of Life in People Living with HIV/AIDS

  1. Aids Care 25 (2013) 1291-7.
  2. SF AIDS Foundation/Maharishi University of Management. Submitted for publication.

Reduced Blood Pressure in Adolescents

  1. Annals of Behavioral Medicine 22 (2000) S133.
  2. American Journal of Hypertension (2004).

Decreased Blood Pressure in Hypertensive Subjects

  1. Hypertension 26 (1995): 820-827.
  2. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 57 (1989): 950–964.

Decreased Insomnia

  1. The New Zealand Family Physician 9 (1982): 62–65.
  2. Journal of Counseling and Development 64 (1986): 212–215.
  3. Japanese Journal of Public Health 37 (1990): 729.

Healthier Family Life

  1. Psychological Reports 51 (1982): 887–890.
  2. Journal of Counseling and Development 64 (1986): 212–215

Lower Health Insurance Utilization Rates

  1. Psychosomatic Medicine 49 (1987) 493-507.
  2. American Journal of Health Promotion 10 (1996) 208-216.

Improved Mind-Body Coordination

  1. Journal of Clinical Psychology 42 (1986) 161-164.
  2. Perceptual and Motor Skills 46 (1978) 726.
  3. Perceptual and Motor Skills 38 (1974) 1263-1268.
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