Effects of the Transcendental Meditation Program on Free radicals
Ultraweak Photon Emission and Meditation
Finding: Ultraweak photon emissions are a non-invasive way to measure free radicals in the body. A study of 60 male subjects in their 40’s and 50’s found that ultraweak photon emissions were significantly lower at all 12 anatomical locations studied in subjects practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique (TM) and Other Meditation Techniques (OMT= Tao, Zen, Christian, and Hindu Yoga meditations) than in non-meditating controls (p < .0002). TM subjects also demonstrated lower emissions than OMT in 11 out of 12 anatomical locations (p < .0032). Overall, TM was 27% lower than controls, and OMT were 17% lower (ref. 1).
Interpretation: Free radicals are oxidizers in the body, which can react with lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids to damage cells. There is considerable evidence that they are one cause of chronic diseases associated with aging, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and psoriasis (refs.1-4). Previously, free radicals could only be measured by taking blood or tissue samples. Recently it has been found that the reactions of free radicals in the body emit a very subtle light (photons), which can be measured non-invasively outside the body using highly sensitive photomultipliers in a darkened room (refs. 1 & 3).
The results of this study replicate previous research using the same technique (ref. 3) and a study that measured free radicals by lipid peroxide levels in the blood (ref. 4). Reduced free radicals may be one mechanism through which the TM program decreases blood pressure in hypertensive patients (refs. 5-10), reduces atherosclerosis (ref. 11), improves cardiovascular reactivity (refs. 12-14), reduces medical care utilization and costs in all categories of disease (refs. 15-17), reduces measures of biological age (refs. 18-19), and decreases cardiovascular and all cause mortality rate (20-23).
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10. Anderson, JW, Chunxu, L, Kryscio, RJ. Blood pressure response to Transcendental Meditation: A meta-analysis. American Journal of Hypertension 2008;21:310-316
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18. Wallace, R K, Dillbeck, MC.; Jacobe, E, and Harrington, B. The effects of the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program on the aging process. International Journal of Neuroscience 1982;16: 53–58.
19. Glaser J L, Brind, JL, Vogelman, JH, Eisner MJ, Dillbeck MC, Wallace, RK.; and Orenteich, N. Elevated serum dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate levels in practitioners of the Transcendental Meditation (TM) and TM-Sidhi Program. A version of this paper was published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine 1992;15(4): 327-341.
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21. Alexander CN, Barnes VA, Schneider RH, Langer EJ, Newman RI, Chandler HM, Davies JL, Rainforth M. A randomized controlled trial of stress reduction on cardiovascular and all cause mortality: Results of 8-year and 15-year follow-ups. Circulation 1996;93:P19 (Abstract).
22. Barnes VA, Schneider RH, Alexander CN, Rainforth M, Staggers F, Salerno J, Kondwani KA. Impact of Transcendental Meditation on mortality in older African Americans with hypertension—eight-year follow-up. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality 2005;17:201-216.
23. Schneider RH, Alexander CN, Staggers F, Rainforth M, Salerno JW, Hartz A, S. A, Barnes VA, Nidich SI. Long-term effects of stress reduction on mortality in persons >/=55 years of age with systemic hypertension. American Journal of Cardiology 2005;95:1060-1064.