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No-Effect Studies

Summary of Scientific Research on Maharishi's Transcendental Meditation and Transcendental Meditation-Sidhi Program (Continued)

 Dr. Roger Chalmers

Contents (Continued)

Healthier Ageing and Increased Longevity

TABLE 3: Effects of the Transcendental Meditation Program
Opposite to Detrimental Effects of the Ageing Process

Physiological Changes during TM: a Unique State of Restful Alertness

Benefits for Common Health Problems

Improved Mental Health and Well-Being

Reduced Smoking, Alcohol Consumption, and Drug Abuse

Research on Transcendental Meditation in comparison
to other types of meditation and relaxation

Comprehensive Benefits for Education

Increased Brain Integration in College Students

Consciousness-Based Education in Practice

Improved Occupational Health and Job Performance

Effective Rehabilitation of Offenders

Improved Quality of Life for Society as a Whole

 

Healthier Ageing and Increased Longevity

It has been observed that many effects of the Transcendental Meditation program are opposite to deteriorations usually seen with ageing (see Table 3).  Other findings indicate a strengthening of factors known to favor longevity, such as cardiovascular health, work satisfaction; positive health habits, good mental health, happiness, and intelligence (see Tables 1 and 3).

TABLE 3

Effects of the Transcendental Meditation Program
Opposite to Detrimental Effects of the Ageing Process


PHYSIOLOGY

Increase with ageing; Decrease with TM

Blood pressure – systolic [9-12, 16-21, 27-31, 47, 59-61, 301, 303, 305]
Blood pressure – diastolic [9-10, 12, 16-21, 27-31, 47, 301, 303, 305]
Atherosclerosis [14-15]
Heart failure [41]
Visual evoked potentials – P300 latency [65]
Reflex latency (monosynaptic reflex) [152]
Reflex recovery time (paired H-reflex) [153]
Muscular contraction time (fast and mixed muscles) [152]
Susceptibility to stress [20-22, 71, 124, 132, 134, 144-147, 149-150, 301]
Erythrocyte sedimentation rate [63]
Insomnia (time to fall asleep) [330-331, 162-163]
Sleep disturbance (awakenings per night) [330-331, 162-163]
Daytime sleep [163]

Decrease with ageing; Increase with TM
  

Cardiovascular efficiency [20-21, 41, 43, 299-300]   
Vital capacity [299-300]
Cerebral blood flow [80, 83, 120]
EEG alpha power [67-70, 72-74, 106-114, 116]
Temperature homeostasis [66]
Neuromuscular co-ordination [299-300]
Periodontal health [171]
Physical health and well-being in later life [9-12, 22, 41]
Longevity [11, 16-18]

BIOCHEMISTRY

Increase with ageing; Decrease with TM

Serum cholesterol [46-47, 303]
Insulin resistance [42]

Decrease with ageing; Increase with TM

DHEA-S (dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate) [62]
Efficiency of endocrine control (pituitary-thyroid axis) [148]
Glucose tolerance [55-56]

PERCEPTION AND MIND-BODY CO-ORDINATION

Decrease with ageing; Increase with TM

Visual perception [11, 138, 264, 293]
Dichotic listening [291]   
Field independence [254, 262-263, 284-286]
Perceptual flexibility [11, 138, 264, 292, 294]
Perceptual-motor performance [64, 283, 294-296]
Complex sensory-motor performance [295-296]

Increase with ageing; Decrease with TM 
 
Auditory threshold [59-60, 1-2]
Behavioral rigidity [11, 294]
Reaction time – simple [64, 282, 299-300]
Reaction time – complex [283, 138]

PSYCHOLOGY  
 
Decrease with ageing; Increase with TM

Fluid intelligence [254-255, 258, 263, 64]
Creativity [254, 265-266, 268]
Learning ability [11, 267, 269]
Memory – verbal [269]
Memory – visual [64]
Organization of memory [270]
Cognitive flexibility [11, 254, 264, 138-139]
Self-evaluation of health and well-being [11, 157, 167]
Mental health and well-being in later life [11, 41]

Increase with ageing; Decrease with TM

Depression [41, 156-157, 203-204, 257, 304]


REQUIREMENTS FOR HEALTH CARE

Increase with ageing; Decrease with TM 
 
Patient days in hospital (medical and surgical) [4-5]
Outpatient visits (medical and surgical) [4-5]
Health care costs [6-8]
Rise in health care needs with advancing age [4]
Rise in health care costs with advancing age [8]
 
In keeping with these observations, a study employing a standardized ageing index found that the biological age of middle-aged individuals practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique was significantly younger than both their chronological age and the biological age of non-meditating controls.  The longer subjects had been practicing TM, the greater the degree to which biological age was younger than chronological age [58].  A British study subsequently found similar results in a younger population [59-60].

A meticulously controlled, randomized study from Harvard University found that elderly individuals who learned the Transcendental Meditation technique showed greater improvements in cognitive and behavioral flexibility, learning ability, self-assessment of well-being and ageing, systolic blood pressure, and staff assessment of mental health than subjects taught either a relaxation procedure or ‘mindfulness’ training,  or who acted as a no-treatment control group.  Those who learned the relaxation procedure (which attempted to imitate TM) showed no improvement on any measure.  A clear majority of TM subjects rated their technique as personally useful and easy to practice, in contrast to lower ratings for the other techniques [11]. 

Strikingly, after three years, all those who had learned the Transcendental Meditation technique were still living in contrast to lower survival rates for the other three groups and for the remaining inhabitants of the institutions where the study was conducted [11].  Moreover, significantly greater longevity in the TM group was subsequently maintained over a 15-year follow-up period.  Average survival times were 2.2 years (18%) longer for cardiovascular mortality and 1.73 years (19%) longer for all-cause mortality in the TM group, compared to the other three groups combined [18].

These findings are supported by an eight-year randomized controlled study showing reduced cardiovascular and all-cause mortality in elderly African Americans with mild high blood pressure [17].  A third analysis combined data from these two studies, totaling 202 subjects.  Mortality rates were significantly reduced among TM subjects compared to controls: 23% lower for all-cause mortality, and 30% lower for cardiovascular mortality [16].
Increased health care needs and costs are among the most important correlates of ageing.  As discussed above, a 14-year study of medical expenses among people over 65 years in Quebec showed that individuals practicing TM had markedly reduced annual change in payments to doctors compared to matched controls, with a cumulative difference of 64.2% after five years [8].  An earlier American study of health insurance data also found relatively little increase in health care needs with advancing age among individuals practicing Transcendental Meditation, in contrast to a marked increase seen in a normative control group [4].
  
Middle-aged and older individuals practicing TM have been found to maintain higher levels of the hormone dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate (DHEAS) than controls.  DHEAS usually declines steadily throughout adult life; low levels have been linked to a variety of diseases and to increased mortality.  On average, DHEAS levels in individuals practicing TM were comparable to levels of non-meditators who were 5-10 years younger—a difference that could not be explained by variations in diet, weight, or exercise [62]. 

In another study, individuals practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique were found to have lower average erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and a higher frequency of zero ESR compared to controls.  Increased ESR is correlated with ageing and is a well-established clinical marker of inflammation [63]. 

Ageing research has focused extensively on the role of free radicals – small, highly reactive molecules or molecular fragments which can powerfully oxidize and damage vital bio-molecules, injuring tissues and disrupting physiological repair mechanisms.  Free radicals are thought to be involved in key aspects of ageing and are also implicated in many major diseases, including coronary heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and inflammatory disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis [191].  A recent study examined free radical activity, as measured by ultraweak photon emissions at 12 anatomical locations, in 60 middle-aged male subjects practicing either TM or other forms of meditation, or acting as non-meditating controls.  Subjects who practiced TM showed significantly lower free radical activity than both controls (at all 12 anatomical sites) and practitioners of other types of meditation (at 11 out of 12 sites).  Compared to non-meditating controls, free radical activity was 27% lower among TM subjects, compared to 17% lower in practitioners of other techniques [49-50].  This investigation supports an earlier study showing lower blood levels of lipid peroxides (another index of free radical activity) in elderly people who practiced the Transcendental Meditation technique compared to non-meditating peers [48]. References

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Physiological Changes during TM: a Unique State of Restful Alertness

Extensive physiological research over 40 years has shown that the Transcendental Meditation technique gives rise to a unique physiological state characterized by deep rest [67-90]; increased orderliness and integration of brain functioning [67-70, 72-75, 86, 106-123]; increased blood flow to the brain [80, 83, 120]; decreased peripheral vascular resistance [84]; features directly opposite to the physiological and biochemical effects of stress (including high and stable galvanic skin resistance [67-69, 71, 77, 87, 299], decreased plasma cortisol [91-92], reduced arterial blood lactate [67-69, 71,  78, 80, 82], and deep muscle relaxation [105, 113]); and other distinctive neuroendocrine changes [93-104]. 

Taken together, these studies clearly distinguish the physiology of TM from sleep, drowsiness, or ordinary relaxation.  Researchers have concluded that TM gives rise to a fourth major state of consciousness – Transcendental Consciousness – which is both experientially and physiologically distinct from waking, sleeping, and dreaming.  Like these three states, Transcendental Consciousness has its own unique correlates, aptly described as a state of ‘restful alertness’ in mind and body [68, 72-75, 85-86, 106, 110-111, 115-116].

EEG (‘brain wave’) studies show that while the level of excitation in the nervous system is greatly reduced during TM, wakefulness increases [67-70, 72-75, 86, 106-125].  At the same time, the degree of integration between different areas of the brain is increased [106-118], with high EEG coherence  between front and back of the brain and between right and left cerebral hemispheres [72, 86, 106, 109-111, 114, 116, 124]. 

EEG coherence increases progressively with regular practice of Transcendental Meditation, and reaches a maximum during Yogic Flying, an aspect of the advanced TM-Sidhi program [72-74, 106, 109-111, 114, 123-125].   EEG coherence measures the correlation between brain waves from different areas of the cerebral cortex, providing an index of orderliness and integration in brain functioning [114]. 

High EEG coherence during TM has been found to correlate with higher scores on measures of creativity, intelligence, concept learning, academic performance, mathematical skills, moral reasoning, emotional stability, neuromuscular efficiency, self-development, self-awareness, and experiences of higher states of consciousness; and with lower anxiety and neuroticism [72, 74, 86, 110-111, 124, 126-129, 135, 142-143, 197, 289].

Sophisticated neurophysiological and neuroimaging techniques are shedding further light on TM’s integrative effects on the brain [108, 120, 134].  A magneto-encephalographic study identified the prefrontal cortex and anterior cingulate brain regions as the source of the widespread EEG alpha wave activity observed during TM [108].  Positron emission tomography also highlighted the role of the prefrontal cortex (the highest level of regulation in the brain), showing increased blood flow to this region [120], consistent with the findings of earlier cardiovascular research [80, 83].

Regular practice of TM is associated with sustained increases in brain integration, including during challenging cognitive tasks (see below under ‘Comprehensive Benefits in Education’) [132-143], and with reductions in physiological and biochemical correlates of stress [144-151], reduced sleepiness [132], and increased neurological efficiency [152-154].  Recent research on the brain’s response to pain, using functional magnetic resonance imaging, indicates that regular practice of TM reduces distress associated with painful stimuli, without impairing sensory acuity [134]. References

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Benefits for Common Health Problems

In many countries, TM has been widely recommended by doctors for its contribution to prevention of disease, management of common disorders, and promotion of positive health [www.DoctorsonTM.org].

Research and clinical experience have identified benefits of Transcendental Meditation, in the management of a range of common clinical problems, including major risk factors for disease, hypertension, coronary heart disease, and heart failure (discussed above), asthma, type 2 diabetes, stress-related disorders, migraine, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, ADHD, and substance misuse [9-38, 40-57, 155-191, 234-253, 274].  In some original studies and reviews, TM has been investigated in conjunction with other aspects of a comprehensive natural health program—Maharishi’s Vedic Approach to Health [5, 15, 185-191]. References

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Improved Mental Health and Well-Being   

A large body of research has demonstrated that the Transcendental Meditation program produces comprehensive improvements in mental health, enhancing positive aspects of psychological and social functioning, reducing various forms of distress, and developing a more stable, balanced, and resilient personality.  Findings include:

•    Increased self-actualization and enhanced self development [193, 195-196, 200-205, 207, 209-210, 212-217, 220-227]
•    Improved self-concept and increased self-esteem [211, 158, 203, 206-207, 209, 215, 218, 276, 304]   
•    Increased autonomy and independence [208, 265]
•    Decreased anxiety, tension and depression [192, 156-157, 167, 203-204, 215, 231, 234, 265, 274, 276, 301, 304, 330-331, 334-335, 338-339]
•    Reduced aggression and hostility [57, 330-331, 334-335]
•    Decreased irritability and impulsiveness [208, 229, 274, 325, 330-331]
•    Increased emotional stability and maturity [57, 162, 204, 231, 234, 255, 325, 330-331]
•    Decreased behavioral rigidity [11, 294]
•    Increased sociability, friendliness, tolerance, and good humor [57, 206, 208, 213, 215, 234]
•    Less sensitivity to criticism and greater trust [203]
•    Increased ability to be objective, fair-minded, and reasonable [325]
•    Increased social maturity [213]
•    Increased tolerance and appreciation of others [206, 208, 216, 265, 323]
•    Enhanced capacity for warm interpersonal relationships [57, 203, 210, 215, 234, 325]
•    Improved personal, family, and work relationships [156, 301-303, 322-326]
•    Increased marital harmony and adjustment [322, 325-326]

A systematic review of 146 independent outcomes found that the Transcendental Meditation program was more than twice as effective in reducing anxiety as other techniques (including progressive muscular relaxation, methods claimed to induce a ‘relaxation response’, and other forms of meditation).  Only TM showed a positive correlation between duration of regular practice and reduction of anxiety.  The greater effectiveness of the Transcendental Meditation program remained highly significant when only the strongest and most rigorous studies were included in the analysis.  This result remained robust even when analyses were limited to randomized controlled studies by researchers known to be neutral or skeptical towards TM, and when other potentially confounding factors were controlled [192].  

In a second meta-analysis of 42 independent research results, the Transcendental Meditation program proved three times as effective as other meditation and relaxation procedures in increasing self-actualization, an overall measure of positive mental health and personal development.  Further analysis revealed that the technique is exceptionally effective in developing three independent components of this dimension: emotional maturity, a resilient sense of self, and a positive, integrated perspective of self and the world [193].

A third meta-analysis examined 51 studies of the effects of different meditation techniques on measures of psychological health and well-being, comprising more than 9700 research subjects and 400 outcome findings.  TM was found to be markedly more effective than other techniques in improving psychological variables; this result was maintained when only studies of highest validity and strongest experimental design were included [194].

The comprehensive nature of Transcendental Meditation's benefits for mental health is illustrated in a randomized study of Vietnam War veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.  Over a three-month period, patients practicing TM 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; decreased emotional numbness; and reduced difficulty in obtaining employment.  In contrast, the control group who received standard treatment with psychotherapy showed no significant change on any measure [156].

An exhaustive epidemiological survey conducted by the Swedish National Health Board found evidence that psychiatric hospital admissions were much less common among people practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique than in the general population [233]. References

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Reduced Smoking, Alcohol Consumption, and Drug Abuse

The Transcendental Meditation program has consistently been found to reduce the use of tobacco, alcohol, and non-prescribed drugs in a wide variety of settings and populations [51-54, 156, 234-253, 301, 303].  A systematic review and meta-analysis of 198 studies (including 19 on TM) found that the Transcendental Meditation program produced marked, sustained, and highly significant reductions in smoking, alcohol consumption, and illicit drug use, with larger effects than other treatments including standard therapies, other forms of meditation, relaxation training, educational programs, anxiety management, counseling to counteract peer pressure, biofeedback, hypnosis, acupuncture and sensory deprivation [51].

Over an 18-24 month period, abstinence ranged from 51% to 89% for people practicing Transcendental Meditation, compared to 21% for good conventional substance abuse programs. In contrast to high early relapse rates with standard programs, reductions in smoking and alcohol consumption with TM increased gradually over time, while initial marked reductions in illicit drug use were sustained [51].  Overall, research in this area indicates that the longer individuals practice Transcendental Meditation, the more likely it is that they will stop or markedly reduce smoking, alcohol consumption, or drug abuse [51, 54]. References

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Research on Transcendental Meditation in
comparison to other types of meditation and relaxation

Transcendental Meditation is unique in the range and depth of research into its effects: no other method of meditation or relaxation has been shown to reproduce the physiological changes observed during TM, or to replicate its wide-ranging benefits for mind, body, behavior, or society [144].  Direct comparisons confirm the unique effectiveness of TM:

•    Randomized controlled trials have shown that, compared to various forms of relaxation and meditation, TM is more effective in reducing high blood pressure [9-12]; decreasing atherosclerosis [14]; decreasing cardiovascular and all-cause mortality in subjects with mild hypertension [16-18]; increasing cognitive flexibility, well-being, and longevity in the elderly [11, 18]; increasing general intelligence, practical intelligence, creativity and speed of cognitive processing [254]; improving perceptual awareness (increased field independence) [254, 285]; and decreasing anxiety [254]. In other randomized studies, TM was more effective than psychotherapy in decreasing multiple features of post-traumatic stress disorder [156], and superior to an educational corporate stress management program in reducing anxiety and depression and improving self-concept [304].

•    Systematic reviews examining large numbers of studies and employing the technique of meta-analysis, have shown that TM is markedly more effective than other methods of meditation and relaxation in decreasing anxiety [192], reducing high blood pressure [23], enhancing overall psychological health (self-actualization) [193], and improving psychological outcomes in general [194].  Meta-analyses have also shown that TM promotes deeper rest and decreases physiological indicators of stress more effectively than ordinary relaxation [71], and is strikingly more successful in combating smoking, alcohol consumption, and drug abuse than conventional substance abuse programs or other forms of meditation or relaxation [51]. References

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Comprehensive Benefits for Education

The Transcendental Meditation program is being increasingly employed in education as a technology to facilitate optimal cognitive, intellectual, social and emotional development.  Research findings include:

•    Increased intelligence and creativity [254, 213, 255, 258, 263, 265, 266-268, 64]
•    Improved memory, learning ability, and cognitive flexibility [11, 128-129, 254, 267, 269-270]
•    Improved academic achievement in school, university, and postgraduate students [259-262]
•    Enhanced cognitive and self development [195, 212, 214, 216, 220-227, 272, 275]
•    Improved attention, perception, and mind-body co-ordination [254, 64, 134, 138-139, 258, 262-263, 274, 282-300]
•    Increased orderliness and integration of brain functioning (see above) [106-143, 67-70, 72, 74-75, 86]
•    Improvement on both verbal-analytical and visual-spatial tasks (indicating improved functioning of both left and right cerebral hemispheres) [64, 139, 254-255, 262-269, 290]
•    Improved athletic performance [298-300]
•    Reduced blood pressure in pre-hypertensive adolescents [19-21, 25]
•    Increased field independence (indicating greater ability to maintain broad comprehension while focusing sharply) [254, 262-263, 284-286]
•    Comprehensive benefits for mental health and well-being (see above) [11, 156-157, 162, 167, 192-234, 254-255, 257, 274-279, 301-305, 321-326]
•    Greater moral maturity and higher moral reasoning [217, 224, 267, 127]
•    Increased orientation towards positive values [216]
•    Increased social maturity in college students [213]
•    Decreased sleepiness in college students [132]
•    Reduced alcohol consumption, drug abuse, and smoking (see above) [51-54, 234-253, 301, 303]
•    Reduced behavior problems in school—decreased absenteeism, rule infractions, and suspension days [273]
•    Benefits in special and remedial education:

o    Improvements in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): reduced stress and anxiety; improvements in ADHD symptoms and executive function [274]
o    Increased intelligence and improved self-concept among children from low income families [275]
o    Increased independence and self-supportiveness, improved self-regard, and decreased dropout rate from school in economically-deprived adolescents with learning problems [276]
o    Decreased anxiety, examination anxiety, and school dislike in children with learning problems [277]
o    Benefits for learning disabled subjects: improvements in social behavior, cognitive functioning, intelligence, physical health; and normalization of neuroendocrine measures [278, 183]
o    Improvement in autism: decreased echolalic behavior [279]
o    Decreased stuttering [280]
o    Improved social behavior, increased self-regard, and decreased anxiety among juvenile offenders [338-339] References


Three randomized controlled studies conducted in Taiwan found that TM produced greater improvements in speed of cognitive processing, cognitive flexibility, creativity, general intelligence, practical intelligence, and field independence than either a traditional Chinese meditation technique or napping [254].  The authors note that, as in earlier research on TM and intelligence, the technique produced unexpected improvements in basic cognitive abilities that do not usually develop beyond early adolescence [254-255, 258, 263].

In a British study, master’s degree engineering students who learned the Transcendental Meditation technique showed improved performance on standard examinations after six months, compared with randomly assigned controls [259].

Canadian secondary school students who practiced TM over a 14-week period showed improvements in intellectual performance (problem-solving ability), creativity, tolerance, self-esteem, autonomy and independence, innovation, energy levels, and ability to deal with abstract and complex situations, as well as decreased anxiety, in contrast to control students [265].

In Cambodian students taking a one-year preparatory course before university, TM led to increased intelligence and self-esteem, improved physical health, and decreased depression and anxiety, compared to control students [256-257]

In a four-month randomized trial, adolescent African American children who learned the Transcendental Meditation technique showed reductions in absenteeism, school rule infractions, and suspension days compared to a control group who participated in health education [273].

In a ten-year longitudinal study, university students practicing the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program increased significantly on a measure of self development (Loevinger’s ego-development scale), in contrast to non-meditating control students at three other universities [195].

Another study of university students practicing TM found that they rated important people in their lives (parents and spouse) significantly more positively than did control students [216]. References

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Increased Brain Integration in College Students

By incorporating TM into the daily curriculum, Consciousness-Based Education progressively develops integration in brain functioning—the essential foundation for more effective learning, enhanced personal growth, and greater success in any field of life (see ‘Physiological Changes during TM’ above).  A recent randomized controlled trial found that college students who practiced TM over a three-month period showed increased scores on an electroencephalographic (EEG) index of brain integration compared to non-meditating control students [132].  The TM group also showed reduced sleepiness and had no increase in physiological stress levels (measured by skin resistance responses) despite impending final examinations, in contrast to the expected increase seen in controls [132]. References

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Consciousness-Based Education in Practice

TM has been practically applied in schools and universities in highly diverse social and economic environments in many parts of the world, including UK, USA, India, Thailand, Cambodia, Taiwan, Australia, South Africa, Uganda, Canada, Peru, Venezuela, Bolivia, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Trinidad and Tobago, Paraguay, and Guatemala.  These projects have produced exceptional standards of academic achievement, student well-being, and school harmony. David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace

The longest established educational institutions employing Maharishi’s Consciousness-Based Education – Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, USA and Maharishi Schools in Fairfield and in Skelmersdale, Lancashire, UK – have consistently delivered outstanding educational outcomes, and their students have repeatedly won regional, national, and international awards in many fields, including science, mathematics, creative thinking, literature, and sport.  These results are particularly notable since both schools have an open admissions policy and do not select pupils by ability or background.

At Maharishi School in Lancashire in 2007, 100% of the pupils who took their GCSE examinations gained passes at grade C or above, compared with the national average of 63%.  Approximately 66% of the passes were at the highest grades of A or A+; this is over three times the national figure of 19.5%.  These results maintain the high standards of previous years: in 2006, all pupils gained five or more passes at grades A to C, with 58% at A or A+.

Maharishi School in Fairfield, Iowa has ten times the national average of graduates who are National Merit Scholar Finalists and has seen 95% of graduates accepted at four-year colleges, with senior students consistently scoring in the nation’s top 1% on standardized tests of educational development.  Maharishi School students have won over 100 international, national, and state competitions for academic projects, sports, arts, and extracurricular activities. For example, in Destination ImagiNation, an international problem-solving competition, Maharishi School students have not only won the World Championship three times, but have had more top ten finishes than any other school in the world.

TM can also make a great contribution to calming the stress and violence that has become all too frequent in schools, especially in economically-deprived areas.  Dr George Rutherford, a Washington D.C. educator and school principal for over four decades, served for 20 years as Principal of the Fletcher-Johnson Educational Center in one of the city’s most violent areas.  There he introduced the Transcendental Meditation program to hundreds of students and teachers as part of a unique program of ‘quiet time’.  ‘We had amazing results,’ Dr Rutherford has said. ‘I used to have to be in the streets all the time to stop the fighting, but after we started the TM program, I didn’t have to go out there. You walk into the school and you feel it’s tension-free: a stress-free school right in the heart of the inner city, where we had plenty of violence.’  Other American schools situated in troubled areas are experiencing similarly positive results, including reduced student suspensions, improved teacher attendance, improved school environment, and fewer fights.  Two recent studies have shown that the Transcendental Meditation program positively influences emotional development in early adolescent African-American children in a school setting where its practice is supported by the administration [www.tmeducation.org].  committee for stress-free schools. References

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Improved Occupational Health and Job Performance

Studies conducted in business and industry have shown that TM improves occupational health and performance [52, 157, 272, 301-321].  Findings include:
•    Improved job performance [302-303]
•    Increased job satisfaction [301-302]
•    Improved relationships at work [301-303]
•    Increased productivity [302]
•    Increased employee effectiveness [301]
•    Increased contribution of managers to the organization [303]
•    Improved leadership [306]
•    Enhanced management development [272, 307-321, 133]
•    Improved physical and mental health and well-being [52, 157, 301, 303-305]
•    Improved health-related behavior in employees and managers [52, 301, 303]
•    Reduced stress in employees and managers [157, 301, 303, 305]
•    Reduced job tension, anxiety, depression, and insomnia [157, 301, 304]
•    Increased energy and decreased fatigue [301, 303]
•    Reduced difficulty in obtaining employment for people with post-traumatic stress disorder [156] References

In a five-month study conducted by researchers from Japan's National Institute of Industrial Health (a branch of the Japanese Ministry of Labor), industrial employees practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique showed increased emotional stability and  reductions in anxiety, tendency to neurosis, impulsiveness, physical complaints, insomnia and smoking compared to controls.  Depression also decreased in the TM group, despite lower initial levels [52, 157].  Overall, employees practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique improved significantly on 10 out of 14 dimensions, whereas controls improved on only one [157].  References

Another study examined stress, health, and employee development in two settings in the automotive industry: a large manufacturing plant of a Fortune 100 corporation and a small sales distribution company.  Employees who learned the Transcendental Meditation technique showed significantly greater improvement than matched control subjects on a wide variety of measures, including improved general health and reductions in physiological arousal, anxiety, job tension, insomnia, fatigue, and consumption of cigarettes and hard liquor [301].  Practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique also led to increased job satisfaction, improved employee effectiveness, and better work and personal relationships, confirming the findings of an earlier study [301-302].  

Further analysis identified three factors underlying this wide range of improvements through TM: ‘occupational coherence’, ‘physiological settledness’, and ‘job and life satisfaction’. The effect size of TM in reducing physiological arousal, anxiety, and alcohol/cigarette use, and in enhancing personal development, was substantially larger than for other forms of meditation and relaxation reported in four previous statistical meta-analyses [301].

A three-month prospective study at a medical equipment company compared managers who learned the Transcendental Meditation technique to matched controls who were similar in age, education level, ethnicity, marital status, hours worked per week, job type and level of responsibility in the organization.  Managers who practiced TM made an increased ‘organizational contribution’ compared to controls, as measured by a combined index of productivity, leadership practices, work relationships, vitality, mental health, job satisfaction, and anger.  TM practice also led to reduced alcohol consumption; healthier habits of exercise, diet, and sleep; decreased serum cholesterol; increased energy and less fatigue; improved mental health; reduced stress-related physical symptoms; and reduction in perceived stress (the degree to which situations were perceived as overloading, uncontrollable or unpredictable) [303]. 

In a randomized study of employees at a high-security government agency, subjects who learned the Transcendental Meditation technique showed reductions in anxiety and depression after 12 weeks, in comparison to controls who participated in an educational corporate stress-management program.  When retested after three years, the TM group showed not only sustained reductions in anxiety and depression, but also improved self-concept compared to controls [304]. 

Consistent with these findings, a controlled prospective study of employees at a South African firm found that TM was effective in reducing psychological stress and decreasing both systolic and diastolic blood pressure over a five-month period [305].  In another study, employees at a food sales company who learned TM showed greater improvement on a composite measure of leadership behavior over an eight-month period than non-meditating controls [306]. References

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Effective Rehabilitation of Offenders

Research spanning more than 35 years demonstrates that the Transcendental Meditation program is effective in correcting and preventing criminal behavior. These studies have used some of the most sophisticated and widely validated measures of mental health and developmental maturity available in the social sciences [327-348].
A study conducted at Harvard University on maximum security inmates in Massachusetts showed that the criminal mindset can be altered by Transcendental Meditation. Prisoners who learned the technique significantly improved on measures of psychopathology, including decreased aggression, anxiety, and schizophrenic symptoms.  Furthermore, the Transcendental Meditation program increased their self development by more than one level on Loevinger’s ego (self) development scale—from the dependent, exploitative orientation that is commonly found in criminals to the more responsible, self-monitoring, self-respecting, and communicative orientation of law-abiding citizens.  Such holistic effects on development in adults are remarkable, especially among people previously thought to be most resistant to change [334-335]. 

In another maximum security prison study, inmates who learned the Transcendental Meditation technique showed reductions in anxiety, resentment, negativism, suspicion, verbal hostility, neuroticism, and tendency to assault, as well as decreased insomnia and improved quality of sleep compared to controls [330-331].

The Transcendental Meditation program can also facilitate rehabilitation of juvenile offenders: young people referred to juvenile court for a legal offence showed improved social behavior and increased self-regard after learning TM. Anxiety levels were also reduced, a result corroborated by a later study [338-339].

Both previous and subsequent research strongly supports these findings [327-329, 332-333, 336-337, 340-348].  A narrative and quantitative review of the application of TM in eight correctional settings involving almost 1500 inmates found that the technique leads to positive changes in health, psychological development, and behavior [328].  Another review examining changes in brain chemistry of criminals found that stress-related neuroendocrine abnormalities known to be associated with aggression and crime were alleviated by the Transcendental Meditation program [346]. 

The ultimate test for any rehabilitation program is whether it reduces the frequency with which former offenders commit new crimes and return to prison (recidivism). Two studies, one with a 15-year follow-up period after release, found that TM markedly decreased recidivism rates, with up to 47% reduction compared to controls participating in other treatment programs [327, 329, 336].  In keeping with these results, a large scale study of 11,000 prisoners and 900 prison officers in Senegal found that the Transcendental Meditation program reduced recidivism rates to only 8%, as well as markedly decreasing prison violence and health problems [332]. 

In a pioneering, community-based rehabilitation program, six Missouri judges have sentenced over 100 probationers, whose offences range from drunken driving to manslaughter, to learn TM. The program has had remarkable success, with extremely low rates of re-offending based on promotion of more balanced, successful, and law-abiding lives for participants [333]. References

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Improved Quality of Life for Society as a Whole

Every individual continuously contributes to, and is influenced by, the quality of life in society as a whole.  Based on this principle, Maharishi predicted in 1960 that if even a small fraction of the population were to practice Transcendental Meditation, positive changes would be observed not only in their own lives but also throughout the community. 

This prediction was first investigated in 1974 in a number of American cities where 1% of the population had learned Transcendental Meditation.  When the 1% threshold was reached, a substantial reduction in crime rate was observed, in contrast to previous crime trends in these cities and to the continuing rise of crime in matched control cities with far fewer meditators [349]. 

This result has subsequently been confirmed and extended by larger and increasingly more rigorous investigations, which have demonstrated that the percentage of the population practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique is a reliable predictor of decreases in crime, suicides, and accidents even after controlling for demographic factors that are known to influence these parameters.  For example, scientists found that the observed improvements in quality of life could not be explained by changes in population size and density, residential stability, college population, ethnic distribution, unemployment rate, average income, percentage of the population living below the poverty level, age distribution, average level of education, police coverage, or previous crime trends.  Further research confirmed a direct causal relationship between numbers practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique and reduction of crime rate in two separate random samples, one of 160 cities and the other of 80 metropolitan areas in the United States [350, 355].

This phenomenon, representing a transition to a more orderly and harmonious state in society, was named the Maharishi Effect in recognition of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who had both predicted it and made possible its practical implementation.  More than 50 separate studies have now been conducted on this effect [350-378].

Scientific interest grew sharply when it was observed that the effect of coherence in society was greatly intensified when Transcendental Meditation and the advanced TM-Sidhi program, including Yogic Flying, are practiced together in a group.  As a result, the number needed to generate the Maharishi Effect was found to be greatly reduced, to as little as the square root of one percent of the population.  This figure is a very small proportion of any large social system: approximately 800 for the United Kingdom, 1750 for the United States, and only 8000 for the world as a whole.  These relatively small numbers have made it practically possible to test this formula repeatedly in cities, provinces, states, whole nations, and even the entire world [350-378]. 

The rise in coherence and harmony in society created by groups utilizing this technology has been repeatedly verified through increasingly well-controlled studies, including prospective projects, employing the most rigorous experimental designs and statistical methods available in the social sciences.  Many have appeared in leading journals, including Journal of Conflict Resolution; Social Indicators Research; Psychology, Crime and Law; The Journal  of Mind and Behavior; Psychological Reports; Journal of Offender Rehabilitation; and Journal of Social Behavior and Personality.  The results of these investigations, summarized in Table 4, reach exceptionally high levels of statistical significance: taken together, they establish the Maharishi Effect on a level of proof unprecedented in sociological research. 

A fascinating feature of these investigations is that diverse and apparently unrelated social parameters are found to improve simultaneously, consistent with the conclusion that this technology enlivens a source of orderliness and integration that is common to all aspects of life [359, 368-369, 373].

With the discovery of the Maharishi Effect, world peace and prosperity become, for the first time, achievable goals.  Permanent maintenance of several groups of 8000 individuals collectively practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique and Yogic Flying – more than enough to sustain a continuous powerful influence of coherence and positivity for the entire world – would cost no more than a very small number of advanced military aircraft [374-376]. References

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TABLE 4

Research Findings on Groups Practicing the
Transcendental Meditation and Transcendental Meditation-Sidhi Program

•    Decreased crime (research on: Merseyside, UK 1988-1991; Netherlands 1979, 1981; Washington DC, USA 1981-83, 1993; Puerto Rico, USA 1984; Metro Manila, Philippines 1984; Union Territory of Delhi, India 1980-81; Israel 1983; Jerusalem, Israel 1983) [350-355, 358, 368-369]
•    Decreased violent crime (Washington DC 1993) [352]
•    Decreased violent fatalities (homicide, suicide, and motor vehicle accidents) (USA 1982-1985) [354]
•    Decreased motor vehicle and/or aircraft accidents and fatalities (Netherlands 1979, 1981; USA 1979; Jerusalem, Israel 1983; Worldwide 1983-84) [358-359, 368-369, 373]
•    Reduction of notifiable infectious diseases (USA and  Australia 1983-84) [373]
•    Increased economic prosperity and confidence:
o    decrease in an index of unemployment and inflation (USA 1979-1988; Canada 1979-1988) [361-364]
o    increases in stock market indices (USA 1979; UK 1982-83; Israel 1983; Worldwide 1983-84) [359, 365, 368-369, 373]
o    increased patent applications (indicating increased creativity) (USA, UK,  South Africa and Australia 1983-84) [373]
•    Improvements in overall quality of state and national life (as measured by composite indices including data on crime, suicides, accidents, fetal deaths, infant mortality, infectious diseases, pollution, alcohol and cigarette consumption, gross national product, days lost through strikes, patent applications, higher educational attainment, and divorce rates (USA 1976-1983; Canada 1972-1986; Israel 1983; Philippines 1979-81; Metro Manila, Philippines 1984-85; Rhode Island, USA 1978; Iowa, USA 1979-1986 ) [354, 356-357, 359-360, 366, 368-369]
•    Reduced conflict and increased progress towards peace in major world trouble-spots:
o    decreased war deaths, war injuries, and intensity of conflict (Lebanon 1983-85) [368-369, 374]
o    decreased international conflict (Worldwide 1978 and 1983-84) [370, 373]
o    increased progress towards peaceful resolution of conflict (Lebanon 1983-1985) [374]
•    Reduced casualties and injuries from international terrorism (Worldwide 1983-85) [370]
•    More positive interactions between the superpowers (USA and Soviet Union 1979-86) and increased friendliness in statements of US Head of State (USA and Soviet Union 1985-1987) [371-372]
•    Increased harmony in international affairs (Worldwide 1983-84) [373] References


Also see Summary of Key Studies

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