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TM Research

National Institutes of Health

NIH-funded Scientific Research on Transcendental Meditation

The National Institutes of Health have granted more than $26 million over the past 18 years to study the effects of the Transcendental Meditation program on cardiovascular disease. The following is a summary of findings of the published research as well as a listing of universities where recent studies have been conducted.

Decreased Risk of Heart Attack, Stroke and Death (American Heart Association's Circulation, November, 2012)
This study randomly assigned 201 African American men and women to Transcendental Meditation or health education. After 5.4 years, the TM group had a 48% decreased incidence of heart attack, stroke or death as compared to the health education control. Secondary outcomes included a 4.9 mm HG reduction in systolic blood pressure and reduced anger among the TM group as compared to the control.

Reduced Metabolic Syndrome (American Medical Association’s Archives of Internal Medicine, June 2006)
This 16-week, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial of 103 coronary heart patients found Transcendental Meditation improved blood pressure and insulin resistance components of the metabolic syndrome as well as cardiac autonomic nervous system tone compared with a control group receiving health education. These results suggest that TM may modulate the physiological response to stress and improve coronary heart disease risk factors.

Extended Longevity (American Journal of Cardiology, May 2005)
This study was a first-of-its-kind, long-term, randomized trial. It evaluated the death rates of 202 men and women, average age 71, who had mildly elevated blood pressure. Subjects in the study participated in the Transcendental Meditation program; behavioral techniques, such as mindfulness or progressive muscle relaxation; or health education. The study tracked subjects for up to 18 years. The study found that the Transcendental Meditation technique reduced death rates by 23%.

Reduced Blood Pressure and Reduced Use of Hypertensive Medication (American Journal of Hypertension, January 2005)
This long-term, clinical trial evaluated 150 men and women, average age 49, with stage I hypertension (average blood pressure 142/95 mm Hg). Blood pressure in the Transcendental Meditation group reduced by nearly 6 mm diastolic pressure and 3 mm systolic pressure. In contrast, blood pressure in the progressive muscle relaxation group and conventional health education classes reduced by 3 mm diastolic pressure, with no change in systolic pressure. Use of hypertensive medication was also found to significantly decrease in the TM group in comparison with controls.

Reduced Blood Pressure in At-risk Teens (American Journal of Hypertension, April 2004) This $1.5M, four-year, randomized, controlled study found that adolescents at risk for heart disease experienced decreased blood pressure as a result of the daily practice of Transcendental Meditation.

Reduced Atherosclerosis (American Journal of Cardiology, April 2002)
This study found that subjects with multiple risk factors for cardiovascular disease substantially reduced atherosclerosis through a multi-modality treatment program derived from a traditional medicine that included the daily practice of Transcendental Meditation. In the study, 57 adults were randomly assigned into three treatment groups. After one year, the ceratoid intima-media thickness decreased significantly more in the subjects who were randomly assigned to the TM group.

Reduced Thickening of Coronary Arteries (Stroke, March 2000)
A study found that the daily practice of the TM technique reduced the thickening of coronary arteries in hypertensive adults, thereby decreasing the risk of heart attack and stroke. After 6 to 9 months, carotid intima-media thickness decreased in the TM group as compared to matched control subjects. This reduction was similar to that achieved by lipid-lowering drugs and extensive lifestyle changes.

Reduced Constriction of Blood Vessels (Psychosomatic Medicine, July 1999 and January 1999)
A study of middle-aged adults reported that the TM technique reduced blood pressure by reducing constriction of the blood vessels (vasoconstriction), thereby decreasing the risk of heart disease. A separately published study on adolescents with high normal blood pressure found that randomly assigned subjects who practiced the TM technique exhibited greater decreases in resting blood pressure, vascular resistance and stress reactivity from pre- to post-treatment, compared to controls.

Reduced Blood Pressure (International Journal of Neuroscience, January 1997)
Findings from a controlled study showed a significant reduction in ambulatory diastolic blood pressure in subjects regularly practicing the TM technique, compared to controls.

Reduced Myocardial Eschemia (American Journal of Cardiology, May 1996)
This study found that the TM program significantly reduced myocardial ischemia in coronary artery disease patients after eight months of practice.

Reduced Blood Pressure: Comparisons with Other Procedures (Hypertension—an American Heart Association journal—November 1995 and August 1996)
Clinical studies of older African Americans found that the TM program was 1) as effective as antihypertensive drugs in reducing blood pressure, 2) twice as effective as progressive muscle relaxation in lowering hypertension and 3) significantly effective in reducing blood pressure for both men and women in all five major risk categories: obesity, high alcohol use, low exercise levels, psychological stress and high salt intake.

Universities Conducting NIH-funded research
on Transcendental Meditation

Cedars-Sinai Hospital, Los Angeles
The effects of Transcendental Meditation on cardiovascular disease in coronary heart disease patients with metabolic syndrome
Published in the American Medical Association’s Archives of Internal Medicine, July 2006

Howard University School of Medicine, Washington, D.C.
Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta
The effects of Transcendental Meditation in older African American women at risk for heart disease
Findings presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology, March 2006

Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, Los Angeles
(1) A study on the mechanisms of atherosclerosis—the effects of Transcendental Meditation on the sympathetic nervous system and the functioning of the arterial endothelium in African Americans; and (2) the effects of Transcendental Meditation on carotid atherosclerosis
Published in the American Heart Association’s Stroke

University of California, Irvine
The effects of Transcendental Meditation on brain functioning, stress and pain as shown by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
Published in Neuroreport, August 2006

The Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
(1) The effects of Transcendental Meditation on the prevention of hypertension in African Americans; and  (2) the effects of Transcendental Meditation on morbidity and mortality in African Americans with heart disease 
Update: The NIH recently awarded another $2 million to continue the study for another four years (for a total of 8 years)

University of Iowa
The effects of the multimodality approach of TM and Ayurvedic medicine on coronary disease
Findings presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology, March 2006

University of Pennsylvania
The effects of Transcendental Meditation on congestive heart failure
Submitted for publication

University of Hawaii
The effects of Transcendental Meditation in slowing hardening of the arteries in older, high-risk native Hawaiians
Submitted for publication

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