Transcendental Meditation® refers to a specific, branded form of silent mantra meditation aimed at promoting a state of relaxed awareness, avoiding distracting thoughts and making the mind calm. This meditation technique from the ancient Vedic tradition was introduced by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in India in the 1950s and brought to the world in the 1960s. A person practicing TM sits in a comfortable position and silently repeats a mantra (a special word/series of words). Proponents note that unlike various types of meditation it is very accessible as there is no concentrating or mindfulness (monitoring of thoughts) or trying to “empty the mind”–and it is not “one size fits all”: it is taught one-on-one by certified TM instructors.

Research Spotlight

The databases often return hundreds of medical studies for a single wellness approach. This section summarizes a sampling of five studies – providing just a taste of the available research. These Spotlights were not selected because they are the most favorable or the most recent, but to provide you an introduction to the more extensive research you’ll uncover searching the four databases found in the “Research” section of this site.

  • Study Suggests TM Positive for Cardiac Patients
    A nine-year randomized controlled trial (2012), published in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation, found major reductions in heart attacks, strokes and death among cardiac patients who practiced Transcendental Meditation (TM). The study randomly assigned 201 African-American men and women to either TM or health education. (Both groups continued usual medicines.) 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.
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  • TM Shows Positive Results for Cardiovascular Function in Adolescents
    A randomized controlled trial from the Medical College of Georgia (2001) examined the impact of a TM practice on blood pressure reactivity in African-American adolescents with high resting systolic blood pressure. Compared to control group subjects, TM subjects exhibited significantly greater decreases from pre- to post-intervention in systolic blood pressure, heart rate and cardiac output.
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  • Trial Shows TM Beneficial for Symptoms of PTSD and Anxiety (with less medication)
    A 2016 study of 74 active military service members at the Neuroscience and Rehabilitation Center at Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center found that over the six-month period of the study, fewer military personnel in the TM group increased their medication and fewer introduced new medications compared to controls. In addition, TM decreased symptoms of PTSD and anxiety.
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  • TM Program Leads to Improvement in Mood and Stress for Dementia Caregivers
    A small 2015 University of South Australia pilot study on caregivers for persons with dementia randomly assigned people to a 12-week TM training program or wait-list control. Those exposed to TM demonstrated varying degrees of improvement in cognitive function, mood, quality of life and stress. However, as this study was underpowered, no firm conclusions can be made and much larger trials are needed.
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  • TM Program Lowered Drinking Rates among Male – But Not Female – College Students
    A randomized trial from American University (2011 – 295 college students) investigated the impact of TM on substance abuse and found that TM instruction lowered drinking rates among male but not female students.
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