May 2 2005
Transcendental Meditation has been found to have far more impact on the body than was previously suspected and goes beyond just creating a laid back and relaxed attitude.
Researchers have apparently found that the non-drug stress-reduction technique, so popular in the sixties especially with some pop musicians, has the capacity to extend life and reduces death rates by 23%.
The study which is the first of its kind, was longterm and randomized and evaluated 202 men and women, average age 71, who had mildly elevated blood pressure. The group took part in the Transcendental Meditation program using behavioural techniques, such as mindfulness or progressive muscle relaxation; or health education. The subjects were monitored for up to 18 years and the vital statistics were taken from the National Death Index.
The results showed that compared to combined controls, the TM group had a significant reduction in the rate of death from cardiovascular disease- 30%, death from cancer -49%, and it reduced the risk factors in heart disease. An overall reduction of 23%C in the rate of death from all causes was found.
The principal author of the study and director of the Center of Natural Medicine and Prevention, Robert Schneider, M.D., FACC, says that the research found that the Transcendental Meditation program reduced risk factors in heart disease and other chronic disorders, such as high blood pressure, smoking, psychological stress, stress hormones, harmful cholesterol, and atherosclerosis, and these reductions slow the aging process and promote the long-term reductions in death rates.
Researchers from Harvard, University of Iowa, Medical College of Georgia, West Oakland Health Center, and Maharishi University of Management collaborated on the study, which was partly funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health's National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
The report is published in the current edition of the American Journal of Cardiology.