Maharishi Mahesh Yogi


Transcendental Meditation

Frequently Asked Questions


Source material thanks to Rafael David (rafaeld@aol.com)



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1. Transcendental Meditation compared with Rest
2. TM and other meditation and relaxation techniques
3. Research on TM and HYPERTENSION
4. Research on TM and CHOLESTEROL
5. Research on Reduced Health Care Costs
6. Transcendental Meditation and AGING
7. Research on TM and MENTAL HEALTH
8. Research on TM in EDUCATION
9. Research on TM in BUSINESS
10. TM and TRAUMATIC STRESS SYNDROME
11. TM and SUBSTANCE ABUSE
12. TM and CRIMINAL REHABILITATION
13. Research on TM and QUALITY OF LIFE
14. TM community reduces crime in Fairfield, Iowa
15. TM Research Summary: Universities and Journals
16. Summer 1993 WASHINGTON DC Project


1. Transcendental Meditation compared with Rest

Q. Is there scientific evidence to show that Transcendental Meditation is different from just resting with your eyes closed?

A. Yes. Research shows that Transcendental Meditation is unique; it is much different from eyes-closed rest.

A comprehensive statistical "meta-analysis" was conducted that compared the findings of 31 physiological studies on Transcendental Meditation and on resting with eyes closed. (A meta-analysis is the preferred scientific procedure for drawing definitive conclusions from large bodies of research.) The study evaluated three key indicators of relaxation and found that Transcendental Meditation provides a far deeper state of relaxation than does simple eyes-closed rest.

The research showed that breath rate and plasma lactate decrease, and basal skin resistance increases, significantly more during Transcendental Meditation than during eyes-closed rest. Interestingly, immediately prior to the Transcendental Meditation sessions, meditating subjects had lower levels of breath rate, plasma lactate, spontaneous skin conductance, and heart rate than did controls. This deeper level of relaxation before starting the practice suggests that reduced physiological stress through Transcendental Meditation is cumulative. (American Psychologist 42: 879-881, 1987.)


2. TM and other meditation and relaxation techniques

Q. Are all meditation and relaxation techniques equally as effective as Transcendental Meditation?

A. No. All meditation and relaxation techniques are not the same.

Four studies were conducted that compared findings of research on different meditation and relaxation techniques. These meta-analyses found that Transcendental Meditation is the most effective technique for reducing anxiety; increasing self-actualization; reducing alcohol, cigarette, and drug abuse; and improving psychological health.

The accuracy of the results of these and other studies was strengthened through the use of sophisticated methods, including: statistically controlling for a broad range of demographic variables, such as population density, median years of education, age, etc.


3. Research on TM and HYPERTENSION

Q. Does Transcendental Meditation lower high blood pressure?

A. Yes. More than 30 million Americans suffer from high blood pressure, one of the most serious risk factors for heart disease. Sixteen studies have clearly demonstrated the positive effects of Transcendental Meditation on hypertension.

For example, a recent study was conducted on 128 inner-city, elderly African-Americans with hypertension. They were randomly assigned to either the Transcendental Meditation technique, progressive muscle relaxation, or a usual-care control group. All subjects followed the same diet and exercise regimen. After 3 months Transcendental Meditation produced an 11-point decrease in systolic blood pressure and a 6-point decrease in diastolic blood pressure, compared to untreated controls, and more than twice the reduction in blood pressure produced by progressive muscle relaxation. (Personality, Elevated Blood Pressure, and Essential Hypertension, Johnson, Gentry, and Julius (eds.). Hemisphere, Washington, D.C., 291-312, 1992.)


4. Research on TM and CHOLESTEROL

Q. Does Transcendental Meditation reduce cholesterol levels?

A. Yes. Cholesterol is also a major risk factor in heart disease. A longitudinal study showed that cholesterol levels significantly decreased through Transcendental Meditation in hypercholesterolemic patients, compared to matched controls, over an 11-month period. (Journal of Human Stress 5 (4): 24-27, 1979.)


5. Research on Reduced Health Care Costs

Q. Is there any evidence to show that Transcendental Meditation can lower health care costs?

A. Yes. Spiraling health care costs in the U.S. pose a dangerous threat to the health and financial well-being of individuals, institutions, and the government. The only permanent solution to the health care crisis is to make people healthier. Transcendental Meditation has been shown to be most effective in promoting health and reducing health care utilization and medical fees, compared to other wellness and health promotion programs.


6. Transcendental Meditation and AGING

Q. What effect does Transcendental Meditation have on aging?

A. Successful aging is the best indication of how effectively an individual handles the stresses of life. Transcendental Meditation has proven highly effective in promoting successful aging.


7. Research on TM and MENTAL HEALTH

Q. Has there been research on the effects of Transcendental Meditation on mental health?

A. Yes. Transcendental Meditation has been found to improve mental health by reducing biochemical indicators of stress, decreasing anxiety, and enhancing psychological development.


8. Research on TM in EDUCATION

Q. Is there research on the effects of Transcendental Meditation in the schools?

A. Yes. Over 30 years of experience in schools, colleges, and universities in the U.S. and around the world, and extensive scientific research, have shown that Transcendental Meditation improves basic learning skills, increases intelligence, improves grades, and improves moral reasoning in students.


9. Research on TM in BUSINESS

Q. What effect does Transcendental Meditation have in a business?

A. Transcendental Meditation has been used in hundreds of businesses in the U.S. and around the world. Research in several business settings has found Transcendental Meditation to be a highly effective corporate development program.


10. TM and TRAUMATIC STRESS SYNDROME

Q. Has research been done on the effects of Transcendental Meditation on traumatic stress?

A. Yes. In a Vietnam veterans center, 18 men suffering from severe and apparently intractable post-traumatic stress syndrome were randomly assigned to either the Transcendental Meditation technique or psychotherapy (multiple modalities). After 3 months of treatment, the counseling had no significant impact, but Transcendental Meditation reduced emotional numbness, alcohol abuse, insomnia, depression, anxiety, and severity of delayed stress syndrome. Veterans practicing Transcendental Meditation also showed significant improvement, compared to controls, in employment status. (Journal of Counseling and Development 64: 212-214, 1985.)


11. TM and SUBSTANCE ABUSE

Q. Has Transcendental Meditation been used to prevent and treat cigarette, drug, and alcohol abuse?

A. Yes. Cigarette smoking is the largest, non-genetic cause of death in the U.S. (400,000 people per year), and alcohol is the third largest cause of death (100,000 per year). Experts estimate that nearly 80% of crime is drug or alcohol related. Research has found Transcendental Meditation to be highly effective in both the treatment and prevention of substance abuse.


12. TM and CRIMINAL REHABILITATION

Q. Has Transcendental Meditation been used in prisons?

A. Yes, very successfully.

Currently, about 1.4 million Americans are behind bars, and experts agree that conventional approaches to rehabilitating prisoners have failed. In fact, nearly two-thirds of all inmates who are paroled return to prison within 3 years--often after committing further violent crimes. In the past 20 years, Transcendental Meditation has been taught to thousands of adult inmates in 18 U.S. correctional institutions and to hundreds of incarcerated juveniles in 8 U.S. facilities. It has also been used in prisons in 12 other countries. Research has found Transcendental Meditation to be very effective in rehabilitating offenders and reducing recidivism (the rate at which offenders return to prison).


13. Research on TM and QUALITY OF LIFE

Q. Is there evidence that people practicing Transcendental Meditation have a positive effect on society as a whole?

A. Yes. More than 40 studies have shown that group practice of Transcendental Meditation and the more advanced TM-Sidhi program reduces social stress, as indicated violence, crime, and international conflict in society and improves economic vitality and governmental efficiency. (For a discussion of the mechanics of this effect, please see Chapter 7, "Reducing Crime in Society and Creating World Peace.")

How did scientists measure this? To evaluate the potential impact of the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program on society, researchers assessed many variables, including crime rate, violent fatalities (homicides, suicides, and motor vehicle fatalities), armed conflict, economic indicators, and broad quality-of-life indices, which include the above variables as well as rates of notifable diseases, hospital admissions, infant mortality, divorce, cigarette and alcohol consumption, and GNP.

The results indicated that the effects for each of these variables, or for overall indices, consistently changed in the direction of improved quality of life when a sufficiently large group of people were practicing the ranscendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program in society.

The following are summaries of four studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

  1. Decreased crime rate in 24 U.S. cities: Twenty-four cities that reached 1% of their populations practicing the Transcendental Meditation program in 1972 were found to have significant reductions in crime trend during the 6-year experimental period from 1972-1977, compared to 24 control cities matched for total population, college population, and geographic region. Even when statistically controlling for specific demographic factors known to affect crime, such as median years of education, stability of residence, and pre-intervention crime rate, the crime trends in the 1% cities were still significantly lower. (Crime and Justice IV: 26-45, 1981.)

  2. Decreased crime rate in 160 U.S. cities: A study of a random sample of 160 U.S. cities found that increasing the numbers of Transcendental Meditation participants in the 160 cities over a 7-year period (1972-1978) was followed by reductions in crime rate. The study used data from the FBI Uniform Crime Index total and controlled for other variables known to affect crime. Causal analysis supported the hypothesis that Transcendental Meditation caused the reduction in crime. (Journal of Mind and Behavior 9: 457-486, 1989.)

  3. Decreased crime rate in Washington, D.C.: A study of weekly data from October 1981 through October 1983 found that increases in the size of a large group practicing the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program in Washington, D.C., were followed by significant reductions in violent crime. Weekly violent crime totals in Washington decreased 11.8% during the 2-year period. Time series analysis verified that this decrease in crime could not have been due to changes in the percentage of the population who were of young-adult age, nor Neighborhood Watch programs nor changes in police polices or procedures. (Journal of Mind and Behavior 9: 457-486, 1989.)

  4. Reduced armed conflict and improved quality of life in the Middle East: This study found that increases in the size of a group of individuals in Jerusalem practicing the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program had a statistically significant effect on improving the quality of life in Jerusalem (automobile accidents, fires, and crime) and the quality of life in Israel (crime, stock market, and national mood measured through news content analysis) and on reducing the war in Lebanon (war deaths of all factions and war intensity measured through news content analysis). The effects of holidays, temperature, weekends, and other forms of seasonality were explicitly controlled for and could not account for these results. As in many other studies, the pattern of results supported the hypothesis that the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program group caused the reduction in armed conflict and the improvement in the quality of life. (Journal of Conflict Resolution 32: 776-812, 1988; Journal of Conflict Resolution 34: 756-768, 1990.)

The accuracy of the results of these and other studies was strengthened through the use of sophisticated methods, including:

Moreover, the results of the studies assessing the effect of group practice of the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program on society are highly statistically significant. The probabilities that these positive effects could have been due to chance are very small.


14. TM community reduces crime in Fairfield, Iowa

THE HOME OF MAHARISHI INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY AND A LARGE NUMBER OF TM PRACTITIONERS

This was compiled from data reported in the Iowa Uniform Crime Report and the FBI Uniform Crime Report for the United States from 1976 to 1991, the period during which there have been over 1000 meditators in Fairfield, Iowa (pop. 9,648).


Violent Crime Rate in Fairfield Iowa Compared to Other Cities:

1990Fairfield, IowaOther Small Iowa TownsSmall U.S. Towns U.S. AverageLarge U.S. CitiesWashington D.C.

Crime Rate /100,0004122038873218132458
Fairfield Fraction-1/51/101/181/441/60
Fairfield Percentage-18.6%10.5%5.6%2.3%1.7%

Source:

  1. Iowa Uniform Crime Report,.1990. Iowa Department of Public Safety, Plans, Training, and Research Bureau. Wallace State Office Building, Des Moines, Iowa, 50319.

  2. FBI Uniform Crime Report 1990: Crime in the United State. U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation. U.S Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 20402.


15. TM Research Summary: Universities and Journals

In the past 36 years, over 1.7 million people have learned Transcendental Meditation in North America.

There have been over 500 research studies conducted on Transcendental Meditation at 210 independent universities and research institutions in 33 countries.

Universities where research on TM has been conducted:

Boston University
Cornell University
George Washington University
Harvard Medical School
Harvard University
Indiana University
Lawrence Livermore National University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Ohio State University
Pennsylvania State University
Princeton University
Perdue University
Stanford University
State University College of New York (at Brockport,
Buffalo and New Paltz)
University of Arkansas
University of California (at Berkeley, Irvine,
Los Angeles, San Diego and Santa Cruz)
University of Chicago
University of Colorado Medical Center
University of Florida
University of Georgia
University of Kansas
University of Maryland
University of Massachusetts
University of Michigan Medical School
University of Michigan
University of Minnesota
University of Oklahoma
University of Pittsburg
University of Southern California
University of Tennessee
University of Texas (at Austin and El Paso)
University of Virginia Medical Center
University of Washington
West Virginia University
Western Kentucky University
Western Washington State College
Xavier University
Yale Medical School

100 peer reviewed scientific journals in which the research results have been published:

Academy of Management Journal
Addictive Behaviors
AGE
American Journal of Physiology
American Journal of Psychiatry
American Psychologist
British Journal of Educational Psychology
British Journal of Psychology
Bulletin on Narcotics
Bulletin of the Society of Psychologists in Addictive Behaviors
Business and Health
Circulation
Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology
Clinical Research
College Student Journal
Criminal Justice and Behavior
Drug Forum
Education
Electroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology
Experimental Neurology
Hormones and Behavior
Hospital and Community Psychiatry
International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice
International Journal of Neuroscience
International Journal of the Addictions
Journal of Applied Physiology: Respiratory, Environmental and Exercise
Physiology
Journal of Biomedicine
Journal of Chronic Disease and Therapeutic Research
Journal of Clinical Psychiatry
Journal of Clinical Psychology
Journal of Conflict Resolution
Journal of Counseling and Development
Journal of Counseling Psychology
Journal of Creative Behavior
Journal of Crime and Justice
Journal of Criminal Justice
Journal of Human Stress
Journal of Humanistic Psychology
Journal of Inhalation Technology
Journal of Mind and Behavior
Journal of Moral Education
Journal of Neural Transmission
Journal of Personality and Individual Differences
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
Journal of Personality Assessment
Journal of Psychology
Journal of Psychosomatic Research
Journal of Social Behavior and Personality
Journal of the American Association of Nephrology Nurses and Technicians
Journal of the American Society of Psychosomatic Dentistry and Medicine
Journal of the Canadian Medical Association
Journal of the Israel Medical Association (Harefuah)
L'Encephale
Lancet
Medizinische Klinik
Memory and Cognition
Motivation
Motor and Sensory Processes of the Brain
Progress in Brain Research
Neuroendocrinology Letters
Perceptual and Motor Skills
Pflugers Archiv
The Physiologist
Physiology &s; Behavior
Psychologia--An International Journal of Psychology in the Orient
Psychological Reports
Psychopathometrie
Psychophysiology
Psychosomatic medicine
Psychotherapie-Psychosomatik Medizinische Psychologie
Respiration
Revue d'electroencephalographie et de neurophysiologie
clinique
Science
Scientific American
Sleep Research
Social Indicators Research
Social Science Perspectives Journal
Society for Neuroscience Abstracts
Tijdschrift voor Psychologie (Behavior: Journal of Psychology)
Transactions of the American Society for Neurochemistry
Ugeskrift for Loeger
Verhandlungen der Gesellschaft fur Okologie
Vestes: the Australian Universities' Review Western Psychologist
Zeitschrift fur Allgemeinmedizin
Zeitschrift fur Elektroenzephalographie und Elektromyographie
Zeitschrift fur Klinische Psychologie

An annotated bibliography of over 500 studies on TM conducted at these and other universities and research institutions can be obtained by writing to:

The reprint office can also send you the papers at cost of copying and postage.


16. Summer 1993 WASHINGTON DC Project

The following is a letter from Dr. John Hagelin, the project director of the experiment to reduce crime in DC through group practice of Transcendental Meditation. This letter was included with the press release to the press, media and government officials. (The text of the press release follows this letter):


October 5, 1994

Sir:

U.S. Congress just passed a $30.2 billion for an anti-crime package that few experts believe will make even the slightest dent in violent crime.

There is no hard evidence to suggest that more police, more prisons, or stiffer sentencing reduces crime. The so-called "get tough" approach to crime offers enormous public appeal and political mileage--but its costly, ineffective, and intensifies the climate of fear and tension in our cities.

Why have conventional crime fighting tactics failed? They miss the target. Crime fighting tactics must be aimed at the alarming levels of social stress in our cities, which explode into violence and crime.

Effective law enforcement demands a solution that will reduce built-up stress in society.

That solution already exists. Its effectiveness has been documented through 42 research studies, published in such leading, peer-reviewed scientific journals as Journal of Conflict Resolution, Social Indicators Research, Journal of Crime and Justice, and Journal of Mind and Behavior.

Last summer in Washington, D.C., government leaders and the world press saw this new approach in action. Nearly 4,000 people from 82 countries--experts in Maharishi's Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program--assembled in the nation's capital to participate in a highly public, $6 million scientific experiment to test the effects of group meditation in reducing social stress and crime.

After more than a year of rigorous analysis of the data, the results are in. Violent crime fell 18% in Washington during the experiment. An independent Project Review Board of scientists from leading U.S. universities has approved the research analysis and signed off on the findings (see enclosed news release).

How much longer will government ignore the obvious--that the old approaches do not work? And how much longer will it take before government uses an approach that does work?

The following materials provide a summary of the research findings, as well as comments from several members of the Project Review Board. If you would like more information, including a copy of the final report, please contact the Institute, 515-472-1200.

John S. Hagelin, Ph.D.


News Release

Comprehensive Report Released Violent Crime Decreased 18% in Washington, D.C. during Last Summers TM Demonstration Project 4,000 Transcendental Meditation Experts Reduce Urban Crime and Improve Government Achievements

(OCTOBER 6, Washington, D.C.) Last summer in Washington, D.C., 4,000 TM experts from 82 countries gathered for a $6 million "National Demonstration Project."

The demonstration was the worlds largest--and most public--scientific experiment to test the effects of group practice of Maharishi's Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program in reducing violent crime and social stress and improving the effectiveness of government.

The results are in: Violent crime decreased 18% in Washington, D.C., during the project, and the declining trend in public approval and confidence in the Clinton administration was reversed.

The findings--all highly statistically significant--are included in a comprehensive report released today by the Institute of Science, Technology and Public Policy at Maharishi International University. The research replicated findings of 41 previous studies on group TM practice.

According to Institute Director John S. Hagelin, Ph.D., the D.C. crime results are based on statistics received from the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department. Analysis of the results was carried out by the Institutes Research and Evaluation Division, and approved by an independent Project Review Board of scientists from such leading institutions as the University of Maryland, The University of Texas, Temple University, The University of Denver School of Law, the University of the District of Columbia, American University, and Howard University.

"Results Are Dramatic"

"The results of the analysis presented in this report are dramatic and support the major hypotheses lodged in advance of the Demonstration Project--that a group of experts in Maharishi's Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program relieves social stress and reverses negative social trends, including violent crime," Dr. Hagelin said.

"Design Was Rigorous"

John Davies, Ph.D., Research Coordinator for the Center of International Development and Conflict Management at the University of Maryland, is a member of the Project Review Board who evaluated the project. According to Dr. Davies, "The project design was rigorous, the analysis was conducted in a highly competent manner, and the results are impressive."

"Impact of Research Exceeds Any Other Social-Psychological Research Program"

David V. Edwards, Ph.D., Professor of Government, The University of Texas at Austin, is a member of the Project Review Board: "The claim can be made plausibly that the promised practical societal impact of this research significantly exceeds that of any other ongoing social-psychological research program. For this reason alone the research along with the theory that informs it deserves the most serious evaluative consideration by the social science community." Dr. Edwards does not practice Transcendental Meditation.

"Experiment Appears to Have Been Competently Undertaken"

According to Emanuel Ross of the Planning and Research Division at the D.C. Police Department, "The data on violent crime used in the experiment was provided by the Police Department. The experiment appears to have been competently undertaken, and to be a good faith effort on the part of the Institute of Science, Technology and Public Policy and the independent Project Review Board of scientists formed to oversee the project. "

Mr. Ross acknowledged that the Police Department is not in a position to comment on the results of the Demonstration Project, or to assess the statistical significance of the results. "For this, you would have to talk to members of the Project Review Board who are experts in time series analysis," he said.

"An Impressive, Statistically Significant Correlation"

Beverly Rubik, Ph.D., biophysicist and Director of the Center for Frontier Sciences at Temple University, is a member of the Project Review Board: "The data show an impressive, statistically significant correlation: a decrease in violent crime for the time period over which the group meditated. An impressive number of variables were considered in analyzing the data, and I am satisfied that the research team made a serious effort to examine the data in the light of numerous other possible influences."

"Promise for Assisting with Society's Problems"

Anne Hughes, Ph.D., Professor of Sociology and Government at the University of the District of Columbia, is a member of the Project Review Board and a non-meditator. According to Dr. Hughes, "the Demonstration Project in D.C. as well as the demonstrations elsewhere hold promise for assisting with society's problems."

Crime Decreased as the Group Size Increased

The Report was based on analysis of crime data called "Radio Runs." Radio Runs data for homicides, rapes, and assaults (HRA crimes) used in the analysis extended from January 1992 through August 30, 1993. The size of the coherence-creating group of experts participating in the Demonstration Project increased in three tiers from June 7 to July 30, 1993--from approximately 1,000 to 2,500 to 4,000.

"Time series methodology analyzed actual crime levels with the coherence-creating group, and also predicted crime levels without the group," Dr. Hagelin said. "By the end of the Demonstration Project, when the group was largest, actual crime decreased sharply below the predicted level without the coherence-creating group. This approximately 18% decrease was highly statistically significant."

Controlled for Variables Known to Influence Violent Crime

Dr. Hagelin said that the analysis controlled for variables known to influence violent crime and found that the drop in crime could not be attributed to temperature, precipitation, weekend effects, or trends in the data. In addition, a community-based 72-hour crime vigil and an increase in police surveillance in certain police districts could not account for the decrease in crime throughout the District of Columbia over the two-month project.

Marked Transformation in President Clintons Public Opinion Polls

Before the Demonstration Project, President Clintons popularity had declined to the lowest point ever recorded for a new president; news reports constantly underscored the disharmony among the president, Congress, and the media. As The Washington Post commented on June 5, 1993--two days before the experiment began, "Twenty weeks old, the Clinton presidency is setting records as the most mistake-prone in modern history."

However, time series analysis of 86 opinion polls on President Clinton from January 20, 1993 through December 19, 1993, showed a highly significant reversal of this trend during the Demonstration Project. "As predicted in advance, the experimental period witnessed a marked transformation in public approval for the government as measured by increasing support for the President in the polls," Dr. Hagelin said.

A Practical Tool to Reduce Violent Crime and Improve the Quality of Life

The Washington study is the 42 consecutive experiment demonstrating reduced violent crime and other positive social changes resulting from group practice of the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program.

"Each study has produced consistent, statistically significant results," Dr. Hagelin said. "This large body of research shows that governments now have a practical tool to reduce inner city crime and dramatically improve the quality of life for the whole population."


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Adapted from material by Gary Bremner.