Effects of TM on Cardiovascular Disease

- A brief overview

Reduction of high blood pressure


A randomized controlled trial on hypertension published in 1995 and 1996 found that one component of Maharishi Vedic Medicine, the Transcendental Meditation technique was twice as effective as a relaxation technique (progressive muscular relaxation) in reducing blood pressure. Transcendental Meditation produced reductions in systolic and diastolic pressure comparable to those commonly found with antihypertensive medication, but without any side effects. A control group who received a ‘usual care’ program of advice on weight loss, salt restriction, exercise, and reduced alcohol intake showed no significant change in blood pressure. (Hypertension, 1995, 26: 820-827).

Note: A The National Institutes of Health has awarded major grants totaling about $17 million to examine the long-term effects of Transcendental Meditation in the prevention of cardiovascular disease.

Improvement in angina pectoris.

Research published in the American Journal of Cardiology examined the effect of the Transcendental Meditation technique on exercise induced myocardial ischemia in patients with documented ischemic heart disease (either by previous myocardial infarction or positive coronary angiography). Over an eight-month period, subjects who practiced Transcendental Meditation showed significant improvements in ischemic heart disease as measured by exercise stress testing, including improvements in exercise tolerance, maximum work load, and onset of ST depression (on ECG) compared to controls. The reductions in myocardial ischemia in coronary heart disease patients suggests improvements in coronary perfusion with Transcendental Meditation which may be due to regression of coronary atherosclerosis and/or enhancement of coronary artery vasomotion resulting in improved blood supply to the heart. Thus, along with improving/modifying the major risk factors for coronary heart disease (hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, psychological stress, and smoking), practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique appears to directly modify the ischemic process. (American Journal of Cardiology. 1996, 77:867-870).

Decreased cardiovascular mortality.

Three clinical trials of the Transcendental Meditation program showed about 50 percent lower cardiovascular mortality in people randomly assigned to the Transcendental Meditation group (Society of Behavioral Medicine Annual Meeting, March 3-6, 1999). In addtion, findings of 8-year and 15-year follow-ups on a randomized controlled trial showed that Transcendental Meditation program reduced incidence of all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality in the elderly (The American Heart Association journal, Circulation, February 1996). These data confirm the long-term benefits of the Transcendental Meditation program for prevention of coronary heart disease.

TM CAD effects in the News

American Heart Association, Aug. 5, 1996."People with High Blood Pressure may want to Medicate and Meditate"
Source: http://www.americanheart.org/Whats_News/AHA_News_Releases/964433.html

Reuters Health Information, May 20, 1996. "Transcendental Meditation Improves Exercise Tolerance in CAD Patients."
Source: http://www.tm.org/news/reuters.html

Clinician's Research Digest, Briefings in Behavioral Science, May 1990. "TM­A Superior Relaxation Technique for Trait Anxiety". Published by the American Psychological Association.

CNN, June 7, 2000. "Meditation apparently good for the heart as well as the mind"
Excerpt: "People whose blood pressure is just beginning to rise into the danger zone might be able to avoid going on medication by practicing TM. That's good news for people who can't tolerate side effects, like drowsiness, that come with some high blood pressure medication. "There is no downside..."

WebMD Medical News, March 2, 2000. "Transcendental Meditation Can Help Ward Off Stroke - Researchers Take Hard Look at Mind-Body Technique"
Excerpt: "Transcendental meditation (TM), an ancient stress-management technique, may decrease blood vessel blockage and help people avoid a heart attack or stroke. A study published in the March issue of the journal Stroke shows that TM decreased the thickness of blood vessel walls, a known risk factor for stroke and heart disease."

Related Press releases

Maharishi University of Managament (M.U.M.) "Stress reduction through the Transcendental Meditation program may reduce atherosclerosis and risk of heart attack and stroke." March 3, 2000.

Psychosomatic Medicine"Meditation relaxes vessels, reduces blood pressure." August 5, 1999.

M.U.M. "Transcending Heart Disease: Study Shows the TM Technique Lowers Lipid Peroxide Levels in Elderly.". January 29, 1998.

M.U.M. "Transcendental Meditation (TM) Technique Reduces Stress-Related Hormones." Autumn, 1995.

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Swedish Physicians for Transcendental Meditation (SPTM)