Maharishi Ayurveda is a multimodality approach to healthcare that treats the whole person. Our consciousness creates our physiology – one of the primary treatment modalities of Maharishi Ayurveda is the Transcendental Meditation Program, or TM as it is known. This program provides an easy, natural and systematic mental technique which allows the conscious mind to settle down effortlessly and transcend thinking. Here the mind experiences its simlpilest state of functioning, pure consciousness – a field of order, harmony, and intelligence, the flow of which sequentially expresses itself as our body. During TM the mind becomes clear and thinking more coherent, the body gains deep rest – up to twice as deep as sleep. This unique state of restful alertness during TM is profoundly effective at enlivening the body’s self-repair and homeostatic balancing mechanisms.
According to Ayurveda, a holistic approach to heart health requires you to nourish the emotional heart as well as the physical heart. The heart is not just a pump – it’s a source of all emotions, whether it’s joy and exhilaration or sadness and frustration. Mental and emotional stress can disrupt the emotional heart. TM reduces the effects of stress, normalises blood pressure, cholesterol and obesity, while improving decision making – it improves all the risk factors for heart disease.
The following 13 samples of research lay testiment to its practical value as a tool for creating perfect heart health.
1. Published in the American Heart Journal Nov 2012
Transcendental Meditation reduces heart disease by 48%
“Strongest Study Yet Shows Meditation Can Lower Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke.”—TIME Magazine.
This headline is based on a US National Institutes of Health-sponsored, 10-year clinical trial of Transcendental Meditation that was published this week (Nov 2012) by the American Heart Association. The results showed 48% lower rate of death, heart attack and stroke in heart-disease patients who practiced the TM programme for 5.4 years.
The AHA considered the article so groundbreaking that it issued its own new release to the press.
2. Transcendental Meditation (TM) reduces the major risk factors for heart disease including high blood pressure, smoking, high cholesterol, anxiety and depression. Australian Family Physician 2002. View full article (PDF Document).
3. A randomised controlled trial of 23 patients with end stage heart failure showed a significant improvement in both quality of life and functional capacity, as measured by a six minute walk test at both three and six months, in patients practising TM. Ethnicity & Diseas 2007; 17:72–77
4. Analysis of two randomised controlled trials of 202 hypertensive subjects, aged 55 or more, showed that all-cause mortality rate was reduced by 23% and cardiovascular mortality reduced by 30% after an average of 8 years practice of TM – with a trend to reduction in death from cancer (American Journal of Cardiology 2005; 95(9): 1060-4).
5. Patients with hypertensive heart disease who learned the Transcendental Meditation program did not show significantly elevated left ventricular mass after 7 months compared to health education controls who learned how to reduce their risk of hypertensive heart disease through proper diet and exercise. Reference: Ethnicity and Disease, 2004. 14: 52–54.
6. A multimodality MVHC (Maharishi Vedic Health Care) treatment program in the elderly significantly reverses carotid atherosclerosis (a measure of hardening of the arteries associated with both coronary heart disease and stroke). In this study 57 healthy seniors (mean age 74 years) were randomised to the 3 treatment groups: a MVHC group (diet, exercise, herbal food supplement and TM), a modern medicine group (conventional dietary, exercise, and multivitamin approaches) and usual care (no added intervention). The carotid artery lining thickness (IMT) was determined by ultrasound before and after 1 year of treatment. These results show that the multimodality MVHC approach reduces atherosclerosis in older subjects, particularly those with marked coronary heart disease risk. American Journal of Cardiology 2002; 89: 952–958.
7. In a study on hypertensive African Americans, 138 subjects were randomly assigned to either the TM program or a health-education group, and 60 subjects completed the study. The hypertensive subjects who learned the Transcendental Meditation program showed significantly reduced carotid artery-wall thickness after 9 months, a surrogate measure of reduced atherosclerotic plaque, compared to health-education controls who learned how to reduce their risk of heart disease through proper diet and exercise.This is the first time a stress reduction program alone has been shown to have this effect. Stroke 2000; 31: 568–573.
8. Transcendental Meditation practised for 3 months twice daily, significantly improved exercise tolerance, angina episodes, and quality of life in 9 women with chest pain and normal coronary angiograms (cardiac syndrome X) – a condition often associated with chronic sympathetic activation, anxiety, and depression, and resistant to conventional anti-anginal treatment. American Journal of Cardiology, 2000 Mar 1; 85(5): 653–5, A10.
9. A randomised controlled single blind study was conducted on 16 patients with chronic stable angina (chest pain on exertion) and documented coronary artery disease (on angiogram or history of myocardial infarction) over a period of 8 months. Half of the patients learnt Transcendental Meditation and the other half, who became the control group, were informed that they would learn TM after 8 months. The TM group was found to have 15% increase in exercise duration, 12% increase in maximal workload, 18% delay of onset of ST depression (ECG changes indicating restricted coronary artery blood flow) and reduction in double product (heart rate x systolic blood pressure) on exercise stress testing. All changes were highly significant for the TM group while the control group had no substantial change. American Journal of Cardiology 1996; 77: 867–870.
10. Analysis of health insurance data of participants in the multimodality MVHC (Maharishi Vedic Health Care) program over a 4 year period showed that hospital admissions were 11.4 times less for cardiovascular disease for the MVHC group compared to the control group (see “other chronic disorders” below). American Journal of Managed Care 1997; 3:135–144.
12.A study of 12 patients hospitalised with chronic congestive heart failure, unresponsive to conventional therapy, showed that the addition of the Ayurvedic herb terminalia arjuna over an average of 24 months improved left ventricular function (ejection fraction). At the start of the trial all patients were short of breath at rest or after minimal activity. After 2 weeks all patients could walk at least 200m at their usual pace. All surviving patients were back to work and reported a better quality of life. International Journal of Cardiology 1995; 49: 191–199.
13. Health insurance data of regular TM participants over a 5 year period found that, compared to members of the same age and profession, TM practitioners had 87% less hospitalisation for cardiovascular disease (heart disease) and strokes (see other chronic disorders below).Psychosomatic Medicine 1987; 49: 493–507.
1. In a meta-analysis examining the effect of all published randomized, controlled clinical trials on the effects of the Transcendental Meditation program on blood pressure, comprising nine studies with 711 subjects, the Transcendental Meditation program was found to have a statistically significant impact of reducing both systolic and diastolic blood pressure by 4.7 and 3.2 mm Hg, respectively. American Journal of Hypertension 2008; 21(3):310–316
2. A meta-analysis of 107 published studies on stress reduction and blood pressure found that only the Transcendental Meditation program had a statistically significant impact of reducing high blood pressure among hypertensive subjects. Reference: Current Hypertension Reports 9: 520–528, 2007.
3. A randomised controlled study of 100 African-American adolescents with high normal systolic blood pressure (50 in the TM group and 50 in the control group), using ambulatory 24 hour BP measures, showed that over a 4-month period the TM group had significantly reduced daytime systolic and diastolic BP compared to the control group. American Journal of Hypertension 2004; 17(4): 366–369.
4. A 4-month, randomised, controlled, study of 39 normotensive male subjects (randomly assigned to practise either the Transcendental Meditation technique or a cognitive-based stress-education control) showed that although there was no change in cardiovascular response to stressors between the TM and control groups, the subjects regularly practising TM had a significant reduction of 9 mm Hg (p < .04) in average ambulatory diastolic BP compared to controls. Since ambulatory BP monitoring has been shown to be a better predictor of cardiovascular complications of hypertension than clinic BP, this finding may have important implications for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease in normotensive subjects. International Journal of Neuroscience 1997; 89(1–2):15–28.
5. A 3-month, randomised, controlled, single blind study of 127 African Americans (>=55 years old) with mild to moderate hypertension compared the effects of the Transcendental Meditation technique with a life-style modification education control and with each other. It showed that TM significantly reduced BP by 11/7 mmHg and that TM was twice as effective as progressive muscular relaxation in reducing BP. Hypertension 1995; 26(5): 820–827.
This study was further analysed by sub-groups determined by gender and by high and low risk on six measures of hypertension risk: psychosocial stress, obesity, alcohol use, physical inactivity, dietary sodium-potassium ratio, and a composite measure. For the measure of psychosocial stress, the TM technique resulted in significant decline in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, which effect was more pronounced in the high-risk psychosocial stress sub-group, whereas for muscle relaxation, blood pressure dropped significantly only in the high risk sub-group and only for systolic pressure compared with control subjects. For each of the other five risk measures, TM subjects in both the high and low risk groups declined significantly in systolic and diastolic pressures compared with control subjects – which effect was significantly greater for the TM group when compared with the muscle relaxation group. Effects of stress reduction on blood pressure were found to generalise for both genders. Hypertension 1996; 28(2): 228–237.
1. Blood levels of lipid peroxide (oxidised fat which leads to hardening of the arteries, cancer and ageing) were 15% lower in 18 individuals who had practised TM for an average of 16 years compared to 23 controls of similar age who did not practise any formal stress- management technique but had similar rates of smoking, fat and vitamin intake. Psychosomatic Medicine 1998; 60: 38–41.
2. MA herbal compounds (MA 4 & 5) given to 10 patients, already on treatment for high cholesterol, rendered them resistant to oxidation of LDL cholesterol after 12–18 weeks (oxidised LDL cholesterol is thought to initiate atherosclerosis). American Journal of Medical Sciences 1997: 314 (5): 303–310.
3. A randomized controlled double-blind study of 61 patients with high cholesterol (31 in the experimental group and 30 in the control group) found that the Ayurvedic herb commiphora mukul (guggul) decreased cholesterol by 11.7%, LDL cholesterol by 12.5%, triglycerides by 12% and lipid peroxides by 33.3% over a 24-week period. There was no change in HDL cholesterol. Cardiovascular Drugs and Therapy 1994; 8: 659–664.
4. 30 healthy individuals followed 3 months after a course of Vedic Physiological Purification Program (panchakarma) were found to have 6% increase in HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol), 4% reduction in lipid peroxides and 80% increase in vasoactive intestinal peptide (a potent dilator of the coronary arteries). Journal of Research & Education in Indian Medicine 1993; 12(4): 2–13.
5. Cholesterol was reduced by 9% in 12 volunteers (<=50 years of age) with high cholesterol over an 11-month period after learning TM compared to a control group, without any change in diet.American Journal of Medical Sciences 1979; 5: 24–27.