Transcendental Meditation has been taught to war veterans, child soldiers, rape victims, street children, prison inmates, prostitutes and drug addicts. Regular practise of Transcendental Meditation helps people under extreme stress turn their lives around.
The estimated ratio of benefits to programme cost by introducing a programme to instruct 1,000 inmates and 100 correctional officers in the TM technique is 10 to 1…Of the total savings 46% would be realised directly by the government, while the public would realise 54%. – David L Magill: The Enlightened Sentencing Project, St Louis Missouri
Transcendental Meditation in the Prisons of Senegal
In 1987, the president of Senegal, President Abdou Diouf, asked the prison administration to implement Transcendental Meditation for all prisoners, correctional officers, and prison administrators in Senegal. more
Thus, over a period of two years, eleven thousand prisoners and nine hundred officers received instruction. The results of this project indicate how successful Transcendental Meditation can be in improving outcomes.1 Instances of violence decreased markedly, and, following a yearly presidential amnesty, a recidivism rate of under 3% amongst the meditating prisoners who were released, was recorded.
Colonel Diop the Director of the Sengalese Prison System reflected:
One of the most surprising results of the project has been the enrichment of the inmates and staff’s spiritual life. Before the beginning of the project, some people were wondering whether the programme was in accord with the fundamentals of Islam, the main religion of our country. But it became clear very quickly that there was no conflict between Islam and Maharishi’s Transcendental Meditation. No one was asked to change his beliefs or to follow any moral code, and meditation altered in no way the prescribed prayer times. Also, a good number of prisoners spontaneously reported that since they had started Maharishi’s Transcendental Meditation, they felt a greater peace of mind, which improved the quality of their prayers. With this increased inner calm, they naturally felt inclined to do the five daily prayers as prescribed by our religion. These changes happened without any encouragement either from the Penitentiary Administration or from the teachers of MERU, since instruction into Maharishi’s Transcendental Meditation does not imply any moral or religious prescription.1,2
It’s simple — with too much stress, life cannot be enjoyed. Stress is also a health risk and contributes to a host of problems — anxiety, insomnia and fatigue.
What people experience
Millions of people have found the TM technique has a transforming effect:
- greatly reduced stress and anxiety
- clearer thinking
- better sleep
- brighter, more positive state of mind
Hundreds of published research studies verify these experiences. No other form of meditation has such a body of evidence supporting these benefits.
TM’s effect on cortisol — the stress hormone
A landmark study found the TM technique reduces a stress hormone called plasma cortisol. The study, published in Hormones and Behavior, shows that plasma cortisol decreased during Transcendental Meditation practice by 30%, whereas no significant change was seen in control subjects during ordinary relaxation. Reference: Adrenocortical activity during meditation, Hormones and Behavior 10(1): 54-60, 1978.
Stanford study on anxiety
Researchers at Stanford University conducted a meta-analysis of 146 independent studies on the effect of various meditation techniques on anxiety. The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, found that the TM technique is twice as effective at reducing anxiety than other techniques.
Studies showing the effect of Transcendental Meditation on stress and anxiety
Published 2000 to present
Barnes VA, Bauza LB, Treiber FA. Impact of stress reduction on negative school behavior in adolescents. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes 2003 1(1):10
Barnes VA, Treiber FA, Davis H. Impact of Transcendental Meditation on cardiovascular function at rest and during acute stress in adolescents with high normal blood pressure. Journal of Psychosomatic Research 2001 51(4):597-605
Barnes VA, Treiber FA, Johnson MH. Impact of stress reduction on ambulatory blood pressure in African American adolescents. American Journal of Hypertension 2004 17(4):366-369
Broome JR, Orme-Johnson D, Schmidt-Wilk J. Worksite stress reduction through the Transcendental Meditation program. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality 2005 17(1):235-276
Castillo-Richmond A, Schneider RH, Alexander CN, Cook R, Myers H, Nidich S, Haney C, Rainforth M, Salerno J. Effects of stress reduction on carotid atherosclerosis in hypertensive African Americans. Stroke 2000 31(3):568-573
Chhatre S, Metzger DS, Frank I, Boyer J, Thompson E, Nidich S, Montaner LJ, Jayadevappa R. Effects of behavioral stress reduction Transcendental Meditation intervention in persons with HIV. AIDS Care: Psychological and Socio-medical Aspects of AIDS/HIV 2013 25(10):1291-1297.
Elder C, Nidich S, Colbert R, Hagelin J, Grayshield L, Oviedo-Lim D, Nidich R, Rainforth M, Jones C, Gerace D. Reduced psychological distress in racial and ethnic minority students practicing the Transcendental Meditation Program. Journal of Instructional Psychology 2011 38(2):109-116
Elder C, Nidich S, Moriarty F, Nidich R. Effect of Transcendental Meditation on employee stress, depression, and burnout: a randomized controlled study. The Permanente Journal 2014 18(1):19-23.
Grosswald SJ, Stixrud WR, Travis F, Bateh MA. Use of the Transcendental Meditation technique to reduce symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) by reducing stress and anxiety: an exploratory study. Current Issues in Education [On-line] 2008 10(2).
Kondwani KA, Lollis CM. Is there a role for stress management in reducing hypertension in African Americans? Ethnicity and Disease 2001 11:788-792
Nidich S, Rainforth M, Haaga D, Hagelin J, Salerno J, Travis F, Tanner M, Gaylord-King C, Grosswald S, Schneider R. A randomized controlled trial on effects of the Transcendental Meditation program on blood pressure, psychological distress, and coping in young adults. American Journal of Hypertension 2009 22(12):1326-133
Orme-Johnson DW, Barnes VA. Effects of the Transcendental Meditation Technique on trait anxiety: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 2013 19:1-12
Rainforth MV, Schneider RH, Nidich SI, Gaylord-King C, Salerno JW, Anderson JW. Stress reduction programs in patients with elevated blood pressure: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Current Hypertension Reports 2007 9(6):520-528
Rees B, Travis F, Shapiro D, Chant R. Significant reductions in posttraumatic stress symptoms in Congolese refugees within 10 days of Transcendental Meditation practice. Journal of Traumatic Stress 2014 27(1):112-115
Rosenthal JZ, Grosswald S, Ross R, Rosenthal N. Effects of Transcendental Meditation in veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom with posttraumatic stress disorder: a pilot study. Military Medicine 2011 176(6):626–630
Schneider RH, Alexander CN, Salerno J, Rainforth M, Nidich S. Stress reduction in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease in high risk underserved populations: a review of controlled research on the Transcendental Meditation program. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality 2005 17(1):159-180
Schneider RH, Alexander CN, Staggers F, Orme-Johnson D, Rainforth M, Salerno J, Sheppard W, Castillo-Richmond A, Barnes VA, Nidich SI. A randomized controlled trial of stress reduction in African Americans treated for hypertension for over one year. American Journal of Hypertension 2005 18(1):88-98
Schneider RH, Alexander CN, Staggers F, Rainforth M, Salerno JW, Hartz A, Arndt S, Barnes VA, Nidich SI. Long-term effects of stress reduction on mortality in persons >/=55 years of age with systemic hypertension. American Journal of Cardiology 2005 95(9):1060-1064
Schneider RH, Grim CE, Rainforth MV, Kotchen T, Nidich SI, Gaylord-King C, Salerno JW, Kotchen JM, Alexander CN. Stress reduction in the secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease: randomized, controlled trial of Transcendental Meditation and health education in blacks. Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes 2012 5(6):750-758
Travis F, Haaga DA, Hagelin J, Tanner M, Nidich S, Gaylord-King C, Grosswald S, Rainforth M, Schneider RH. Effects of Transcendental Meditation practice on brain functioning and stress reactivity in college students. International Journal of Psychophysiology 2009 71(2):170-176
Walton KG, Cavanaugh KL, Pugh ND. Effect of group practice of the Transcendental Meditation program on biochemical indicators of stress in non-meditators: a prospective time series study. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality 2005 17(1):339-376
Walton KG, Schneider RH, Nidich SI, Salerno JW, Nordstrom CK, Merz CN. Psychosocial stress and cardiovascular disease. Part 2: effectiveness of the Transcendental Meditation program in treatment and prevention. Behavioral Medicine2002 28(3):106-123
Walton KG, Schneider RH, Salerno JW, Nidich SI. Psychosocial stress and cardiovascular disease. Part 3: clinical and policy implications of research on the Transcendental Meditation program. Behavioral Medicine 2005 30(4):173-183
Studies published before 2000
Alexander CN, Schneider RH, Staggers F, Sheppard W, Clayborne BM, Rainforth MV, Salerno J, Kondwani K, Smith S, Walton K, Egan B. Trial of stress reduction for hypertension in older African Americans: II. Sex and risk subgroup analysis. Hypertension 1996 28(2):228-237
Alexander CN, Swanson GC, Rainforth MV, Carlisle TW, Todd CC, Oates RM. Effects of the Transcendental Meditation program on stress reduction, health, and employee development: a prospective study in two occupational settings. Anxiety, Stress, and Coping 1993 6:245-262
Barnes VA, Schneider RH, Alexander CN, Staggers F. Stress, stress reduction, and hypertension in African Americans. Journal of the National Medical Association 1997 89(7):464-476
Calderon R, Schneider R, Alexander CN, Myers H, Nidich S, Haney C. Stress, stress reduction and hypercholesterolemia in African Americans and whites: a review. Ethnicity and Disease 1999 9:451-462
Dillbeck MC. The effect of the Transcendental Meditation technique on anxiety level. Journal of Clinical Psychology1977 33(4):1076-1078
Dillbeck MC. Transcendental Meditation alleviates stress. In J-M Etkins (ed.), The State of Corrections: Proceedings of American Correctional Association Annual Conferences, 1988 (pp.157-161). Laurel, Maryland: American Correctional Association, 1989
Eppley K, Abrams A, Shear J. Differential effects of relaxation techniques on trait anxiety: a meta-analysis. Journal of Clinical Psychology 1989 45(6):957-974
Gaylord C, Orme-Johnson D, Travis F. The effects of the Transcendental Meditation technique and progressive muscular relaxation on EEG coherence, stress reactivity, and mental health in black adults. International Journal of Neuroscience1989 46(1/2):77-86
Jevning R, Wilson AF, Smith WR. The Transcendental Meditation technique, adrenocortical activity, and implications for stress. Experientia 1978 34(5):618-619
Kanellakos DP. Transcendental consciousness: expanded awareness as a means of preventing and eliminating the effects of stress. In CD Speilberger, IG Sarason (eds), Stress and Anxiety, Volume 5 (pp.261-315). Washington DC: Hemisphere Publishing Corporation, 1978
Knight S. Use of Transcendental Meditation to relieve stress and promote health. British Journal of Nursing 1995 4(6):315-318
MacLean CR, Walton KG, Wenneberg SR, Levitsky DK, Mandarino JV, Waziri R, Hillis SL, Schneider RH. Effects of the Transcendental Meditation program on adaptive mechanisms: changes in hormone levels and responses to stress after four months of practice. Psychoneuroendocrinology 1997 22(4):277-295
Orme-Johnson DW, Walton KG. All approaches to preventing and reversing the effects of stress are not the same. American Journal of Health Promotion 1998 12(5):297-299
Schneider RH, Staggers F, Alexander CN, Sheppard W, Rainforth M, Kondwani K, Smith S, King CG. A randomized controlled trial of stress reduction for hypertension in older African Americans. Hypertension 1995 26(5):820-827
Shaw RM, Dettmar DM. Monitoring behavioural stress control using a craniomandibular index. Australian Dental Journal 1990 35(2):147–151
Sheppard DH, Staggers F, John L. The effects of a stress management program in a high security government agency. Anxiety, Stress and Coping 1997 10(4):341-350
Staggers Jr F, Alexander CN, Walton KG. Importance of reducing stress and strengthening the host in drug detoxification: the potential offered by Transcendental Meditation. Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly 1994 11(3/4):297-331
Walton KG, Pugh ND. Stress, steroids, and ‘Ojas’: neuroendocrine mechanisms and current promise of ancient approaches to disease prevention. Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology 1995 39(1):3-36
Walton KG, Pugh BS, Gelderloos P, Macrae P. Stress reduction and preventing hypertension: preliminary support for a psychoneuroendocrine mechanism. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 1995 1(3):263-283
- MERU is an acronym for Maharishi European Research University
- Anklesaria, F.K. & King, M.S. (2003). TM in the Senegalese Penitentiary System in Alexander C.N.et al (eds.) TM in Criminal Rehabilitation and Crime Prevention, New York: Haworth Press.
- Anklesaria TM in the Senegalese Penitentiary System, p. 315.