The Impact of Stress on Health
Chronic stress has a damaging effect on the entire physiology, including the brain. It is associated with an increase in cortisol, known as ‘the stress hormone’, which increases blood pressure. As well, prolonged exposure to the stress hormone cortisol impairs memory function in the brain. During the TM practice cortisol is significantly reduced, which accounts for its effectiveness to decrease blood pressure.
The results of this groundbreaking research have been published in more than 100 articles in authoritative medical journals and proceedings, and featured in more than 1,000 television, radio, magazine, and newspaper reports, including ABC’s 20/20, CNN Headline News, Fox News, the New York Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, Wall Street Journal, and Time magazine.
- Reduced risk factors for hypertension, diabetes, and obesity
American Medical Association’s Archives of Internal Medicine
- Increased lifespan
American Journal of Cardiology
- Reduced blood pressure in comparison with other procedures
Ethnicity and Disease
- Reduced heart failure
Ethnicity and Disease
- Reduced use of hypertension medication
American Journal of Hypertension
- Improved brain response to stress and pain
- Reduced thickening of coronary arteries
American Heart Association’s Stroke
Benefits for Women
Greater Resilience to Stress
Research has found that TM practice has a truly holistic affect on health, with normalization of hormone levels, blood pressure and measurable improvements in diabetes, cholesterol, cardiovascular health and brain functioning. The body starts to maintain a more rested, calm and energetic style of functioning even outside of meditation, making us more resilient to stress.
Stanford University Study
The TM® technique was found to be twice as effective as other techniques for stress and anxiety. This study was a meta-analysis of 146 independent studies, and was published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology.
Women are diagnosed with depression about twice as often as men. Depression can increase the risk of a heart attack and development of coronary artery disease as well as play a factor in many other diseases, including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In addition, depression can lead to negative lifestyle habits, such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, lack of exercise, and poor diet.
The TM technique has been found to be a valuable tool to enhance psychological well-being, to decrease depression and anxiety, and reduce cigarette and alcohol use; and by improving overall health even prescribed drug use has been found to decrease.
More Orderly Brain Functioning
Women often feel that due to tiredness and stress they are not as clear, present, or creative as they would like to be. In addition, brain function can be inhibited by certain lifestyle factors, such as drug and alcohol use, poor diet, or crises in our lives—often contributing to depression and anxiety.
We all need orderly brains, whether we are running a business, or remembering our grocery list, or studying for a school exam. When our brain is more coherent and integrated, this is the basis for better performance—better memory, increased creativity, broader comprehension and sharper focus. The TM practice has been found to increase the orderly, coherent functioning of the brain.
Researchers have found that the experience of ‘transcending’ during TM resets the brain’s natural ground state—restoring neurological balance, inner silence, and clarity of mind, as well as improved memory, improved ability to plan and improved analytical thinking, increased creativity, improved interpersonal behavior, and overall enhanced emotional intelligence.
Individuals showed significantly increased EEG coherence during TM practice, in contrast to their own eyes-closed control condition before they learned TM. International Journal of Neuroscience
14: 147–151, 1981.
University students who learned TM showed increased broadband frontal EEG coherence and more efficient preparatory brain responses to stimuli during task performance. International Journal of Psychophysiology 71: 170–176, 2009.
K. T. So, Orme-Johnson D. W. “Three randomized experiments on the holistic longitudinal effects of the Transcendental Meditation technique on cognition.” Intelligence 29, no. 5 (2001): 419-440.
During the TM practice, when the mind and body experience very deep rest, the front part of the brain, the prefrontal cortex, is enlivened. This is the part of the brain that is responsible for activities such as decision-making and ability to focus. At the same time the different regions of the brain are found to function in a more coherent and integrated way. During the TM technique it has been found that the brain produces higher-power alpha waves, which correspond to the state of relaxed inner wakefulness and serenity. No other meditation technique has been found to consistently produce alpha coherence throughout the brain.
(Cognitive Processing, 11:1, 2010. Focused attention, open monitoring and automatic self-transcending: Categories of meditations.)
This video shows a live EEG demonstration of someone practicing TM (5:13)
Rapid and Significant Reductions in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Successful programs with women who are victims of domestic abuse, sexual assault in the military, and African refugees, have helped these women overcome the effects of traumatic stress and re-establish a positive state of physical, emotional, and social well-being within 30 days of learning the Transcendental Meditation technique.
- Reduced flashbacks and bad memories
(Military Medicine 176 (6):626-630, 2011)
- Greater resistance to stress
(Psychocomatic Medicine 35:342-349, 1973)
- Twice the effectiveness of conventional approaches for reducing alcoholism and substance abuse
(Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly 11:13-87, 1994)
- 42% decrease in insomnia
(Journal of Counseling and Development 64:212-215, 1985)
- Twice as effective as other relaxation techniques for decreasing trait anxiety
(Journal of Clinical Psychology 45(6):957-974, 1989)
- Improved quality of life
(Military Medicine 176 (6):626-630, 2011)
Younger Biological Age
Stress is a major factor in how we age—even in how we look. Research has shown that people practicing TM have a much younger biological age than their chronological age: long-term TM meditators are an average of 12 years younger than their non-meditating counterparts. The TM practice enhances all aspects of life to improve a physiological functioning, biochemistry, and psychology in a holistic way. Daily TM practice thus allows a woman to stay balanced and connected to her inner vibrancy. Meditating women so often radiate a meditative glow of natural inner and outer beauty.
Eighty-one disadvantaged women who are served by United Women’s Platform for Empowerment and Development (UWOPED) in Kampala, Uganda in the village of Nsambya, took part in a project to evaluate the benefits of their Transcendental Meditation practice. The TM technique has been offered to these women as a one of the training programs offered by UWOPED to help them improve their lives. This is what women had to say about their TM practice after one year of regular practice:
“Before TM I was getting angry so easily and fighting and acting any way that I felt in order to get relieved of anger; but now I’m more peaceful and have self-control and get along better with people.”
“Being a single mom, I had a lot of stress, because my child got sick a lot and I couldn’t take care of her or pay the house rent; and now that I have TM I am feeling better, less stressed, and started working selling mangoes and taking better care of my daughter.”
“Before TM I had a problem of a high temper, and could end up beating my kids and quarreling with others around me; and now I am changed and no longer like that.”
Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum: How the TM Program Benefits Heart Health (2:13)
Breakthrough for Heart Health
A recent report by the American Heart Association on the use of meditation practices to lower blood pressure, found the Transcendental Meditation technique to be the only practice recommended for clinical use to lower blood pressure. The report concluded with the following statement: