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.

Scientists at over 250 research institutions and universities, including Harvard, Yale, and UCLA Medical School, have conducted over 350 peer-reviewed research studies on the TM technique, finding practical benefits that are significant for all fields of life. These studies have been published in leading peer-reviewed scientific journals. Recognizing the value of the TM technique as a successful tool for stress reduction, the National Institute of Health in USA has provided over $24 million for research to study the health benefits of the practice.

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.

Current Hypertension Reports 9(6):520–528, 2007
American Journal of Physiology 235(1):R89–R92, 1978  
National Institutes of Health Funds $24 Million in Research
  • 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

American Psychologist 42(9):879–881, 1987


Psychosomatic Medicine 35(4):341–349, 1973


Greater Resilience to Stress

Whether caring for the concerns of family or pursuing a career, many women have a tendency to become overwhelmed by pressure and worries, leading to depression and chronic anxiety. The Transcendental Meditation technique significantly reduces anxiety by calming the nervous system and providing the experience of profound inner peace.

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.

Reduced Anxiety

“Anxiety in all its various forms will generally respond well to Transcendental Meditation. rosenthalEven in those people already receiving treatment for anxiety, adding TM to the mix often means that their drug levels can be lowered as their response improves.”
Norman Rosenthal, MD, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Georgetown University Medical School, author of “Transcendence”
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.


Reduced Depression

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.

Journal of Counseling and Development 64:212–215, 1985
Journal of Human Stress 5: 24-27,1979
Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly 11:13–87, 1994


Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly 11:13–87, 1994


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)

Human Physiology 25:171–180, 1999
International Journal of Neuroscience 13:211–217, 1981; 15:151–157, 1981; Scientific Research on Maharishi’s Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi Programme: Collected Papers, Volume 1:208–212, 1977; Volume 4:2245–2266, 1989

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.

Related key findings include:

  • 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)
Journal of Traumatic Stress 2014 (February) pp. 112-115


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.

Ugandan Women Report Reduced Stress

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:

International Journal of Neuroscience 16(1): 53–58, 1982
The American Journal of Managed Care 3: 135–144, 1997.


“Before TM I was unrested because of family responsibilities with my husband and children, but now life is much better. I am now rested and happy with my family, doing hairdressing training, and I want to have my own salon.”

“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 my health was not good because I was so stressed and not working, and would quarrel and fight with my husband; and now I am feeling better, no longer stressed, and I feel peaceful and happy because I have a good job and I’m working.”

“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:

“…the Transcendental Meditation technique is the one meditation practice that has been shown to lower blood pressure… all other meditation techniques, including MBSR (Mindfulness Bases Stress Reduction), received a ‘Class III, no benefit, Level of Evidence C’ recommendation and are not recommended in clinical practice to lower blood pressure at this time.”

The Transcendental Meditation technique is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider regarding any medical condition.
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