What Proponents Say About the Health Benefits of TM
The official Transcendental Meditation web site, TM.org, claims there have been more than 350 studies that confirm a wide array of benefits, including:
- Reduced blood pressure
- Less use of blood pressure medicine
- Reduced blood pressure in at-risk teens
- Reduced metabolic syndrome
- Reduced atherosclerosis
- Reversal of atherosclerosis
- Relaxation of blood vessels
- Improved quality of life for heart failure patients
- Enhanced longevity
What Independent Researchers Say About TM
According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) patients often use TM and other forms of meditation to promote overall wellness. They also use it to cope with health problems such as:
- Symptoms associated with chronic illnesses and their treatment
The NCCAM agrees that meditation brings about some changes in the body. However, the agency also says that more research is needed to learn how these changes occur and to identify diseases and conditions for which meditation might be useful. According to the NCCAM, meditation may work by:
- Improving the mind’s ability to pay attention
- Reducing activity in the sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for mobilizing the body for action
- Increasing activity in the parasympathetic nervous system, which slows the heart rate and breathing rate, improves blood flow, and increases the flow of digestive juices
Ongoing NCCAM-supported studies are looking at meditation for:
According to an independent panel convened by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), meditation is one of several relaxation techniques that may be a useful complementary therapy for treating chronic pain and sleeping problems such as insomnia. The American Cancer Society notes that some cancer treatment centers offer meditation and other relaxation techniques along with standard medical care.
Cautions About TM and Other Forms of Meditation
Most experts agree that meditation is safe for healthy people. They also agree that its positive effects outweigh any potential negative effects. But experts emphasize that meditation should not be used as a replacement for conventional medical care or as a reason to avoid seeing a doctor about a medical problem.
A few reports suggest that meditation can cause or worsen symptoms in people with certain psychiatric conditions or produce feelings of disorientation and anxiety. If you have an existing mental condition, consult your doctor before starting TM. Also inform your meditation instructor about your condition.