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  

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.

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


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

Additionally, the TM practice has been found to increase the orderly, coherent functioning of the brain. 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 parts of the brain, the different hemispheres, are found to function in a more coherent and integrated way. These changes in the brain are likely responsible for the improvements in memory, ability to plan, analytical thinking, creativity, and interpersonal behavior that are documented in studies of those regularly practicing TM.

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
Human Physiology 25:171–180, 1999

Live EEG Demo and Interview: TM Optimizes Brain Functioning (5:13 min)

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.

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


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.
Nepal Maharishi Vedic Foundation