In a clinical research study with elderly African Americans (mean age 66) dwelling in an inner-city community, Transcendental Meditation was compared with the most widely used method of producing physiological relaxation.
Subjects who had moderately elevated blood pressure levels were randomly assigned Transcendental Meditation, Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR), or usual care.
Over a 3-month interval, systolic and diastolic blood pressure dropped by 10.6 and 5.9 mm Hg, respectively, in the Transcendental Meditation group, and 4.0 and 2.1. mm Hg in the PMR group, with virtually no change in the usual care group.
Similar study at Harvard finds same results
A second random assignment study with the elderly conducted at Harvard found similar blood pressure changes produced by Transcendental Meditation over 3 months (11 mm Hg for systolic blood pressure).
Research reference 1: “In search of an optimal behavioral treatment for hypertension: A review and focus on Transcendental Meditation”, chapter in Personality, Elevated Blood Pressure, and Essential Hypertension (Washington, D.C., Hemisphere Publishing, 1992).
Research reference 2: “Transcendental Meditation, mindfulness, and longevity: An experimental study with the elderly”, published by the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 57(6): 950-964, 1989.
Meta-analysis confirms effectiveness of TM
Research reference 3: JW Anderson et al. “Blood pressure response to Transcendental Meditation: a meta-analysis”, published by the American Journal of Hypertension 2008 21:310-316
A meta-analysis carried out by an independent team confirmed that the TM programme leads to clinically important reductions in blood pressure; this conclusion was robust when only the highest quality research was analyzed.
The authors conclude that sustained blood pressure changes of the magnitude produced by TM would be associated with substantially decreased risk of heart attack and stroke, the leading cause of mortality worldwide.
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