Maharishi Cardiology

The Guardian reports on a new study that apparently shows the benefits of Transcendental Meditation:

A new study shows that transcendental meditation, a relaxation technique developed by the Indian guru and made famous when the fab four dabbled with it in the late 60s, can reduce death rates by nearly a quarter.

Robert Schneider, who led the research, said: “The study found that in older people with mild high blood pressure, those practising transcendental meditation had a 23% lower risk of death from all causes.”

…The transcendental meditation group had 30% fewer deaths from heart disease and 49% fewer from cancer [than the control group].

“Although the sample [size] was relatively modest, these preliminary results suggest that an effective stress reducing intervention may decrease mortality,” researchers said.

Of course, one cannot judge how dramatic this difference is based purely on comparative percentages, but those who know a bit more about statistics than I might glean a bit more from the abstract here. The article appears in the American Journal of Cardiology, and is only the latest of many from Schneider, who heads the Centre for Natural Medicine and Prevention (CNMP) at the Maharishi University of Management in Iowa (e.g. see reports here and here). Despite many sites that take issue with the rather more extravagant claims of TM proponents (e.g. the effects of “yogic flying” on crime rates), I haven’t been able to find any articles that criticise his work.

The research was funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, which is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland. According to a US Medicine report from 2000, the NIH has been providing funds to the CNMP since 1988.