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Transcendental Meditation and Physical Health

Transcendental Meditation and Physical Health: 8 Ways to Revitalize Your Life

Last Updated : March 18, 2024
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Are you feeling overwhelmed by the constant stress of daily life and its toll on your body?

 You’re not alone. Many of us grapple with health concerns like hypertension, heart disease, and weight management, often with little relief. But what if the solution isn’t in a pill bottle, but in the quiet moments we give ourselves?

This article explores the eight amazing benefits of transcendental meditation and physical health and its profound connection to physical health.

Join us as we reveal how this simple practice can lead to significant changes in your blood pressure, heart health, and cholesterol levels, and assist in your weight loss journey.

Transcendental Meditation (TM)

Transcendental Meditation is a silent mantra meditation developed by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. It involves sitting comfortably with closed eyes and silently repeating a mantra—a specific sound or phrase given by a trained instructor. Many have found TM helpful for managing stress and improving emotional well-being.

David Lynch is a renowned filmmaker known for his unique and visionary work in movies like “Mulholland Drive” and the television series “Twin Peaks.” Beyond his cinematic achievements, Lynch is also a passionate advocate for Transcendental Meditation (TM). He credits this technique for not only enhancing his creativity and providing inner peace but also for its potential to improve the lives of people around the world.

In 2005, David Lynch established the David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace, dedicated to spreading the benefits of TM. The foundation focuses on teaching TM to at-risk populations, including inner-city students, veterans with PTSD, and women and children who have experienced domestic violence.

Through his foundation, Lynch aims to share the healing power of meditation and help individuals overcome stress and trauma, thereby contributing to a more peaceful and healthy society.

Key Aspects:

  • Technique: Simple, effortless, and practiced for 15–20 minutes twice a day.
  • Learning TM: One-on-one instruction from certified transcendental meditation teachers.

8 Health Benefits of TM

1. Reduced Stress: TM helps to calm the mind, leading to a reduction in stress levels. A quieter mind can improve overall emotional well-being and resilience.
2. Lower Blood Pressure: Practicing TM has been shown to lower blood pressure by inducing a state of relaxation. This can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.

3. Improved Heart Health: TM can contribute to a healthier heart by reducing strain and promoting relaxation. Regular practice is associated with better cardiovascular health and longevity.

4. Enhanced Immune System: By reducing stress, TM can strengthen the immune system’s response to pathogens. A stronger immune system means better defense against illnesses.

5. Better Sleep Quality: TM promotes deep relaxation, which can help improve the quality of sleep. Better sleep leads to improved energy levels and cognitive function.

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6. Increased Mental Clarity: TM allows the mind to settle down, which can lead to clearer thinking and better decision-making. A clear mind is essential for productivity and creativity.

7. Decreased Anxiety: Regular TM practice helps to alleviate anxiety by soothing the nervous system. Less anxiety contributes to a more balanced and fulfilling life.

8. Weight Loss Support: By reducing stress and promoting a balanced lifestyle, TM can be a supportive tool in managing weight. It helps by potentially reducing stress-related overeating and encouraging mindful eating habits.

Practitioners often report a unique state of restful alertness during meditation, leading to deeper levels of calm.

Research into TM’s effects has suggested multiple health benefits, though the importance of evidence-based reviews remains paramount. It’s essential to approach TM with a realistic expectation, viewing it as a complement to a healthy lifestyle.

Let’s discuss four main health benefits of transcendental meditation in depth in the next section.

Transcendental Meditation and Blood Pressure

Transcendental Meditation has been studied for its potential benefits in managing blood pressure. Research suggests TM may be a useful non-pharmacological approach for reducing blood pressure in certain individuals.

Transcendental Meditation and Blood Pressure

Causes for High Blood Pressure

  1. Unhealthy Lifestyle Choices: Lack of regular physical activity, a diet high in salt, and consumption of excessive alcohol can contribute to high blood pressure (CDC).
  2. Tobacco Use: Smoking or chewing tobacco immediately raises blood pressure temporarily, and the chemicals in tobacco can damage the lining of your artery walls (National Kidney Foundation).
  3. Being Overweight or Obese: Excess weight can cause the heart to work harder to pump blood, which can raise blood pressure (National Kidney Foundation).
  4. Genetics: A family history of high blood pressure can increase your risk.
  5. Age: The risk of high blood pressure increases as you age.
  6. Stress: High stress levels can lead to a temporary increase in blood pressure.

How do you feel when you have high blood pressure?

Individuals with high blood pressure may often experience no immediate symptoms, which is why hypertension is known as a “silent killer.” When symptoms do present, they might include:

  • Headaches: especially in the morning.
  • Fatigue or confusion: a general sense of weariness or disorientation.
  • Vision Problems: including blurriness or double vision.

How TM Helps for High Blood Pressure

Transcendental Meditation can lead to a state of deep relaxation and reduced stress, which may in turn help to lower blood pressure. Studies have indicated that TM can result in modest reductions in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, with particularly noticeable effects in older populations.

Techniques in TM appear to activate the body’s parasympathetic nervous system, which alleviates stress responses and may naturally help in reducing hypertension.

Here is the  TM’s impact on blood pressure extracted from scientific research. 

Scientific Study Key Findings
Effects of Transcendental Meditation on Blood Pressure: A Meta-analysis– TM improved systolic blood pressure by -3.3 mm Hg and diastolic by -1.8 mm Hg.
– Effects diminished after 3 months.
– Greater benefit for adults over 65 years old.
Blood Pressure Response to Transcendental Meditation: A Meta-analysis– Reductions in blood pressure: systolic by -4.7 mm Hg, diastolic by -3.2 mm Hg.
– Clinically meaningful changes, especially in hypertensive groups.
Investigating the effect of transcendental meditation on blood pressure: a systematic review and meta-analysis– Systolic blood pressure was reduced by -4.26 mm Hg, diastolic by -2.33 mm Hg in TM groups.
– Greater effect on older participants, those with higher initial BP, and women.
– More efficient in short-term intervention and higher BP levels.

Transcendental Meditation and Coronary Heart Disease

Transcendental Meditation has been found to help with coronary heart disease through various mechanisms that reduce stress and improve cardiovascular health. Studies suggest that the practice of TM can lead to reductions in blood pressure, one of the key risk factors for heart disease. 

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Transcendental Meditation and Coronary Heart Disease

Types of Coronary Heart Disease

Coronary heart disease manifests in several forms, each associated with the narrowing or blockage of coronary arteries. The main types include:

  • Angina pectoris: characterized by chest pain due to reduced blood flow.
  • Myocardial infarction (Heart Attack): the death of heart muscle from lack of blood supply.
  • Chronic stable angina: consistent chest discomfort that occurs with exertion.
  • Unstable angina: unpredictable and severe angina indicating an increased risk of a heart attack.

Causes for Coronary Heart Diseases

Key factors contributing to the development of coronary heart disease often include:

  • Unhealthy lifestyle choices: such as smoking, poor diet, and lack of exercise.
  • Medical conditions: including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
  • Genetic predisposition: a family history of heart disease can increase risk.

5 Symptoms of Coronary Heart Disease

Symptoms associated with coronary heart disease are diverse, some of the most common include:

  1. Chest pain or discomfort (angina)
  2. Shortness of breath
  3. Pain in the neck, jaw, throat, upper abdomen, or back
  4. Nausea
  5. Fatigue

How does TM help with coronary heart disease?

By eliciting a state of deep relaxation, TM may lower the body’s stress response, which in turn can reduce the strain on the heart and improve the function of the endothelium, the lining of the arteries. This relaxation response is also associated with decreased levels of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, which can have a beneficial effect on heart rate and blood pressure.

Furthermore, TM has been linked to improvements in the metabolic syndrome components, such as better blood sugar control and lipid profiles, which are important for preventing and managing CHD. The cumulative effect of these physiological changes can lead to a lower risk of heart attacks, strokes, and mortality in individuals with coronary heart disease.

Research indicates that practicing TM may lead to improvements in factors related to coronary heart disease:

Scientific Study Key Points
Transcendental Meditation in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease and pathophysiological mechanisms: An evidence-based review– TM may lower BP and reduce heart attack, stroke, and death in CVD patients.
– TM has a positive impact on risk factors for CVD including hypertension, psychosocial stress, and smoking.
– TM may be considered for both the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease.
– TM involves transcending mental activity to a state of silent wakefulness.
Stress Reduction in the Secondary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease– TM led to a 48% risk reduction in all-cause mortality, myocardial infarction, or stroke.
– TM was associated with a 24% risk reduction in cardiovascular mortality, revascularizations, and cardiovascular hospitalizations.
– Reductions in systolic blood pressure and anger expression were observed.
– Adherence to TM was associated with improved survival in coronary heart disease patients.

Transcendental Meditation and Cholesterol

Transcendental Meditation and Cholesterol

The practice of TM promotes deep relaxation and stress reduction, which may influence the body’s endocrine system and metabolism, leading to more favorable lipid profiles. Clinical trials and studies have indicated that regular TM practice can have a positive impact on cardiovascular health, including reductions in total cholesterol levels.

By possibly lowering stress hormones that can contribute to the synthesis of cholesterol in the liver, TM may help in managing cholesterol levels. While TM should not replace conventional treatments for high cholesterol, such as medication and lifestyle modifications, it can serve as a complementary approach to the holistic management of cholesterol and overall cardiovascular health.

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What Causes High Cholesterol?

High cholesterol can be caused by a variety of factors ranging from genetic predisposition to lifestyle choices. Poor diet, lack of physical activity, smoking, obesity, and consuming high amounts of saturated and trans fats often contribute to elevated cholesterol levels.

5 Signs of High Cholesterol

High cholesterol typically does not cause any symptoms. However, it can lead to conditions that may present signs such as:

  1. Chest pain: Caused by the narrowing of the coronary arteries.
  2. Shortness of breath: Due to reduced blood flow to the heart.
  3. Fatigue: A higher risk of heart failure can leave one feeling tired.
  4. Numbness or coldness: In extremities if blood flow is restricted.
  5. Stroke: A sudden neurological deficit from a blockage can be a warning.

How to Reduce Cholesterol Naturally?

To naturally reduce cholesterol, individuals may:

  • Consume a diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.
  • Include foods with omega-3 fatty acids like salmon and flaxseeds.
  • Engage in regular physical activity.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Avoid tobacco smoke and limit alcohol intake.

How TM Helps for Reducing Cholesterol?

Practicing Transcendental Meditation may lead to physiologic changes that benefit the cardiovascular system, including the potential to lower cholesterol levels. A research article suggests that Transcendental Meditation could lead to a drop in cholesterol, thereby impacting overall cardiovascular risk. This may be linked to TM’s stress-reducing effects, considering that stress has been implicated in the development of high cholesterol.

Transcendental Meditation and Weight Loss

Transcendental Meditation and Weight Loss

While TM is not specifically designed for weight loss, it can indirectly support weight management efforts. By reducing stress and promoting a state of calm, TM may help balance the body’s physiological processes, which can be beneficial for those looking to manage their weight.

Reduced stress levels can mitigate food cravings and emotional eating, which are common barriers to weight loss. Moreover, the practice of TM can enhance mindfulness and self-awareness, potentially leading to healthier lifestyle choices and improved dietary habits.

Therefore, while TM should not be viewed as a direct weight loss solution, it can be a valuable complement to a comprehensive weight management strategy that includes diet and exercise.

Obesity and Overweight

Obesity and overweight are conditions characterized by excessive fat accumulation that presents a health risk. The World Health Organization defines obesity and overweight as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that may impair health.

What is the cause of obesity?

The cause of obesity can be multifactorial, involving genetics, metabolism, behavior, environment, culture, and socio-economic status. Common factors include excessive calorie intake, lack of physical activity, hormonal imbalances, and certain medications.

How to reduce weight naturally?

To reduce weight naturally, a combination of strategies is typically advised. A balanced diet low in processed foods, regular physical activity, sufficient sleep, and stress management are critical components of weight management.

Can Transcendental Meditation help with weight loss?

Evidence suggests that Transcendental Meditation may assist in weight loss by reducing stress, which is often linked to emotional eating and weight gain. A systematic review has shown a correlation between TM practice and lower blood pressure, which can be an indicator of improved overall health that supports weight management efforts.

Additionally, regular TM practice could help inculcate mindfulness, which may lead to more mindful eating practices.

ABC News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jen Ashton shares her daily prescription for wellness.

FAQs on Transcendental Meditation and Physical Health

Transcendental Meditation (TM) may contribute to improved physical health outcomes, such as reduced blood pressure. This section addresses frequently asked questions about the physical health effects of Transcendental Meditation.

What is the best meditation for high blood pressure?

Transcendental Meditation has been consistently linked with lower blood pressure. Clinical studies suggest that regular TM practice may be as effective at lowering blood pressure as medication, offering a non-pharmaceutical approach to managing hypertension.

Does meditation affect physical health?

Meditation, particularly Transcendental Meditation, positively affects physical health. It is known to help reduce stress, which in turn may lower the risk of stress-related conditions such as heart disease and improve overall well-being.

What are the long-term effects of Transcendental Meditation?

Regular practice of Transcendental Meditation contributes to long-term health benefits. individuals often experience improved sleep patterns, enhanced pain management, and sustained decreases in blood pressure levels over time.

What happens physically when you meditate?

During meditation, one’s body typically enters a state of deep rest, evidenced by reduced heart rate and lower cortisol levels. This physiological response can promote healing and regeneration, making meditation a key tool for maintaining physical health.

How does the Transcendental Meditation technique work?

Transcendental Meditation works by allowing the mind to settle inward beyond thought to experience a natural state of silence and restfulness. An individual uses a specific mantra as a vehicle to enhance mental alertness while simultaneously achieving physical calmness.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, Transcendental Meditation (TM) has emerged as a valuable practice for enhancing physical health. By promoting deep relaxation and stress reduction, TM can positively affect a range of physiological functions, potentially lowering blood pressure, reducing the risk of cardiovascular events, and contributing to healthier cholesterol levels.

 While TM is not a substitute for medical treatment or a healthy lifestyle, it serves as a supportive technique that may complement traditional health interventions. The practice of TM offers a non-invasive, cost-effective approach to improving physical health and well-being, making it a worthwhile consideration for those seeking a holistic method to support their overall health journey.

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natalia miller

Natalia Miller

Content Writer

Learn about my passion for writing about mindfulness, relaxation, and spirituality. My hope is that by reading my content, you will be inspired to live a more peaceful and relaxed life.

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