Health Research

Transcendental Meditation can help Cancer

Transcendental Meditation can help cancer sufferers in several ways. Firstly, it can provide deep peace and subjective feelings of comfort. This is important for all of us but is critically valuable in someone coping with the implications of the disease and unpleasant therapeutic processes.

To support my assertion, Prof Sandy Nidich, a researcher at Maharishi University of Management, and his co-workers were able to demonstrate quality of life improvements in older breast cancer patients. He randomly assigned 130 breast cancer sufferers to standard care or standard care plus Transcendental Meditation.

Nidich found significant improvements in quality of life, social and emotional well-being and mental health in the TM group compared with controls.

In addition Transcendental Meditation has been observed to lead to overall improvement in health which reflects as fewer inpatients and outpatients visits.

David Orme Johnson, the most prolifically published researcher in this field found that medical care utilisation was dramatically reduced for TM practitioners. Admissions per 1000 were lower for the TM group than the norm for ALL of 17 major medical treatment categories, including benign and malignant tumors, heart disease, all infectious diseases, all mental disorders, and diseases of the nervous system. However, the TM group’s admission rates for childbirth were similar to the norm. He addresses the issue of self-selection his paper.

Here is an abstract of his study, followed by an abstract of the Nidich study:

Medical Care Utilization and the Transcendental Meditation Program

Psychosomatic Medicine, Vol 49, Issue 5 493-507, Copyright © 1987 by American Psychosomatic Society

D Orme-Johnson 
Department of Psychology, Maharishi International University, Fairfield, IA 52556.

This field study compared 5 years of medical insurance utilization statistics of approximately 2000 regular participants in the Transcendental Meditation (TM) program with a normative data base of approximately 600,000 members of the same insurance carrier. The benefits, deductible, coinsurance terms, and distribution by gender of the TM group were very similar to the norm, yet the TM group had lower medical utilization rates in all categories. Inpatient days per 1000 by age category were 50.2% fewer than the norm for children (0-18), 50.1% fewer for young adults (19-39), and 69.4% fewer for older adults (40+). Outpatient visits per 1000 for the same age categories were, respectively, 46.8%, 54.7%, and 73.7% fewer. When compared with five other health insurance groups of similar size and professional membership, the TM group had 53.3% fewer inpatient admissions per 1000 and 44.4% fewer outpatient visits per 1000. Admissions per 1000 were lower for the TM group than the norm for all of 17 major medical treatment categories, including -55.4% for benign and malignant tumors -87.3% for heart disease, -30.4% for all infectious diseases, -30.6% for all mental disorders, and -87.3% for diseases of the nervous system. However, the TM group’s admission rates for childbirth were similar to the norm. The issue of self-selection is addressed in terms of previous medical research in this area.

A Randomized Controlled Trial of the Effects of Transcendental Meditation on Quality of Life in Older Breast Cancer Patients

Sanford I. Nidich, Jeremy Z. Fields, Maxwell V. Rainforth, Rhoda Pomerantz, David Cella, Jean Kristeller, John W. Salerno and Robert H. Schneider

Integr Cancer Ther 2009; 8; 228

This single-blind, randomized controlled trial evaluated the impact of the Transcendental Meditation program plus standard care as compared with standard care alone on the quality of life (QOL) of older women (≥55 years) with stage II to IV breast cancer. One hundred and thirty women (mean age = 63.8) were randomly assigned to either experimental (n = 64) or control (n = 66) groups. Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy—Breast (FACT-B), Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy— Spiritual Well-Being (FACIT-SP), and Short-Form (SF)-36 mental health and vitality scales were administered every 6 months over an average 18-month intervention period. Significant improvements were found in the Transcendental Meditation group compared with controls in overall QOL, measured by the FACT-B total score (P = .037), emotional well-being (P = .046), and social well-being (P = .003) sub scales, and SF-36 mental health ( P = .017). Results indicate that the Transcendental Meditation technique improves the QOL of older breast cancer patients. It is recommended that this stress reduction program, with its ease of implementation and home practice, be adopted in public health programs.

Full study is a downloadable pdf here:

Read research carefully. Is it published by a reputable scientific journal? Was the study peer-reviewed? Who paid for the study? The two studies I present here meet all the criteria for good research. Taken together with all the other published research, the message is clearly  that Transcendental Meditation is a real blessing for better health. And has been specifically evaluated for help with breast cancer.

Base your choice of a meditation technique on hard scientific facts. The fact that half of Hollywood does TM should not influence your choice – but of course it will. The celebrities who practice TM have the resources to make informed decisions. Now you do too.

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