A Research and Demonstration Project:

Effects of the Transcendental Meditation program
on Neurophysiology, Cognitive Development,
and Health in College Students

Stixrud

“Stress is a major problem. Not only does stress interfere with functions such as attention, memory, organization, and integration, but prolonged stress actually kills brain cells and shrinks the brain’s main memory structures…. I have been a big fan of using the Transcendental Meditation program in schools for many years, due in part to the program’s unparalleled ability to create the experience of ‘restful alertness.’ This unique state produces very high levels of coherence or orderliness in the functioning of the brain, which results in the experience of increased peacefulness, harmony, mental clarity, and the ability to see things in perspective.”  

William Stixrud, Ph.D., clinical neuropsychologist and director of William Stixrud and Associates in Silver Spring, Maryland, a group practice specializing in the neuropsychological assessment of children, adolescents, and adults with learning and/or emotional disorders; clinical supervisory faculty member at the Children’s National Medical Center; and appointee in the Department of Psychiatry, George Washington University School of Medicine.
Benn

 “If the Transcendental Meditation program has the capacity to facilitate students’ feeling better about themselves, it has huge implications for other areas of their lives. It may prevent mental health difficulties—and it may reduce the likelihood of the need for medication.”

Rita Benn, Ph.D., director of the Complementary and Alternative Medicine Center at the University of Michigan; lead investigator for research on Transcendental Meditation at the Nataki Talibah School in Detroit, Michigan; and presenter of TM research at the NIH International Center for Integration of Health and Spirituality in Bethesda, Maryland, in April 2003, and at the International Symposium for Complementary Health Care in London in November 2003.
Benn

“I’ve been in education for 40 years. I wish I knew when I started in 1963 what the Transcendental Meditation program could do to help students learn more easily and effectively. It’s amazing to see what a simple technique like TM can do to raise academic achievement and reduce the problems our students face.”

George H. Rutherford, Ph.D., former principal and chief operating officer of the Fletcher-Johnson Educational Center in Washington, D.C., for 30 years; currently principal of the Ideal Academy Public Charter School in D.C.; and responsible for introducing the Transcendental Meditation technique to hundreds of students and faculty.
Benn

 “Just as there are many kinds of medication, there are also many approaches that are termed ‘meditation.’ The vast majority of the research on meditation has been on Transcendental Meditation—and the findings clearly indicate that TM works better than other researched mental techniques to promote health. If research shows that a specific medication helps treat a disorder, it would be irresponsible and illogical to conclude that all medications help treat that disorder. In the same way, research on TM should not be generalized to include other techniques also called ‘meditation.’ We should intelligently choose what works and what is supported by research. Therefore, I strongly support the introduction specifically of Transcendental Meditation into our nation’s schools and health care systems.”

James Krag, M.D., Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association; president of the Virginia Association of Community Psychiatrists; and medical director of the Valley Community Services Board in Staunton, Virginia.
Benn

 “I am impressed by the recent research showing the effects of TM practice on hypertension—especially since the TM technique is so simple, natural, and effortless. If you have a technique that you practice 20 minutes twice a day, a technique that allows you to be dynamic in your activity and yet not to accumulate the stress that wreaks havoc on your health, then you have a key to better health.”

Gary P. Kaplan, M.D., Ph.D., neurologist and Associate Professor of Clinical Neurology at Hofstra University School of Medicine; and recipient of the Albert H. Douglas Award from the Medical Society of the State of New York for outstanding achievements as a clinical teacher interested in promoting and improving the medical education of physicians.
Benn

 “Students need more than facts in order to be effective citizens in today’s world. They need something that gives them the confidence to participate; the ability to learn and to respect one another; and the capacity to respect themselves and to live healthy lives. Transcendental Meditation is a way to develop students from the inside out.  

“Twenty-five years ago, when I first became aware of TM, I was impressed by the initial research on its benefits done at UCLA and Harvard Medical School. I also became aware back then of negative claims made by some individuals that TM was some kind of cult. I researched these claims and could not find a basis for them. I subsequently started the practice myself and, over the years, have found the personal benefits to be enormous.”

Ralph Wolff, J.D., executive director of the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), which accredits nearly 149 colleges and universities in California and throughout the Western region; former law faculty at the University of Dayton Law School; a founder of the Antioch School of Law, the first law school expressly designed to prepare lawyers to serve in public interest or poverty law positions; and former Dean of the Graduate School of Education at Antioch.

 “I’ve seen that my sons who practice the TM technique are calmer about approaching new situations, and that includes less anxiety about peer relations, and more willingness to go their own way, gently.”

—Rabbi Jonathan Magidovitch, B’Nai Torah synagogue, Highland Park, Illinois,

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