Criticism of Transcendental Meditation: Overview

SKEPTICS: "Transcendental Meditation is not really scientifically validated."

• Over 350 research studies on TM published in peer-reviewed medical and scientific journals.
• All major findings replicated.
• Studies done at 250 independent institutions and medical schools worldwide.
• 50 randomized controlled trials.
• $26 million in National Institutes of Health/U.S. Government grants awarded over the past 20 years for scientists to continue researching the TM technique.
• Please see a review of the research here.

SKEPTICS: "The research was done only by 'TM' scientists.

360 scientists in 30 countries have conducted research on the TM technique.
• The vast majority were not affiliated with the TM program.
• Quality of research on TM praised by independent scientists

SKEPTICS: "The TM program is a for-profit business."

• It’s a non-profit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) educational organization.
• All course fees go to support teaching activities—including the subsidizing of meditation courses in inner cities, on Native American reservations, for impoverished students in developing nations, and programs for the homeless—all of whom can learn the TM technique free of charge.
• No individual or organization has ever made a lucrative profit from teaching the TM technique—there are no highly paid share holders, no kickbacks—only modest salaries paid to organization employees. All non-profit financial records are public access.
• For anyone wishing to learn who cannot afford the full tuition, the TM organization offers special reduced fees, grants, scholarships, work-study programs and other financial aid options.

"Practicing the TM technique is no different from just relaxing."

• Numerous physiological studies have confirmed a unique state of restful alertness not found during ordinary relaxation.
• Neuroscience shows unique brain patternsincreased alpha power and high EEG coherence in the brain's frontal cortex, as well as intra-hemispheric synchrony and integration of the frontal and occipital regions—distinguishing TM practice from ordinary relaxation and other meditations.
• A wide parameter of physiological markers shows relaxation much deeper than eyes-closed rest or other relaxation techniques.

SKEPTICS: "All meditation practices are the same and other techniques produce the same effects as TM.”

• The variety of meditation practices engage the mind in different ways, have various aims and produce different results.
• Neuroscientists have discovered that different meditation techniques produce markedly different effects on brain function.
• According to research studies, only the meditative state associated with TM practice has been found to consistently produce high levels of EEG alpha coherence throughout the brain—indicating growth of more efficient, integrated brain functioning and improved mental performance.
Comparative research studies and meta-analyses show that other meditation practices have not been found to produce the same effects as the TM technique for providing deep rest, reducing anxiety, lowering high blood pressure, promoting self-actualization and various other benefits.

SKEPTICS: "You shouldn't have to pay to learn meditation."

Learning the TM technique requires a 10-12-hour course taught by a professional, certified teacher.
• The TM course tuition pays for this non-profit, educational service.
• The TM program offers lifelong follow-up and support as needed at no further cost—consisting of one-on-one guidance and ongoing classes.
• Other meditation practices may cost less or nothing because they are not as time-intensive for the teacher—or require no teacher at all. The authentic TM technique can be properly learned only from a certified TM instructor, and cannot be learned from a book, CD, or other less formal methods.

SKEPTICS: "It's a religion disguised as a science."

• TM practice is secular and not faith-based—it's a technique for direct experience.
• There is no TM-related belief system or dogma that one is urged to accept when learning the TM technique—or anytime afterward.
• It's practiced by people of all religions and no religion.
• TM is scientific because every principle associated with the practice is verifiable by direct experience and scientific research.

SKEPTICS: "It's a form of Hinduism."

• The TM technique comes from the ancient Vedic tradition of India—a tradition that includes systematic, testable knowledge about consciousness, meditation, health and other areas.
• Just as yoga is practiced by people of all religions in a non-conflicting, secular context, TM practice is universal and non-religious.
• According to Vedic and Sanskrit scholars, mantras such as those used in TM practice are not "names of deities" as sometimes claimed by anti-meditation advocates. Even if certain people were to ascribe religious context to particular mantras, that would be irrelevant to TM practice, which uses specific mantras or sounds in an innocent, natural way devoid of meaning. In fact, that the mantras not be associated with meaning is fundamental to the effectiveness of the TM technique.
• Maharishi, known by many as a "scientist of consciousness," revived the TM technique, which had been long lost to society even in India, and established it as a secular, scientific practice free of religious trappings. He identified the universal, scientific elements of this technique—previously shrouded in mysticism—and demonstrated its unique, practical benefits for people of all cultures and religions.

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