So, you just want
You're a reasonable person, right? As interesting as it might sound,
let's say that you're not taken in by promises of
supernormal powers. And you're also not tempted to add "advanced techniques"
or "yogic flying" (hopping on foam) to the original plan of sitting down
for 20 minutes,
twice a day -- spending instead up to four hours per day "releasing
stress." You also have no intention of paying for the opportunity to
spend hours a day in "meditation" on weekend or weeks-long "residence
courses," shown to have devastating effects on unsuspecting
Harmful Effects from TM.
No -- you just want a simple, no-frills method to relax. Isn't TM, then, a good idea?
Even under these circumstances, TM is not recommended for the following
TM & Serotonin: Model of
) Some of those effects
are the increase in serotonin; change in
secretion and release of several pituitary hormones "similar to the effects
of synthetic anxiolytic and tranquilizing agents such as benzodiazepines";
increased AVP secretion; loss of normal diurnal rhythm for the hormones ACTH
and beta-endorphin; and increased phenylalanine. Altering biochemistry has
both short-term and long-term consequences. Depending on the biochemical
make-up of the individual, these changes may be beneficial or detrimental. They could also be beneficial in the short-term, and detrimental in the long-term.
- Research shows that some people experience negative effects
from practicing TM, ranging from mild to severe -- even at just 20
minutes, twice a day. Why should someone
risk negative effects from a relaxation technique, when other techniques
are available, which don't demonstrate these negative effects?
- If someone encounters problems or negative consequences from
TM, the TM Organization provides no real help in resolving these. They don't
acknowledge the negative effects (except as "unstressing"), and are
not prepared to address or help you resolve them.
- Given the range of problems that have been demonstrated from TM
practice, it's possible that someone could be experiencing negative
effects, which they don't connect to their TM practice.
- TM practice alters biochemistry. (See
The TM Organization instruction and encouragement is to increase
the TM and advanced techniques practice - both in time spent daily
(TM-Sidhi Program and advanced techniques) and in time spent periodically
("residence courses" and "rounding"). Increased TM practice has been
reported to significantly escalate the
If you are going to treat the TM technique just as a relaxation
technique, for the purpose of improving overall health, then there are
other methods of improving health, which do not demonstrate the sometimes
devastating effects associated with TM practice. Specific dietary
changes and moderate exercise programs are proven methods of improving
We know that TM practice alters brain chemistry. We do not know
all the ways that TM practice affects biochemistry. We see that TM
practice appears to fit a model of trance effect, serotonin and
phenylalanine increases. This model appears to explain most, if not all,
of the most
severe consequences of the practice (muscle twitches and convulsions,
depersonalization, depression, nervous breakdown, etc.) It also appears
to explain some of the subjectively reported benefits: "going deep"
(trance experience) "feeling better" (serotonin increase) "increased
alertness" (phenylalanine increase).
No one can tell ahead of time just what kinds of effects will be
experienced in short-term TM and TM-Sidhi practice, or what might develop
from long-term practice. Given the reasonable and effective alternatives,
it certainly does not appear to be worth the significant risks.
Notes to text:
Harmful Effects from TM
Bensheim, Germany: (Institut fur Jugend Und Gesellschaft,
Ernst-Ludwig-Strasse 45, 6140.) Institute for Youth and Society, 1980