So, you just want to relax?
You're a reasonable person, right? As interesting as it all sounds,
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. You're not planning on spending up to four hours per day "releasing
stress" or spending any extended periods of time in special "meditation programs," 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
- Research shows that some people experience negative effects
from practicing TM -- even at just 20
minutes, twice a day.
- If someone encounters problems from
TM, the TM Organization provides no real help in resolving these issues. They don't
acknowledge that TM can produce negative effects (except to label them as "unstressing"), and therefore are
unprepared to help you resolve them.
- TM practice alters biochemistry.
) Some of those effects
are increased 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.
TM & Serotonin: Model of
- The TM Organization promotes increasing the basic TM practice of 20 minutes twice-a-day, by
selling "advanced techniques", the "TM-Sidhi Program", and "residence courses". Increased TM
practice has been reported to significantly escalate the experience of
detrimental effects. (See
If you were planning to use the TM technique as just a relaxation
technique, for the purpose of improving you overall health, then there are
other less risky methods of improving health. Dietary changes and
moderate exercise programs are proven methods of improving
overall health and increasing your experience of well being.
TM practice appears to fit a model of trance effects, with corresponding brain chemistry and
biochemical changes. This model appears to explain most, if not all,
of the most severe consequences of the practice, such as 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.
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