Archive for the ‘Maharishi University’ Category

A 17-year landmark study @maharishiuni found group meditation decreased US national stress

December 25, 2022

World Journal of Social Science publishes study showing that group practice of the TM and TM-Sidhi techniques by √1% of a population decreased multiple stress indicators in the U.S.. Scientists call for a group to create world peace.

During a five-year demonstration period, a group of 1725 meditators practiced the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi techniques twice daily to create coherence in US collective consciousness. Murders, rapes, aggravated assaults, robberies, infant mortality, drug-related deaths, vehicle fatalities, and child deaths by injuries all decreased, by 6% to 21% compared to the seven previous years. When the size of the group decreased over the next five years, stress began to increase again on all indicators. (Summary for EurekAlert! Press Release.)

Every year during 2000 to 2006 there were tens of thousands of stress-related tragedies in the U.S.. Official statistics from the FBI and Centers for Disease Control indicate that there were 15,440 murders, 93,438 rapes, and 86,348 child and adolescent deaths from accidents each year to give a few examples. This current study, published in the World Journal of Social Science, is the longest and most comprehensive of 50 studies to demonstrate what has been named the Maharishi Effect, in honor of Transcendental Meditation (TM) and Maharishi International University (MIU) founder Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

The results can be seen in the chart below. The blue line indicates that during the Baseline period of 2000 to 2006 the size of the TM and TM-Sidhi group located at Maharishi International University in Fairfield, Iowa increased to reach the √1% of the U.S. population (1725 people) and stayed there for five years during the Demonstration period from 2007 to 2011. All stress indicators immediately started decreasing. In the Post period when the size of the group size began to decline the rate of decrease in stress slowed and then it reversed and began to increase.

Indicators of Stress in the United States

The size of the MIU TM and TM-Sidhi Group is indicated by the blue line, the eight indices of stress in the United States are represented by the lines in different colors, and the US stress index—the mean of all eight variables—is indicated by the red line. The figure shows a phase transition to a global reduction of negativity in the U.S. when the critical threshold of the √1% of the U.S. population was practicing the TM and TM-Sidhi program together in a group. When the Group size dropped significantly, the trend was reversed.

Lead author Dr. David Orme-Johnson said: “What is unique about this study is that the results are so visually striking and on such a large scale. We see reduced stress on multiple indicators at the predicted time for the entire United States over a five-year period. And when the size of the group declined, national stress began increasing again. Clearly, the group was causing the effect.”

“What is unique about this study is that the results are so visually striking and on such a large scale. We see reduced stress on multiple indicators at the predicted time for the entire United States over a five-year period. And when the size of the group declined, national stress began increasing again. Clearly, the group was causing the effect.”

Lead author Dr. David Orme-Johnson

Co-author Dr. Kenneth Cavanaugh commented: “This study used state-of-the-art methods of time series regression analysis for eliminating potential alternative explanations due to intrinsic pre-existing trends and fluctuations in the data. We carefully studied potential alternative explanations in terms of changes in economic conditions, political leadership, population demographics, and policing strategies. None of these factors could account for the results.”

The fact that all variables started decreasing only after the square root of one percent of the U.S. was reached indicates a phase transition. Like when water does not turn to ice until 32◦ F is reached, national stress did not start decreasing until the U.S. √1% transition threshold was achieved.

The fact that all variables started decreasing only after the square root of one percent of the U.S. was reached indicates a phase transition. Like when water does not turn to ice until 32◦ F is reached, national stress did not start decreasing until the U.S. √1% transition threshold was achieved.

The chart shows that in 2013 when the size of the TM and TM-Sidhi group quickly dropped all stress indicators abruptly increased. Apparently, the rapid drop in national coherence shook the nation.

The scientists used regression analysis to estimate how many deaths and events were reduced by the meditator group. For example, image 2 shows the red dotted line representing the Baseline trend projected into the Demonstration and Post periods. During the Demonstration period drug-related deaths (the black line) fell to 14% below their Baseline trend and were another 15 % lower during the Post period, for a total of 79,941 fewer drug deaths. The chart also shows that in the absence of the coherence creating group drug deaths eventually returned to their Baseline level.

Drug-Induced Deaths in the U.S.

IMAGE 2: The red dotted line is the number of Drug Deaths forecasted from the Baseline trend. The black line is the actual number of Drug Deaths. Similar analyses were conducted for all variables and the results are displayed in the Table.

TABLE: RESULTS OF REGRESSION ANALYSESThe first column shows the number of events per year during the Baseline period (Intercept). The second column shows the change per year during the Baseline (Slope). The third, fourth, fifth, and sixth columns show the thousands of events averted during the Demonstration, during the Post periods, the total events averted, and percent change, respectively. The last column shows the estimated total events averted by each individual participant in the MIU TM and TM-Sidhi group.

The unified field level of natural law

The finding that the effect was holistic, causing all variables to move up and down together, supports the theory expressed by both Maharishi from the Vedic perspective and by quantum physicist and MIU president Dr. John Hagelin from quantum field theory that the TM and TM-Sidhi groups are creating coherence in collective consciousness from the unified field level of natural law. This is big. It is evidence of the existence of the unified field from a completely different approach than using particle accelerators and detecting gravity waves.

This discovery of the unified field is more than just an intellectual knowledge. It is arguably the most immediately highly practical technological discovery in the history of science. The invention of the wheel mobilized humanity. The printing press, radio, the telephone, the internet, and satellites increased our ability to communicate with each other across vast distances and time. The discovery of DNA opened our minds to the subtle mechanics of natural law underlying the evolution and growth of all life forms. These are among the greatest scientific discoveries of all time. But what discovery can reduce human suffering as comprehensively as group meditation?

Relationship between individual and collective consciousness

The paper reviews the many concepts of collective consciousness as they have occurred throughout history in the sciences and humanities. None have practical applications as Maharishi’s does and none have been so empirically verified.

The paper discusses Maharishi’s theory, which holds that every individual automatically contributes to collective consciousness and reciprocally, collective consciousness influences every individual. This is universally true whatever the form of government—democracy, republic, monarchy, communism, or dictatorship.

It is essential for every individual to use evidence-based technologies to reduce their own stress and at the same time, the responsibility of every government to provide these technologies to everyone.

The paper summarizes the hundreds of studies showing that practice of TM increases coherence in the individual, as indicated by such measures as increased brain coherence, decreased anxiety, depression, and anger, increased creativity, increased IQ and emotional and social intelligence, and decreased PTSD symptoms, prison recidivism, drug and alcohol addictions, and sickness rates in all categories of disease. More coherent individuals form a more coherent society.

The Howard and Alice Settle Foundation

A grant for 75 million dollars from the Howard and Alice Settle Foundation provided stipends for participants to be in the group and provided funding to bring several hundred visiting TM-Sidhi experts from India to further augment the MIU group. Dr. Orme-Johnson commented: “This is a lot of money, but the savings from the 10% reduction in crimes would save over 200 billion dollars, not to mention all the other savings from reducing other sources of stress in the country.”

Scientists call for a group to create world peace

The paper concludes with a call to create a permanent √1% group for the whole world, 8,000 participants practicing the TM and TM-Sidhi program together in one place. And as an engineering safety factor, a √1% group on every continent is needed. The world is so interconnected, no one is safe until everyone is safe, all living in harmony. This is easily within reach of any government or the world’s wealthiest citizens. The person who does it will be remembered as the greatest leader in history.

IMAGE 3: GROUP MEDITATION AT MAHARISHI INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY. Since 1979 twice daily group meditations have been held at MIU in Fairfield, Iowa for the purpose of creating coherence in the U.S. and world collective consciousness.

. . . . .

JOURNAL: World Journal of Social Science. ARTICLE TITLE: Field-Effects of Consciousness: A Seventeen-Year Study of the Effects of Group Practice of the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi Programs on Reducing National Stress in the United States. PUBLISHED: Dec 14, 2022. DOI:10.5430/wjss.v9n2p1 METHOD OF RESEARCH: Data/statistical analysis. SUBJECT OF RESEARCH: People. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: The published article contains 5 Tables and 10 Figures (Graphs).

News coverage

Besides the regular science news coverage so far, one mainstream article stands out—an excellent report by Brooke Kato in the New York Post: Group meditation curbs stress, whether you do it or not: study.

Thrive Global invited Dr. Orme-Johnson to submit an article on his study. They published it Wed Jan 25, 2023: A Seventeen-Year Landmark Study Finds that Group Meditation Decreases U.S. National Stress.

Improvement in U.S. homicide trends linked to group practice of the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi programs, new study shows

October 4, 2022

This summer, co-author David W. Orme-Johnson sent out an introduction to the latest Maharishi Effect research study. The previous TM study published on this M.E. research was the fourth in a series at the time. That post also listed the previous three studies: Follow-up study suggests large advanced TM groups reduced murder rates in large US cities. This latest and fifth large-scale study looks at the total national homicide rates before, during, and after the experimental period. This is a new development, which further confirms the efficacy of this approach. What follows is Dr. Orme-Johnson’s synopsis.

The study found that during the years when the size of the coherence creating group at MIU practicing the Transcendental Meditation and TM Sidhi techniques reached the predicted national threshold of the square root of 1% of the US population (1725 people) that the rate of national homicides fell dramatically and that when the size of the group decreased once again to below threshold, that homicides turned around and started increasing again.

As there were no known alternative explanations for this phenomenon, because it was predicted in advance, and because it replicates dozens of previous studies, this study provides a powerful new layer of evidence that the group practice of this technology creates coherence in an underlying field of collective consciousness in which we all live and are connected.

Co-author Kenneth Cavanaugh offered some points about the paper.

Sections 1 and 2 of the paper contain a very readable and full discussion of Maharishi’s knowledge of collective consciousness. The final section (Section 6, Discussion) of the paper is also a very readable and nontechnical discussion of possible alternative explanations for the findings and the search for an explanation of the Maharishi Effect from the point of view of modern science.

The article was published in an open access journal with an Asian focus with the hope that its publication will help to increase support in India, Thailand, Nepal and other countries in that region for creation and expansion of large peace-creating groups there, as well as globally. So anyone can download a copy (or read it online) without charge and circulate it freely to others. The URL for this paper is https://doi.org/10.5430/sass.v8n1p1.

New Study Shows Improvement in U.S. Homicide Trends Linked to Group Practice of the Transcendental Meditation® and TM-Sidhi® Programs

A newly published, peer-reviewed study of a 15-year social experiment reports a highly significant 19.3% reduction in U.S. monthly homicide trend 2007-2011 when the average size of a large U.S. group practicing the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi programs exceeded a theoretically predicted critical threshold. This improved trend was significantly reversed during 2012-2016 after the size of the group declined substantially below the predicted size required to create a measurable reduction in national trends of violent crime: the square root of 1% of the U.S. population (1,725 participants).

When the average size of the group at Maharishi International University (MIU) in Fairfield, Iowa USA was above the predicted threshold during the 2007-2011 “experimental period,” an estimated 10,594 homicide fatalities were averted as a result of the decline in homicide trend relative to the baseline trend for 2002-2006. The probability that the reduced homicide trend could be attributed to chance variation was reported to be less than 1 in 10 billion (p < 1 x 10–10).

As predicted, this declining trend in homicide rates was then significantly reversed in the “post-experimental” period 2012–2016 when, due to reduced funding, the size of the MIU group fell below the critical threshold. During the first post-experimental subperiod 2012-2014, the steeply declining homicide trend leveled out, shifting to a flat trend. (See Figure 1 and Figure 2 below.) The probability that this predicted increase in trend (relative to the experimental-period) could be explained by chance was less than 1 part in a million (p < 1 x 10–6 ).

During the second post-experimental subperiod 2015-2016, homicide rates soared when the group size declined more steeply. The probability of observing this increase in trend relative to the experimental period trend was less than 1 in 100 billion billion (p < 1 x 10–20).

The authors conclude that the theoretically predicted decline and subsequent increase in homicide trend could not be plausibly explained by other factors such as changes in police staffing, policing strategies, incarceration rates, the proportion of U.S. youth age 18-25, seasonal factors including temperature, or economic factors such as unemployment rates and rates of inflation; nor were the results attributable to pre-existing trends or violation of statistical assumptions for the time series regression analysis.

The study was authored by MIU research professors Kenneth L. Cavanaugh, Michael C. Dillbeck, and David W. Orme-Johnson. The article entitled “Evaluation of a Field Theory of Consciousness and Social Change: Group Practice of Transcendental Meditation and Homicide Trends” was published in the July 2022 issue (Vol. 8(1), pp. 1-32) of the international journal Studies in Asian Social Science. A free PDF of the article can be viewed or downloaded at the journal website. The URL for the paper is https://doi.org/10.5430/sass.v8n1p1.

Dr. Cavanaugh remarked: “There are now 32 research articles published in independent, peer-reviewed scientific journals or in proceedings of scientific conferences that validate the effectiveness of this consciousness-based approach to reducing the stress and tensions in national consciousness that fuel the growth of violence, crime, and conflict in society. This evidence-based, cost-effective approach offers an urgently needed solution for reducing the upsurge of social violence and conflict afflicting the U.S. and many other countries globally.”

Figure 1. Monthly U.S. homicide rate per 100 million people (mean daily rate per month) 2002-2016 with seasonally adjusted, fitted trend segments from time series regression analysis.

Figure 2. Monthly rates of change for the U.S. homicide rate (trend slopes) for the four trend segments of the segmented-trend regression model: baseline period, experimental period, and two post-experimental subperiods. The p-values indicate a statistically significant decrease in slope from baseline trend to experimental-period trend (supporting Hypothesis 1) and significant increase in slope from experimental period to the slope for post-experimental trends 2012-2014 and 2015-2016 (supporting Hypothesis 2). The p-value for the difference between the experimental trend slope and that for the 2015-2016 trend is p < 1 x 10–20 (not shown in Figure 2).

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For further references, see Examples of Maharishi Effect Research.

Related: New book suggests how governments can use meditation to help defeat the virus of violence

Breakthrough in how buildings can promote health and well-being using Maharishi Vastu architectural design principles

May 31, 2022

Ancient architecture system as preventative medicine

Having understood the ill-effects of sick building syndrome and the need to better conserve energy by incorporating green features, architects are also utilizing certain elements of an architectural design system shown to reduce stress, improve sleep, promote physical and mental health, thereby improving the quality of life for its inhabitants.

Summary of findings on Maharishi Vastu architecture. Image credit: Maharishi International University

These findings appear in the first comprehensive review of 40 years of published studies on the benefits of Maharishi Vastu® architecture (MVA) published in the current issue of Global Advances in Health and Medicine (Vol. 11: 1–21): Managing the Built Environment for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention with Maharishi Vastu Architecture: A Review. Authors: Jon Lipman, AIA; Lee Fergusson, PhD; Anna Bonshek, PhD; Robert H. Schneider, MD, FACC. Access the Figures and Tables in the paper online.

MVA is a holistic wellness architectural system that aligns buildings with nature’s intelligence, creating balanced, orderly, and integrated living environments with the goal of improving occupants’ lives in several areas.

“We were surprised to find that something so ancient has so much to tell us about how buildings can improve our health and productivity,” said Jon Lipman, AIA, lead author and director of the Institute for Vedic Architecture at Maharishi International University.

Some of the key findings of the review include:

  • Sleeping with one’s head to the east or south is associated with positive health outcomes, such as lower heart rate, blood pressure, and serum cholesterol levels.
  • Homes with south entrances are associated with poorer mental health and more financial problems.
  • Facing east while working is associated with greater brain coherence and faster task completion.
  • Occupants of Maharishi Vastu architecture homes or office buildings show higher creativity and report improved health and quality of life.

Previous research on the impact of buildings focused primarily on assessing stress reduction and increasing comfort and well-being. The findings of this review reinforce the growing recognition that building design plays a key role in both causing and even potentially solving humanity’s health challenges. 

“Modern medicine now recognizes the powerful effects of the ‘envirome’ on health,” said study co-author, Robert Schneider, MD, FACC, and Dean of the College of Integrative Medicine at Maharishi International University. 

“The envirome,” he explained, “includes all the natural and man-made elements of our environment throughout the lifespan, notably the built environment. This review of the science suggests that buildings constructed according to principles of Maharishi Vastu architecture function as positive elements in the envirome to enhance mental and physical health and well-being. Further advances in neuroscience offer plausible physiological explanations for these effects.”

Maharishi Vastu architecture is the recent revival of an ancient architectural system from South Asia. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the founder of the Transcendental Meditation organization, systematically integrated over 20 principles into a uniquely comprehensive building system.

Some of the principles included in this system are:

  • The building’s main entrance is oriented to the east or north.
  • The building’s walls align with the cardinal directions.
  • The floor plan assigns key functions to specific locations within the building.
  • The floor plan enables occupants to face the most ideal directions during work and sleep.
  • The architectural plans must adhere to consistent and precise guidelines.
  • In keeping with the idea of providing a healthy environment, the system emphasizes non-toxic, natural materials, increased fresh air, and reduced electromagnetic radiation.

The results of the review suggests that Maharishi Vastu architecture offers a viable approach for using architectural design as a tool for promoting mental and physical health. 

Source: EurekAlert! | Journal: Global Advances in Health and Medicine | DOI: 10.1177/2164957X221077084 | SagePub: PDF

Some News Coverage

The EurekAlert press release was posted widely on science news sites around the world, starting with MedicalXpress, Bioengineer, todayuknews, Medicine World Council, and many others. PsychReg published: Breakthrough Revealed in How Buildings Can Promote Health and Well-Being. Inverse published an in-depth report: This radical architecture style could make future cities good for your health.

KABC in Los Angeles invited Maharishi Vastu architect and US director Jon Lipman on ABC7 Eyewitness News to talk about the recently published review of scientific research on MVA. It aired live Tuesday, May 10, 2022 in their 7:30 AM segment, Study: Home design can affect your health. Here is the 4:20 minute video.

Introduction to Maharishi Vastu architecture

Following news of this published paper, Jon Lipman posted Introduction to Maharishi Vastu architecture. This lively 20 minute video introduces viewers to the main elements of Maharishi Vastu, relates MVA homeowners’ experiences and gives some lovely examples of MVA homes around the world.

Transcendental Meditation effective in reducing veterans’ PTSD, sleep difficulties, depression and anxiety symptoms by 50% in 3 months: new study

March 22, 2021

News Release 18-Mar-2021 | EurekAlert! Summary & Press Release

Veterans with PTSD who practiced the Transcendental Meditation technique showed significant reductions in PTSD symptom severity, according to a new study published today in Journal of Traumatic Stress. Fifty percent of the meditating veterans no longer met criteria for PTSD after three months compared to only 10 percent of controls. The randomized controlled study also showed significant reductions in veterans’ symptoms of depression and anxiety, and sleep difficulties.

IMAGE
IMAGE: Fifty percent of veterans who practiced the Transcendental Meditation technique for three months no longer met criteria for PTSD compared to only 10 percent of controls. Meditating veterans also showed significant reductions in symptoms of depression and anxiety, and sleep difficulties. This figure shows the unadjusted mean change in PTSD symptoms, based on the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS), for the Transcendental Meditation group compared to the treatment-as-usual control group (all P values <.05) over the three-month intervention period. Credit: Maharishi International University Research Institute

Transcendental Meditation effective in reducing PTSD, sleep problems, depression symptoms

Veterans with PTSD who practiced the Transcendental Meditation technique showed significant reductions in PTSD symptom severity, according to a new study published today in Journal of Traumatic Stress. Fifty percent of the meditating veterans no longer met criteria for PTSD after three months compared to only 10 percent of controls. The randomized controlled study also showed significant reductions in veterans’ symptoms of depression and anxiety, and sleep difficulties.

“Transcendental Meditation is a non-trauma-focused, easy-to-learn technique that was found in this study to improve PTSD symptoms, likely through the experience of physical rest,” said Mayer Bellehsen, Ph.D., director of the Unified Behavioral Health Center for Military Veterans and their Families, Northwell Health, and study principal investigator. “In contrast to commonly administered therapies for PTSD that are trauma-focused and based on a patient’s recall of past traumatic experiences, this intervention does not require extensive review of traumatic history, which some individuals find difficult to engage in. This intervention may therefore be more tolerable for some individuals struggling with PTSD.”

The randomized controlled trial, conducted at Northwell Health in Bay Shore, New York, assigned 40 veterans with documented PTSD to either the Transcendental Meditation (TM) group or treatment as usual control group. The TM treatment provided 16 sessions over 12 weeks, with twice-a-day daily home practice. PTSD symptom severity was assessed with the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale for DSM-5 (CAPS-5), and patient self-report with the PTSD Checklist for DSM -5 (PCL-5).

The results showed large effect sizes, indicating a strong TM treatment impact in reducing trauma symptoms for both PTSD measures. Other factors associated with trauma, such as depression and anxiety symptoms and sleep problems, also showed a strong impact of TM treatment.

“This trial corroborates the findings of a large clinical trial published in The Lancet Psychiatry,” said Sanford Nidich, Ed.D., Director of the Center for Social-Emotional Health at Maharishi International University Research Institute, and study co-investigator. “The current study further supports the effectiveness of Transcendental Meditation as a first-line treatment for PTSD in veterans. The availability of an additional evidence-based therapy will benefit veterans, both by offering them a greater range of options and by serving as an alternative treatment strategy for those who don’t want to engage in trauma-focused treatment or who aren’t responding to a previous PTSD intervention.”

The authors point out in their research paper that TM may positively affect trauma symptom severity through the reduction of hyperarousal symptoms. Previous research has shown that TM practice decreases physiological responses to stressful stimuli. In addition, recent research indicates that TM may improve resilience and positive coping strategies, providing further benefit to both veterans and active military personnel.

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This study was supported by David Lynch Foundation. The article is titled, “A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial of Transcendental Meditation as Treatment for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Veterans.” Northwell Health, New York University, and Maharishi International University Research Institute collaborated on the trial. Preliminary results had been previously presented at the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies conference, November 2017 in Chicago, Illinois.

Source: EurekAlert!

Northwell Health posted their release on March 22, 2021: New study shows transcendental meditation effective for reducing veterans’ stress. The study, led by Mayer Bellehsen, PhD, showed that the technique resulted in significant reductions in symptom severity.

Many science and international news outlets posted the news, including this excellent report in Medical News Today (PDF). And Jim Dwyer MD produced and tweeted this 60-seconds MediBlurb: Transcendental Meditation for PTSD in Veterans, which airs on regional radio in Arizona.

Enjoy Jim Carrey’s wise advice to the MUM class of 2014 animated by After Skool’s Mark Wooding

January 27, 2021

A friend sent me this link on wimp: Jim Carrey’s wise words about chasing acceptance. This voiceover was taken from Jim’s inspiring speech at MUM Graduation in 2014. I had posted videos from that amazing day and some of the many news reports. Jim’s speech has been seen by around 15 million people and was selected twice as one of the top ten commencement addresses of 2014.

Mark Wooding, a San Francisco native, created this white board animation on After Skool using highlights from Jim’s speech: the NEED for Acceptance Will Make You INVISIBLE – Jim Carrey. Here’s part of his introduction to the video posted Oct 3, 2017.

Life does NOT happen to you, it happens FOR you. Many things in life are outside of our control, but the way we respond to events can shape our reality. Viewing challenges as opportunities, not misfortunes, will help you lead a productive, successful life. We all know Jim Carrey for his comedy, but he is now spreading joy through his inspiring words.

Mark wrote on his Patreon page: “My goal with After Skool is to enhance the most empowering ideas with my art. I animate the ideas that have impacted my life in a beneficial way, and hopefully by sharing them, they have helped you in some way.” Visit his website to see more of his amazing work: kRAMgallery.

Maharishi University of Management (MUM) was later changed back to Maharishi International University (MIU), its original name.

Fairfield, Iowa is one of the 25 coolest towns in America to visit in 2021 writes @MatadorNetwork

January 4, 2021

December 29, 2020 The Matador Team published a list of The 25 coolest towns in America to visit in 2021. Here is their opening paragraph.

2020 has been like a giant magnifying glass for our country, our cities, and ourselves. The devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic forced us to reevaluate our priorities and examine what it is about travel that makes us all love it so much — and miss it when that privilege is taken away from us. It’s not the perks of an airport lounge or the Instagram likes you get on a vacation selfie. It’s the people and the places where we can connect with each other — be it with our travel companions or complete strangers.

To read the rest of the introduction and discover these towns click here. Matador Network ranked our town of Fairfield, Iowa as number 3!

3. Fairfield, Iowa

Population: 10,216

Photo: Paul Delisle / Fairfield Convention and Visitors Bureau

Half Sedona vibes, half Asheville vibes, Fairfield, Iowa, is a hard-to-describe kind of place. For starters, out of cornfields and swaths of soybeans pops up the world’s largest training center for the Transcendental Meditation technique. Start-ups and small tech companies dot the 10,000-person town. The first Carnegie library outside of Pennsylvania stands two blocks from a vegetarian restaurant and a synagogue. You cannot categorize the Midwest, hard as the powers that be may try, and you certainly cannot categorize Fairfield.

The Maharishi International University — which explains the whole meditation bit — started drawing eclectic crowds here in the ‘70s; they traded Santa Barbara, California, for somewhere out of the way, even by Iowans’ standards, and the town’s eclectic fate was sealed. The crowds they drew, though, became the permanent kind; tourism isn’t a huge driver here, as showcased by the hotel offerings. That is, you may find yourself setting up shop at the Quality Inn. For now, at least. At this rate (it’s one of the fastest-growing spots in the state), the boutique hotels and retro lodges will come.

Don’t let that set your expectations, though. Today you have a bustling village that drools over both Casey’s pizza and Istanbul Grill; that designs its storefronts for sustainability (here’s to you, Chickadee); that grew a tech scene called “Silicorn Valley”; that alights with funky coffeehouses, art galleries, and cideries (cheers to Jefferson County Ciderworks); and that throws one hell of a First Friday. Realistically, there is not a quintessential Fairfield experience — the thing to do here is simply to shatter your own presuppositions. And then meditate on it.

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A few of the many media outlets that have visited Fairfield over the years to feature or rank us in their top lists are: US News and World Report, BuzzFeed, The Smithsonian, The Des Moines Register, The Iowan, William Shatner’s TV show Moving America Forward, and even Oprah, who brought her film crew to feature us in her Next Chapter on OWN.

#TranscendentalMeditation researcher Robert Schneider, M.D., FACC, featured in Thrive Global

January 30, 2020

Based on Dr. Schneider’s recently published TM and heart health studies, which we publicized via EurekAlert!, Thrive Global reached out to us a few weeks ago inviting Dr. Schneider to submit an article on his work. It was published last week, January 24, 2020, in their Wisdom section. I added hyperlinks here to some of the studies mentioned in the article.

Manage Your Mind to Manage Your Heart: Why Transcendental Meditation is Vital for Heart Health

Research studies show regular TM practice reduces risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

By Robert Schneider, M.D., FACC, Dean, College of Integrative Medicine, Maharishi International University

Students at Maharishi International University practice the effortless technique of Transcendental Meditation twice a day on campus.
Students at Maharishi International University practice the effortless technique of Transcendental Meditation twice a day.

My colleagues and I have long been concerned about the high rates of cardiovascular disease in the US that have spread throughout the world. Despite advances in modern medicine, heart attacks and strokes are the leading cause of death globally. One of the reasons for these high rates is the epidemic of stress in modern society. Early in my career, I studied the connection between psychological stress and high blood pressure and heart disease. This was a negative effect of the mind-body connection. About 30 years ago, I decided to investigate how the mind-body-heart connection could be positively managed with effective stress reduction, particularly the Transcendental Meditation® technique.

During that time, we and our colleagues at major academic medical centers in the US, such as Columbia University Medical Center, Medical College of Wisconsin, Cedars Sinai Medical Center and Charles Drew University, received funding from the National Institutes of Health and foundations to study effects of mind-body intervention with Transcendental Meditation in high-risk groups, like African Americans with high blood pressure or established heart disease. The results of this series of well-controlled studies, known as randomized controlled trials, showed that practice of Transcendental Meditation lowered high blood pressure, reduced insulin resistance (aka metabolic syndrome*), reduced atherosclerosis, and prevented abnormal enlargement of the heart (called left ventricular hypertrophy) in one of most recent studies. Some of our published pilot studies suggested improvements in blood flow to the heart and benefits to patients with heart failure.

A landmark study that brought all these findings together followed 200 patients with known heart disease over an average of five years. Half practiced Transcendental Meditation and half attended a class about cardiovascular factors. All participants continued their usual medicines and medical care. At the end of the study, the results showed that the meditating participants had a 48% lower rate of death, heart attack and stroke compared to controls. We believe that this remarkable result was due to redacted risk factors such as high blood pressure, psychological stress, and possibly cardiac enlargement. The results of reduced mortality in long-term TM practitioners were replicated in a separate study of older participants with high blood pressure.  All of these studies have been published in peer-reviewed medical journals, many in top ones like the American Heart Association and American Medical Association.

Based on these findings an American Heart Association scientific statement acknowledged these scientific studies and recommended that Transcendental Meditation be considered in the treatment of all patients with high blood pressure. And that’s a lot of people — according to the most recent guidelines, nearly half of all adults in the US.  The research is continuing, but I would say that if you’re at risk for heart disease — and that’s most men and women — consider managing your mind and body with Transcendental Meditation®. It’s easy to learn and practice, has extensive scientific evidence, and has other positive “benefits” for mental and physical health. It could save your life. For more information, visit https://www.tm.org.

*Video of Dr. Oz presenting TM research at DLF event.

(Click on Page 2 for a photo and Bio of Dr. Schneider.)

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@ladygaga & @Oprah discover they both learned #TranscendentalMeditation from @meditationbob

January 18, 2020

Two weeks ago I was watching this interview between Oprah and Lady Gaga during the launch of Oprah’s 2020 Vision Your Live in Focus Tour in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

Lady Gaga Talks Mental Health at Oprah’s 2020 Vision Tour. Lady Gaga shares a lot of her personal history and mental health situation with Oprah. She’s been living with a great deal of pain from fibromyalgia, explains where it came from, and how she is medically and psychologically dealing with it.

Oprah then asks her about the other things she does to keep herself spiritually sound and centered. Lady Gaga answers, “I meditate. I do Transcendental Meditation. It’s great. Bob Roth taught me.” Oprah says, “Bob Roth taught me.” Lady Gaga whispers to Oprah, “Isn’t he great?” Oprah agrees, “He’s great.” Gaga explains when she misses a meditation, “when I slip up on it, you know it’s not the best, because it’s better when I do. And sometimes I can be in a ton of pain, and meditate and it goes away! It’s amazing!”

Some of us had known that Lady Gaga, born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, had learned Transcendental Meditation, but it was private. This seems to be the first time she’s come out about it publicly, to Oprah and her audience, and how TM’s been helping her.

After the interview, Oprah went backstage to personally thank Lady Gaga for her bravery, honesty and vulnerability, and how great their talk was. It’s on Oprah’s Instagram page.

I was so surprised by this public revelation that I sent it out to my newsletter subscribers and told Bob Roth @meditationbob, DLF CEO, about it. He hadn’t heard about it yet and was also pleasantly surprised.

Within a short time the David Lynch Foundation tweeted it and posted it on their and Bob‘s Instagram accounts. The video clip was also recently posted on Twitter by Maharishi International University @maharishiuni. By now, this video clip has gone viral globally, so I figured I might as well post it on my blog. Enjoy!

CBS This Morning’s David Begnaud reported on the Behind the Scenes with Oprah: Oprah kicks off wellness tour in Florida with Lady Gaga.

On January 7, 2020, CNBC published: Oprah, Ray Dalio and Lady Gaga swear by this simple meditation technique.

See Ray Dalio’s Principle of the Day: Meditate.

Dec 15, 2022: Steven Spielberg tells Martin Scorsese that he learned TM 3 years ago, and how he got David Lynch to be in his new film, The Fabelmans. Bob Roth taught TM to the Spielbergs and Scorseses.

New study shows Transcendental Meditation prevents abnormal enlargement of the heart, reduces chronic heart failure risk

December 26, 2019

A randomized controlled study recently published in the Hypertension issue of Ethnicity & Disease found the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique helps prevent abnormal enlargement of the heart compared to health education (HE) controls. Also known as left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH), it can lead to chronic heart failure and death. It is twice as prevalent among African Americans. LVH and CVD death rates are double in African Americans compared to whites, possibly due to psychosocial stress. EurekAlert! Press Release

Changes in Left Ventricle Mass Index (LVMI) between the TM and HE Groups after 6 Months

After six months, the control group showed nearly 10% progression of abnormal heart enlargement (LVMI) while the TM group maintained their baseline level of heart size.

Transcendental Meditation prevents abnormal enlargement of the heart, reduces chronic heart failure risk

A randomized controlled study recently published in Ethnicity & Disease in their Autumn 2019 Hypertension issue found that the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique helps to prevent abnormal enlargement of the heart compared to health education (HE) controls. Also known as left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH), it can lead to chronic heart failure and death, and is especially prevalent among African Americans.

Risk factor for cardiovascular disease

Despite advances in medical care, cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in the USA. Abnormal enlargement of heart, medically known as left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH), is an important risk factor for CVD. It doubles the risk of heart attacks, arrhythmias, stroke, heart failure, and death from CVD.

Heart disease death rates are significantly higher in African Americans than in whites, in part because the rate of LVH is double in African Americans compared to whites.

The disproportionately high rates are suggested to be associated with the burden of psychosocial stress.

A recent scientific statement from the American Heart Association emphasized the potential for stress-reduction methods to prevent heart disease and premature mortality in African Americans.

Prevented further heart enlargement

The trial included 85 African Americans with high blood pressure who were randomly assigned to Transcendental Meditation or to a health education (HE) control group, in addition to usual medical care.

This trial tested the effects of stress-reducing meditation to prevent LVH in this high-risk population. It found that stress reduction with TM practice prevented heart enlargement in hypertensive African American patients.

After six months, the control group showed nearly 10% progression of abnormal heart enlargement while the TM group maintained their baseline level of heart size.

The findings of this study suggest that TM practice is an effective nondrug method for preventing heart enlargement in African American hypertensives who are especially at high risk of developing associated CVD.

“This is a form of heart disease where nondrug treatments are relatively understudied,” said Professor Robert Schneider, MD, FACC, first author. “Since the physiology of stress contributes to cardiac enlargement, we hypothesized that managing one’s mind-body connection with Transcendental Meditation might prevent the disease process.”

Use of echocardiography to detect hypertrophy

Echocardiography is a noninvasive diagnostic test that uses ultrasound waves to create an image of the heart muscle. Ultrasound waves that rebound or echo off the heart can show the size, shape, and movement of the heart’s valves and chambers as well as the flow of blood through the heart. It can therefore be used to detect heart chamber or wall enlargement known as hypertrophy.

Echocardiography was issued at the start of the study to both TM and HE groups. After six months of practice, repeat testing with echocardiography found that the HE control group progressed on cardiac enlargement while the TM group prevented further enlargement. There was a significant change in left ventricle mass index (LVMI) between the groups after the six-month intervention.

11% reduced risk of cardiovascular mortality

Komal Marwaha, M.D., Ph.D., coauthor of the study and an associate professor in the Department of Physiology and Health at MIU, Maharishi International University (formerly Maharishi University of Management) worked on this research as part of her doctoral thesis.

“By preventing left ventricle mass index progression in the present study, TM may reduce the likelihood of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality associated with LVH,” she said. “Patients randomized to practicing the TM technique in the current study had an estimated 11 percent reduced risk of cardiovascular mortality and an 8 percent reduced risk of all-cause mortality compared with the control group.”

Dr. Schneider, dean of MIU’s College of Integrative Medicine, said these reductions are significant. “These results suggest that an effective technique for stress reduction may prevent the progression of left ventricular hypertrophy and thereby help to prevent premature heart disease and cardiac mortality.”

Keith Norris, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine at UCLA, and one of the study’s co-authors, added: “We hope these findings will lead to more investigations into nondrug interventions for the prevention and early intervention of heart disease that are sorely needed given the high cost of health care in our nation and the impact of health care cost on low income and disproportionately minority communities.”

The research was conducted in conjunction with Martin Luther King Hospital and Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles, and was funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health.

Possible study limitations

Of the 85 original subjects, roughly 50% in each group were available for the final echocardiograph tests after the 6-month study period. The high attrition might have reduced power for some of the findings.

However, the attrition was not significantly different between the TM and the HE groups, thus reducing potential subject bias in the final sample. Moreover, the attritors and completers were not significantly different in demographic or physiological characteristics at baseline that prevented the occurrence of systematically biased treatment outcomes. No record of compliance for home TM practice was collected. However, the record of meeting attendance was significantly higher in the TM (80.6%) as compared with HE (50.2%) group (P=.001).

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Ethnicity & Disease: Original Reports: Cardiovascular Disease and Risk Factors Vol 29, No 4 (2019): Stress Reduction in the Prevention of Left Ventricular Hypertrophy: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Transcendental Meditation and Health Education in Hypertensive African Americans, Robert H. Schneider, Hector F. Myers, Komal Marwaha, Maxwell A. Rainforth, John W. Salerno, Sanford I. Nidich, Carolyn Gaylord-King, Charles N. Alexander, Keith C. Norris Ethn Dis. 2019;29(4):577-586; doi:10.18865/ed.29.4.577. Also listed on PubMed.

Related: PET scans show Transcendental Meditation with cardiac rehabilitation increases blood flow to the heart | Transcendental Meditation may reduce death, heart attack and stroke in heart patients—AHA

News coverage has been positive. The press release has been posted on medical news sites around the world. Johny Fernandez at CBS News in New York puts out a MedDay report on the top health stories in the news and included ours. It was picked up by KOLR 10 CBS News in Springfield, MO, on MedDay – December 27, 2019, and included in their Health and Medical segment. I cued up the video from their YouTube site. It’s also on their OzarksFirst site. It starts at 40 seconds in.

The January 4, 2020 issue of Enjoy TM News published: New Study: TM Technique Effective in Preventing Abnormal Heart Enlargement and Reducing Heart Failure. Risk factor for cardiovascular disease reduced.

Jan 7, 2020, Medical Research published a Q&A with Dr. Schneider: Transcendental Meditation To Reduce LVH in African Americans.

January 24, 2020, Thrive Global published: Manage Your Mind to Manage Your Heart: Why Transcendental Meditation is Vital for Heart Health. Research studies show regular TM practice reduces risk factors for cardiovascular disease. By Robert Schneider, M.D., FACC, Dean, College of Integrative Medicine, Maharishi International University.

PET scans show Transcendental Meditation with cardiac rehabilitation increases blood flow to the heart

December 5, 2019

EurekAlert! Summary: Study finds coronary heart disease (CHD) patients who include Transcendental Meditation (TM) with cardiac rehabilitation (CR) increased blood flow to the heart by 20.7%. This was the first study to show TM significantly enhanced lifestyle modification in patients, and the first to use positron emission tomography (PET) to measure their effect on cardiac function and rehabilitation. The NIH-funded study was conducted at Columbia University Irving Medical Center in collaboration with the Institute of Prevention Research. See EurekAlert! Press Release.

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Can more be done besides diet and exercise to better recover from a heart attack, a stroke, or to prevent one? Scientists from Columbia University Irving Medical Center and the Institute for Prevention Research conducted a study, with and without meditation, to find out.

The study, published in the Journal of Nuclear Cardiology, found that patients with coronary heart disease who included Transcendental Meditation (TM) with their cardiac rehabilitation regime increased blood flow to the heart by more than 20%.

Titled “Effects of cardiac rehabilitation with and without meditation on myocardial blood flow using quantitative positron emission tomography”, the pilot study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and conducted at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, in collaboration with the Institute for Prevention Research. The research involved 56 patients who had coronary heart disease, including recent heart attack, coronary artery bypass, or angina.

First study of its kind

The project was a groundbreaking proof-of-concept study, in that it was the first to combine Transcendental Meditation with other lifestyle treatment modalities, and the first to use positron emission tomography (PET) to measure the effect of lifestyle mind-body modification on cardiac function.

“This was the first study to show that the cardiovascular benefits of lifestyle modification such as structured exercise and dietary counseling may be enhanced by adding Transcendental Meditation in patients with heart disease,” said Robert Schneider, MD, FACC, co-director of the study and medical director of the Institute for Prevention Research. “It also found that the Transcendental Meditation technique alone was able to reverse the effects of coronary heart disease assessed by PET imaging.”

Considered a gold standard for measuring myocardial flow reserve non-invasively, cardiac PET has diagnostic and prognostic significance in coronary heart disease.

Randomized, controlled pilot study

The researchers randomly divided the subjects into four groups: cardiac rehabilitation, Transcendental Meditation, Transcendental Meditation plus cardiac rehabilitation, or usual care.

The results showed that of the 37 patients who completed posttesting, myocardial blood flow increased by 20.7% in the group that did both Transcendental Meditation and cardiac rehabilitation. Blood flow in the group that practiced Transcendental Meditation alone increased 12.8%. Cardiac rehabilitation by itself showed an improvement of 5.8%. And patients who received the usual treatment showed a decrease in blood flow of -10.3%. Also see graph of Changes in myocardial flow reserves for the combined TM and non-TM groups.

Stress reduction therapies in cardiac rehabilitation

“Although this is a preliminary study, it suggests that managing one’s mind-body connection with Transcendental Meditation can improve the function of the heart in cardiovascular patients,” said Dr. Schneider, who is also dean of Maharishi University of Management’s College of Integrative Medicine.

He said that psychosocial stress is known to be a risk factor for coronary heart disease but that stress reduction therapies aren’t usually included in cardiac rehabilitation.

“More research needs to be done, but this study and previous research strongly suggest that medical professionals should consider utilizing this simple yet effective mind-body intervention in their heart health treatment and prevention programs,” Dr. Schneider said.

Possible mechanism

While it’s not known precisely how Transcendental Meditation would increase blood flow, the researchers speculate that it’s a result of improved endothelial-mediated coronary and arteriolar vasomotor function. That is, reduced levels of stress hormones and possibly inflammation may result in improved function of the endothelial cells that line the coronary arteries. They cite research, which has found that modifying risk factors for cardiovascular disease improves blood flow in the heart.

Limitations of the study

While the study suggests that the Transcendental Meditation technique can increase blood flow in cardiovascular patients, carefully conducted clinical trials with larger sample sizes are needed to confirm the benefit.

“This was a first pilot study designed to determine the size of the effect and feasibility,” Dr. Schneider said. “Of the 56 original subjects, only 37 were available for the final posttesting of blood flow after the 12-week study period. In addition, compliance with cardiac rehabilitation was average, with attendance at exercise sessions about 60%. Also, the subjects practicing Transcendental Meditation may have received more attention than the rehabilitation group. This initial study paves the way for full scale clinical trials that will more rigorously evaluate these effects.”

Transcendental Meditation also reduces risk factors for heart disease

Earlier studies have shown that the Transcendental Meditation technique reduces risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as blood pressure, atherosclerosis, and insulin resistance. A 2012 study found a 48% reduction in heart attack, stroke, and death.

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Effects of cardiac rehabilitation with and without meditation on myocardial blood flow using quantitative positron emission tomography: A pilot study https://doi.org/10.1007/s12350-019-01884-9.

PubMed: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31529385.

Some News Coverage

Within 4 days of posting the press release there were well over 12,000 page views on EurekAlert! Some significant science news websites that reported on the study were HealthImaging: Meditation increases blood flow in the heart, PET scans show; and PsychCentral: Transcendental Meditation with Cardiac Rehab Can Increase Blood Flow to Heart.

Gary Null discussed the need for prevention on his show’s podcast and shared news of newly published natural approaches for improving heart health. He included MUM’s study at CUIMC from 26:28 to 27:10.

Related: New study shows Transcendental Meditation prevents abnormal enlargement of the heart, reduces chronic heart failure risk

January 24, 2020, Thrive Global published: Manage Your Mind to Manage Your Heart: Why Transcendental Meditation is Vital for Heart Health. Research studies show regular TM practice reduces risk factors for cardiovascular disease. By Robert Schneider, M.D., FACC, Dean, College of Integrative Medicine, Maharishi International University.

The February 1, 2020 issue of Enjoy TM News published: New Study: TM Helps Patients Recover from Heart Disease. Groundbreaking study reports increased blood flow to heart.


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