Q: Can the TM technique help control both blood sugar and cholesterol? What about weight?
Dr Kaplan: There is evidence now from a well-controlled scientific study published in Archives of Internal Medicine in 2006 that the TM technique can reduce the components of “metabolic syndrome,” a major cause of poor health and premature death. Patients with metabolic syndrome are characteristically overweight, with high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar and triglycerides, and low HDL (good) cholesterol.
Q: Can the Transcendental Meditation program lower cholesterol?
Dr Molina: In a study published in the Journal of the Israeli Medical Association, researchers reported a significant drop in total cholesterol in people who practice the Transcendental Meditation technique. So yes, the Transcendental Meditation technique is an effective way to lower total cholesterol.
Most of the emphasis today is on lowering cholesterol, and thus you hear many advertisements for cholesterol medications on TV. Yet we need to remember that high blood pressure is, in fact, the most important risk factor for both stroke and coronary heart disease. Research studies have consistently demonstrated a drop in the blood pressure of people who practice the Transcendental Meditation technique. So we should not underestimate the power of lowering the blood pressure of anyone, whether or not they have high cholesterol.
Q: I’ve been on statin drugs for several years. Could I get off them with the practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique?
Dr Schneider: It’s possible. A couple of studies have reported reduced serum cholesterol as a result of the practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique. As with all medical conditions, it is recommended to follow the advice of your physician or health care provider before changing any prescribed medications or other treatment methods.
Dr Molina: It could. The Transcendental Meditation program has been associated with a drop in total cholesterol in research studies, but there has never been a large, formal study comparing it against statins. And therefore, for people who require statins, someone who has had a heart attack, for example, I would not use the Transcendental Meditation program in place of statins. In those cases I would recommend the Transcendental Meditation technique to be used in addition to statin drugs and not in lieu of them. The Transcendental Meditation technique is a very powerful addition, and in fact may be more powerful than statin drugs in improving outcome, but we don’t have that data.