Transcendental Meditation (TM) refers to a specific form of silent meditation and the organizations that constitute the Transcendental Meditation movement. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi created and introduced the TM technique and TM movement in India in the mid-1950s. Advocates of TM claim that the technique promotes a state of relaxed awareness, stress relief, creativity, and efficiency, as well as physiological benefits such as reducing the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure. The technique is also purported to allow practitioners to experience higher states of consciousness.
Building on the teachings of his instructor Guru Dev, Maharishi taught thousands of people during a series of world tours from 1958 to 1965, expressing his teachings in spiritual and religious terms. TM became more popular in the 1960s and 1970s, as the Maharishi shifted to a more secular presentation, and his meditation technique was practiced by celebrities such as the Beatles. At this time, he began training TM teachers and created specialized organizations to present TM to specific segments of the population such as business people and students. By the early 2000s, TM had been taught to millions of people; the worldwide TM organization had grown to include educational programs, health products, and related services. In recent years, interest in the technique has been prompted by filmmaker David Lynch, whose charitable foundation has funded instruction of the technique for "at-risk" populations such as prison inmates, veterans, the homeless, and school children.
The TM technique involves the use of a silently-used sound called a mantra, and is practiced for 15–20 minutes twice per day. It is taught by certified teachers through a standard course of instruction, which costs a fee that varies by country. According to the Transcendental Meditation movement, it is a non-religious method for relaxation, stress reduction, and self-development. The technique has been seen as both religious and non-religious; sociologists, scholars, and a New Jersey judge and court are among those who have expressed views on it being religious or non-religious; some have characterized the surrounding movement and TM organizations as cult-like while others have argued to the contrary. The United States Court of Appeals upheld the federal ruling that TM was essentially "religious in nature" and therefore could not be taught in public schools.
The methodological quality of existing research on the benefits of meditation practices is poor because of the varying theoretical approaches and the frequent confirmation bias of individual studies. Most independent studies have found that the positive health outcomes attributed to the specific practice of TM can not be conclusively established by available evidence. A 2014 Cochrane review of 4 trials found that it was impossible to draw any conclusions about whether TM is effective in preventing cardiovascular disease, as the scientific literature on TM was limited and at "serious risk of bias". A 2015 systematic review and meta-analysis of 12 studies found that TM may reduce blood pressure compared to control groups, although the underlying studies may have been biased and further studies with better designs are needed. A 2012 meta-analysis published in Psychological Bulletin, which reviewed 163 individual studies, tentatively found that Transcendental Meditation produced superior results in "reducing negative emotions, trait anxiety, and neuroticism" as well as improving markers of learning, memory, and self-actualization by comparison with other meditation approaches; the researchers nonetheless recommended improved methodologies for future research.
The Transcendental Meditation program and the Transcendental Meditation movement originated with their founder Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and continued beyond his death in 2008. In 1955, "the Maharishi began publicly teaching a traditional meditation technique" learned from his master Brahmananda Saraswati that he called Transcendental Deep Meditation and later renamed Transcendental Meditation. The Maharishi initiated thousands of people, then developed a TM teacher training program as a way to accelerate the rate of bringing the technique to more people. He also inaugurated a series of world tours which promoted Transcendental Meditation. These factors, coupled with endorsements by celebrities who practiced TM and claims that scientific research had validated the technique, helped to popularize TM in the 1960s and 1970s. By the late 2000s, TM had been taught to millions of individuals and the Maharishi was overseeing a large multinational movement. Despite organizational changes and the addition of advanced meditative techniques in the 1970s, the Transcendental Meditation technique has remained relatively unchanged.
Among the first organizations to promote TM were the Spiritual Regeneration Movement and the International Meditation Society. In modern times, the movement has grown to encompass schools and universities that teach the practice, and includes many associated programs based on the Maharishi's interpretation of the Vedic traditions. In the U.S., non-profit organizations included the Students International Meditation Society, AFSCI, World Plan Executive Council, Maharishi Vedic Education Development Corporation, Global Country of World Peace and Maharishi Foundation. The successor to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and leader of the Global Country of World Peace, is Tony Nader.
The meditation practice involves the use of a silently-used mantra for 15–20 minutes twice per day while sitting with the eyes closed. It is reported to be one of the most widely practiced, and among the most widely researched, meditation techniques, with hundreds of published research studies.  The technique is made available worldwide by certified TM teachers in a seven-step course, and fees vary from country to country. Beginning in 1965, the Transcendental Meditation technique has been incorporated into selected schools, universities, corporations, and prison programs in the US, Latin America, Europe, and India. In 1977 a US district court ruled that a curriculum in TM and the Science of Creative Intelligence (SCI) being taught in some New Jersey schools was religious in nature and in violation of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. The technique has since been included in a number of educational and social programs around the world.
The Transcendental Meditation technique has been described as both religious and non-religious, as an aspect of a new religious movement, as rooted in Hinduism, and as a non-religious practice for self-development. The public presentation of the TM technique over its 50-year history has been praised for its high visibility in the mass media and effective global propagation, and criticized for using celebrity and scientific endorsements as a marketing tool. Also, advanced courses supplement the TM technique and include an advanced meditation program called the TM-Sidhi program.
The Transcendental Meditation movement consists of the programs and organizations connected with the Transcendental Meditation technique and founded by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Transcendental Meditation was first taught in the 1950s in India and has continued since the Maharishi's death in 2008. The organization was estimated to have 900,000 participants worldwide in 1977, a million by the 1980s, and 5 million in more recent years, including some notable practitioners.
Programs include the Transcendental Meditation technique, an advanced meditation practice called the TM-Sidhi program ("Yogic Flying"), an alternative health care program called Maharishi Ayurveda, and a system of building and architecture called Maharishi Sthapatya Ved. The TM movement's past and present media endeavors include a publishing company (MUM Press), a television station (KSCI), a radio station (KHOE), and a satellite television channel (Maharishi Channel). During its 50-year history, its products and services have been offered through a variety of organizations, which are primarily nonprofit and educational. These include the Spiritual Regeneration Movement, the International Meditation Society, World Plan Executive Council, Maharishi Vedic Education Development Corporation, the Global Country of World Peace, and the David Lynch Foundation.
The TM movement also operates a worldwide network of Transcendental Meditation teaching centers, schools, universities, health centers, herbal supplements, solar panel, and home financing companies, plus several TM-centered communities. The global organization is reported to have an estimated net worth of USD 3.5 billion. The TM movement has been characterized in a variety of ways and has been called a spiritual movement, a new religious movement, a millenarian movement, a world affirming movement, a new social movement, a guru-centered movement, a personal growth movement, a religion, and a cult. Additional sources contend that TM and its movement are not a cult. Participants in TM programs are not required to adopt a belief system; it is practiced by atheists, agnostics and people from a variety of religious affiliations. The organization has also been criticized as well as praised for its public presentation and marketing techniques throughout its 50-year history.
Some notable figures in pop-culture practicing TM include The Beatles, Kendall Jenner, Hugh Jackman, Tom Hanks, Jennifer Lopez, Mick Jagger, Eva Mendez, DJ Moby, David Lynch, Jennifer Aniston, Nicole Kidman, Eric Andre, Jerry Seinfeld, Clint Eastwood, Martin Scorsese, Russell Brand and Oprah Winfrey. 
It is not possible to say whether transcendental meditation has significant effect on health, as much of the research is of poor quality, and is marred by a high risk for bias owing to the connection of researchers to the TM organization and by the selection of subjects with a favorable opinion of TM. Some independent systematic reviews have not found health benefits for TM exceeding those produced by other relaxation techniques or health education. A 2013 statement from the American Heart Association said that TM could be considered as a treatment for hypertension, although other interventions such as exercise and device-guided breathing were more effective and better supported by clinical evidence. A 2014 systematic review and meta-analysis funded by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality found moderate evidence for improvement in anxiety, depression and pain with low evidence for improvement in stress and mental health-related quality of life. A 2014 Cochrane review found that it was impossible to draw any conclusions about whether TM is effective in preventing cardiovascular disease, as the scientific literature on TM was limited and at "serious risk of bias". A 2015 systematic review and meta-analysis of 12 studies found that TM may reduce blood pressure compared to control groups, although the underlying studies may have been biased and further studies with better designs are needed.
The first studies of the health effects of Transcendental Meditation appeared in the early 1970s. By 2004 the US government had given more than $20 million to Maharishi University of Management to study the effect of meditation on health.
In the 1960s, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi described a paranormal effect claiming a significant number of individuals (1% of the people in a given area) practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique (TM) could have an effect on the local environment. This hypothetical influence was later termed the Maharishi effect. With the introduction of the TM-Sidhi program in 1976, the Maharishi proposed that the [clarify] of the population practicing the TM-Sidhi program, together at the same time and in the same place, would increase "life-supporting trends". This was referred to as the "extended Maharishi effect". Evidence, which TM practitioners argue supports the existence of the effect, has been criticized as lacking a causal basis, being derived from cherry-picked data, and being based on the credulity of believers.
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Proponents of the program denied that Transcendental Meditation was a religion; the Third Circuit concluded that it was.
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The small number of studies included in this review do not permit any conclusions to be drawn on the effectiveness of meditation therapy for anxiety disorders. Transcendental meditation is comparable with other kinds of relaxation therapies in reducing anxiety
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Scientific research on meditation practices does not appear to have a common theoretical perspective and is characterized by poor methodological quality. Firm conclusions on the effects of meditation practices in healthcare cannot be drawn based on the available evidence.
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. . . notwithstanding the not so positive conclusion of Ospina et al., the claim of therapeutic benefits of meditation is backed up by growing empirical evidence.
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Transcendental Meditation (TM), a concentrative technique ... has been the most extensively studied meditation technique.
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By my latest count, there have been 340 per-reviewed articles published on TM, many of which have appeared in highly respected journals.
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This lawsuit was the most significant setback for TM in the United States ... Since then TM has made a comeback of sorts with some governmental sponsorship
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It is understood in terms of the reduction of stress and the charging of one's mental and physical batteries.
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Parsons, Gerald (1994). The Growth of Religious Diversity: Traditions. The Open University/Methuen. p. 288. ISBN 978-0-415-08326-3.
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- Chryssides George D. Defining the New Spirituality http://www.cesnur.org/conferences/riga2000/chryssides.htm One possible suggestion is that religion demands exclusive allegiance: this would ipso facto exclude Scientology, TM and the Soka Gakkai simply on the grounds that they claim compatibility with whatever other religion the practitioner has been following. For example, TM is simply – as they state – a technique. Although it enables one to cope with life, it offers no goal beyond human existence (such as moksha), nor does it offer rites or passage or an ethic. Unlike certain other Hindu-derived movements, TM does not prescribe a dharma to its followers – that is to say a set of spiritual obligations deriving from one’s essential nature.
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All the randomized clinical trials of TM for the control of blood pressure published to date have important methodological weaknesses and are potentially biased by the affiliation of authors to the TM organization.
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As a result of the limited number of included studies, the small sample sizes and the high risk of biasCS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
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All 4 positive trials recruited subjects from among people favourably predisposed towards TM, and used passive control procedures … The association observed between positive outcome, subject selection procedure and control procedure suggests that the large positive effects reported in 4 trials result from an expectation effect. The claim that TM has a specific and cumulative effect on cognitive function is not supported by the evidence from randomized controlled trials.
- Ospina, MB; Bond, K; Karkhaneh, M; Tjosvold, L; Vandermeer, B; Liang, Y; Bialy, L; Hooton, N; et al. (June 2007). "Meditation practices for health: state of the research" (PDF). Evid Rep Technol Assess (Full Rep) (155): 1–263 . PMC 4780968. PMID 17764203. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 February 2009.
A few studies of overall poor methodological quality were available for each comparison in the meta-analyses, most of which reported nonsignificant results. TM had no advantage over health education to improve measures of systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure, body weight, heart rate, stress, anger, self-efficacy, cholesterol, dietary intake, and level of physical activity in hypertensive patients
- Krisanaprakornkit, T; Ngamjarus, C; Witoonchart, C; Piyavhatkul, N (2010). Krisanaprakornkit, Thawatchai (ed.). "Meditation therapies for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)". Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 6 (6): CD006507. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD006507.pub2. PMC 6823216. PMID 20556767.
As a result of the limited number of included studies, the small sample sizes and the high risk of bias, we are unable to draw any conclusions regarding the effectiveness of meditation therapy for ADHD.
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- Goyal M, Singh S, Sibinga EM, Gould NF, Rowland-Seymour A, Sharma R, Berger Z, Sleicher D, Maron DD, Shihab HM, Ranasinghe PD, Linn S, Saha S, Bass EB, Haythornthwaite JA (2014). "Meditation programs for psychological stress and well-being: a systematic review and meta-analysis". JAMA Intern Med. 174 (3): 357–68. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.13018. PMC 4142584. PMID 24395196.
... we found low evidence of no effect or insufficient evidence that mantra meditation programs had an effect on any of the psychological stress and well-being outcomes we examined.
- Goyal M, Singh S, Sibinga EM, Gould NF, Rowland-Seymour A, Sharma R, Berger Z, Sleicher D, Maron DD, Shihab HM, Ranasinghe PD, Linn S, Saha S, Bass EB, Haythornthwaite JA (2014). "Meditation Programs for Psychological Stress and Well-Being". Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
Our review finds that the mantra meditation programs do not appear to improve any of the psychological stress and well-being outcomes we examined, but the strength of this evidence varies from low to insufficient.
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Maharishi University ... has received more than $20 million in government support to date to explore the health benefits of meditation.
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