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Am J Hypertens. 2009 Dec;22(12):1326-31. doi: 10.1038/ajh.2009.184. Epub 2009 Oct 1.

A randomized controlled trial on effects of the Transcendental Meditation program on blood pressure, psychological distress, and coping in young adults.

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  • 1Center for Natural Medicine and Prevention, Maharishi University of Management Research Institute, Maharishi Vedic City, Iowa, USA.



Psychological distress contributes to the development of hypertension in young adults. This trial assessed the effects of a mind-body intervention on blood pressure (BP), psychological distress, and coping in college students.


This was a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of 298 university students randomly allocated to either the Transcendental Meditation (TM) program or wait-list control. At baseline and after 3 months, BP, psychological distress, and coping ability were assessed. A subgroup of 159 subjects at risk for hypertension was analyzed similarly.


Changes in systolic BP (SBP)/diastolic BP (DBP) for the overall sample were -2.0/-1.2 mm Hg for the TM group compared to +0.4/+0.5 mm Hg for controls (P = 0.15, P = 0.15, respectively). Changes in SBP/DBP for the hypertension risk subgroup were -5.0/-2.8 mm Hg for the TM group compared to +1.3/+1.2 mm Hg for controls (P = 0.014, P = 0.028, respectively). Significant improvements were found in total psychological distress, anxiety, depression, anger/hostility, and coping (P values < 0.05). Changes in psychological distress and coping correlated with changes in SBP (P values < 0.05) and DBP (P values < 0.08).


This is the first RCT to demonstrate that a selected mind-body intervention, the TM program, decreased BP in association with decreased psychological distress, and increased coping in young adults at risk for hypertension. This mind-body program may reduce the risk for future development of hypertension in young adults.

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