News Release

New paradigm of peace through health: Traditional medicine meditation in the prevention of collective stress, violence, and war

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Maharishi International University

Group meditation programs associated with a correlated drop in societal stress and violence indicators


The eight indices of stress in the United States are represented by the different colored lines, and the US stress index—the mean of all eight variables—is indicated by the red line. The blue line indicates the size of the meditation group programs at MIU. 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.

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Credit: Maharishi International University

A breakthrough perspective article in Frontiers in Public Health, "Peace through Health: Traditional Medicine Meditation in the Prevention of Collective Stress Violence and War," sheds light on the profound impact of the Transcendental Meditation (TM) program on fostering global peace. The article reviews and analyzes the demand for public health and medicine to help prevent collective violence and “intractable” wars in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Africa and elsewhere and the crucial role of meditation practices in public health strategies to mitigate collective stress and armed conflicts.

Highlighting compelling research, the article presents data demonstrating significant reductions in crime rates and war intensity when relatively small groups of people engage in the practice of the TM and TM-Sidhi Program. For instance, "The introduction of group meditation was associated with a noticeable decrease in violent incidents and improved quality of life metrics in conflict zones, underscoring meditation’s potential to influence societal peace," the authors note.

Robert H. Schneider, MD, FACC, Dean of the College of Integrative Medicine at Maharishi International University, explains, "Our review indicates that when a relatively small group (square root of 1%) of a population participates in these meditation programs there's a correlated drop in societal stress and violence indicators. This underscores a collective consciousness effect that can be scientifically measured. Indeed, recognizing the profound effects of meditation on public health and peace represents a paradigm shift in both public health and medicine—fostering peace through health."

The article delves into the neuroscience behind these observations, particularly through the lens of population neuroscience. It suggests that group meditation practices may synchronize brain activities across individuals, leading to enhanced societal coherence and reduced stress-related behaviors. "Population neuroscience offers us a framework to understand how collective meditation can stabilize societal stress and what we may call collective consciousness, potentially averting collective violence and wars," states Tony Nader, MD, PhD, a leading expert in the neuroscience of consciousness.

Gunvant Yeola MD, PhD (Ayurveda), Principal of the DY Patil College of Ayurveda in India, adds, "Ayurveda and Yoga have long recognized the interconnection between individual wellness and societal health. These findings provide a modern scientific validation of ancient wisdom, highlighting meditation's role in public health and peacebuilding."

In advocating for integrating traditional meditation practices into public health initiatives, the authors envision a new paradigm where meditation becomes a foundational strategy for preventing violence and promoting peace globally. "This research represents a beacon of hope, illuminating a path forward where peace is cultivated from within each individual, radiating outwards to transform societies," concludes Schneider.

As the world continues to navigate the complexities of global conflict, this perspective article highlights and explains the transformative power of meditation, offering a scientifically grounded approach to achieving peace through health.

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