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Maharishi Vedic Medicine

Main article: Transcendental Meditation

Maharishi Vedic Medicine (MVM, also known as Maharishi's Consciousness-Based Health Care or Maharishi Ayurveda) was founded internationally in the mid 1980s by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, creator of the Transcendental Meditation technique. Although Ayurveda has been in existence for centuries, Maharishi claims to have restored the purity of some aspects of this ancient system that had become distorted with time. [1]

Practitioners of MVM believe that it helps to restore balance in the physiology, eliminate toxins and impurities, and awaken the body's natural healing mechanisms. Practitioners also believe that the pulse can be used to help to detect diseases before they manifest. Simple treatments (often consisting of herbal remedies, dietary adjustments, routine changes, etc.) are recommended to reestablish "balance" and eliminate potential health problems.[2] Maharishi Vedic Medicine is a so-called alternative medicine and aims at being a complementary system to exist alongside modern, western medicine. Some treatments are unconventional, such as oil massage and "Vedic Vibration" in which "The expert whispers within himself or herself some specific sounds traditionally chosen for the indicated health concerns and then administers them by blowing on and/or touching the affected area of the body."[3]


Contribution of MVM

According to co-author/researchers, Dr. Robert Schneider and Jeremy Z. Fields, Ph.D., Maharishi is attributed with having revived and systematized this ancient Vedic system of health care in a "scientific, practical, and easy-to-use framework." (Schneider & Fields 2006:5)[1] The authors explain that the Maharishi Vedic Approach to Health uses forty approaches, each of which is based on one of the forty aspects of the age-old Vedic literature. These forty approaches are further reduced to three areas of practical application: mind, body, and environment, all of which are considered in treating the patient, and all of which have a common source in the body's "inner intelligence", the internal basis of healing. It is felt that only through an integrated, holistic approach can total healing be ensured.

Transcendental Meditation is the main modality for improving health from the mental angle. It has been used to prevent and treat a variety of disorders, including ADHD, pain, diabetes, and congestive heart failure.[4] [5] [6]

The "Body Approach" involves reconnecting physiological functioning with the body's inner intelligence by reducing and eliminating impurities and imbalances, the bases of disease. The MVM practitioner uses pulse diagnosis to non-invasively determine the levels of imbalance and impurities in the patient, and, taking the person's natural make-up into account, offers personalized procedures and recommendations related to diet, daily and seasonal routines, exercise, and physiological purification. A strong digestion and proper nutrient absorption are also required. The resulting restoration of physical balance is expected to lead to greater psychological balance, improved overall health and resistance to disease since the body's natural healing mechanisms will become more responsive. (Schneider & Fields 2006:95-111)

According to Schneider and Fields, (2006:191), MVM also addresses health concerns from the environmental angle. It considers the patient's immediate environment, (one's home, office, etc.), the collective influence of the society in which one lives, and the distant environment of the sun, moon, stars, and planets. The authors explain that since the same cosmic intelligence underlies all these environments as well as the patient's own state of health, optimization of their positive influences also favors personal health. Maharishi Sthapatyavedais the main modality for improving the immediate environment. For promoting collective health, MVM recommends group practice of Transcendental Meditation and the more advanced TM-Sidhi program, and Maharishi Vedic Astrology is said to optimize planetary influences on individual health.

Finally, Schneider and Fields (2006:211-216) report that MVM has also systematized the use of sound therapy for healthcare. It offers three main modalities: the Vedic Literature chanted in Sanskrit; Maharishi Gandharva Veda Music; and Maharishi Vedic Vibration Technology, all of which must be delivered by native experts in these traditional practices. In the first case, the patient listens to the specific aspect of the Vedic Literature that corresponds to that area of the body that is unwell. The authors explain that since the frequencies of sound that the patient listens to also gave rise to that particular group of cells at the time of creation of the body, hearing them helps to repair any damage. In the second modality, the patient is only required to listen to the recorded music which is said to integrate and harmonize the cycles and rhythms of the body, including, for example, the cardiovascular system. With the third form of treatment, the expert is physically present to select and administer the specific sound therapy that is supposed to heal the particular diseased area of the body or mind. This treatment is said to work at the subtlest or "quantum" level of the individual.

Research on MVM

The National Institutes of Health, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and the National Center for Research Resources have funded research on the Transcendental Meditation program, which is considered an application of Maharishi Ayurveda. [7] Further research on MVM is on-going. Researchers have been particularly interested in its potential usefulness in treating heart disease and hypertension, especially among African-Americans, and in promoting longevity. [8][9]

Schneider and Fields (2006:215) also report on research done on the use of Maharishi Vedic Sound Therapies. In one European study, for example, 40 percent of 200 participants reported relief from hypertension and other stress-related complaints, while in an American study, 40 percent of 175 participants apparently gained relief from chronic arthritis.


In 1991 the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published an article on the benefits of Maharishi Ayur-Veda titled Letter from New Delhi: Maharishi Ayur-Veda: Modern Insights into Ancient Medicine, authored by Hari Sharma, M.D., of the Ohio State University College of Medicine, Brhaspati Dev Triguna, of the All India Ayur-Veda Congress, and Deepak Chopra, M.D., of the American Association of Ayurvedic Medicine.[2]

A subsequent article in JAMA alleged that the authors of the first article had not disclosed their financial ties with organizations that sell the products and services about which they wrote. The article also investigated the marketing practices surrounding Ayur-Veda products and services.[3] It was felt that the media had been intentionally deceived for financial gain.[4] It also countered the Sharma et al claim that Maharishi Ayur-Veda was more cost effective than standard medical care.

Additionally, the article reported that in the late 1980s, herbal researcher Tony Nader, at the time a Ph.D. candidate in neuroscience at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, had been criticized for using his position to promote Maharishi Ayurveda Products International herbal products. Nader also drew the ire of the organizers of the Annual Meeting of the Society for Economic Botany, which was held at the University of Illinois at Chicago in June 1987. According to the organizers, Nader submitted a research abstract for a presentation that they said was a promotion for the herbal remedies of Maharishi Ayurveda Products International.

The second article quotes a former TM teacher and chair of the TM center in Washington DC, as saying that he had been told to deceive the media. [5]

In 1992, in response to the second article, including the actions surrounding its writing and subsequent actions, the Lancaster Foundation and the American Association for Ayur-Vedic Medicine filed a $194 million dollar libel suit against the author of the article and the editor of JAMA, alleging in part that statements in the article were false and defamatory. Pursuant to a settlement agreement, in 1993 the suit was dimissed by the judge at the request of the plaintiffs, with the option of reinstating pending completion of the settlement.[6]


  1. ^ Schneider, R and Fields, J: Total Heart Health, page 5. Basic Health Publications, Inc. 2006
  2. ^ Sharma, HM, Triguna, BD, Chopra, D. "Maharishi Ayur-Veda: modern insights into ancient medicine", Journal of the American Medical Association, 1991 May 22-29;265(20):2633-4, 2637
  3. ^ Skolnick, A.A. "Maharishi Ayur-Veda: Guru's marketing scheme promises the world eternal 'perfect health'." Journal of the American Medical Association. 1991 Oct 2;266(13):1741-2, 1744-5, 1749-50
  4. ^ JAMA Medical News and Perspectives, "Maharishi Ayur-Veda: guru's marketing scheme promises the world eternal 'perfect health'" JAMA. Oct 2 1991, v266, n13, p1741(6)]
  5. ^ Maharishi Ayur-Veda: Guru's Marketing Scheme Promises World Eternal "Perfect Health", Journal of the American Medical Association, Andrew Skolnick, Oct. 2, 1991
  6. ^ The Lancaster Foundation, Inc., The American Association for Ayur-Vedic Medicine, Inc. vs. Andrew A. Skolnick, George D. Lundberg, M.D.,; in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, No. 82 C 4175; Judge Kocoras

See also

  • Maharishi Vedic Science
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Maharishi_Vedic_Medicine". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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