Medical care utilization and the transcendental meditation program

Author: Orme-Johnson D
Department of Psychology, Maharishi International University, Fairfield, IA 52556
Conference/Journal: Psychosom Med
Date published: 1987
Other: Volume ID: 49 , Issue ID: 5 , Pages: 493-507 , Special Notes: Erratum in: Psychosom Med 1987 Nov-Dec;49(6):637 , Word Count: 202

This field study compared 5 years of medical insurance utilization statistics of approximately 2000 regular participants in the Transcendental Meditation (TM) program with a normative data base of approximately 600,000 members of the same insurance carrier. The benefits, deductible, coinsurance terms, and distribution by gender of the TM group were very similar to the norm, yet the TM group had lower medical utilization rates in all categories. Inpatient days per 1000 by age category were 50.2% fewer than the norm for children (0-18), 50.1% fewer for young adults (19-39), and 69.4% fewer for older adults (40+). Outpatient visits per 1000 for the same age categories were, respectively, 46.8%, 54.7%, and 73.7% fewer. When compared with five other health insurance groups of similar size and professional membership, the TM group had 53.3% fewer inpatient admissions per 1000 and 44.4% fewer outpatient visits per 1000. Admissions per 1000 were lower for the TM group than the norm for all of 17 major medical treatment categories, including -55.4% for benign and malignant tumors -87.3% for heart disease, -30.4% for all infectious diseases, -30.6% for all mental disorders, and -87.3% for diseases of the nervous system. However, the TM group's admission rates for childbirth were similar to the norm. The issue of self-selection is addressed in terms of previous medical research in this area.