Thursday, September 11, 2008

TM continues to court medical professionals

I received an invitation to a "medical" education program, for CME credits, covering research on TM and Auyerveda, of course, sponsored by the TM. From the course website at

Conference Description

Purpose of the Conference

The changing environment of healthcare is now placing greater emphasis on complementary and alternative approaches to treating patients. These practices have potential for improving the health of a large number of patients, while also reducing healthcare costs.

It is important that physicians and other healthcare providers incorporate complementary and alternative practices that are evidence-based and supported in the published literature. This conference will present an evidence-based approach to integrative medicine, focusing on clinical experience with and published research on the Transcendental Meditation technique and Maharishi Ayurveda.

I have noticed a big push lately to get medical professionals to buy into TM and auyerveda. My impression is that TM has lost favor over the years with physicians who want to suggest a relaxation technique, most likely because of the expense and inconvenience of learning. Instead, mindfulness meditation and progressive relaxation have become more popular. For example, on the Mayo Clinic website they have instructions for a simple mindfulness meditation technique.

I'll be curious as to how many people attend or if it will just be the die-hards.

Since I first posted this, some have talked about the ethical obligations of medical professionals. The American Medical Association Code of Medical Ethics states, in part:

E-3.01 Nonscientific Practitioners.

It is unethical to engage in or to aid and abet in treatment which has no scientific basis and is dangerous, is calculated to deceive the patient by giving false hope, or which may cause the patient to delay in seeking proper care.

E-3.04 Referral of Patients.

A physician should not so refer a patient unless the physician is confident that the services provided on referral will be performed competently and in accordance with accepted scientific standards…

E-8.20 Invalid Medical Treatment.

(1) Treatments which have no medical indication and offer no possible benefit to the patient should not be used (Opinion 2.035).

(2) Treatments which have been determined scientifically to be invalid should not be used (Opinion 3.01).

E-9.132 Health Care Fraud and Abuse.

The following guidelines encourage physicians to play a key role in identifying and preventing fraud:

(1) Physicians must renew their commitment to Section II of the AMA's Principles of Medical Ethics which states that “a physician shall deal honestly with patients and colleagues, and strive to expose those physicians deficient in character, competence, or who engage in fraud or deception.”

V. A physician shall continue to study, apply and advance scientific knowledge, make relevant information available to patients, colleagues, and the public, obtain consultation, and use the talents of other health professionals when indicated.

Much is made by the TMO of NHI grants for studying TM. The National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine (NCCA) is part of the NHI and its areas of focus include research of meditation and auyerveda. If Wikipedia is correct, "Critics attest that despite the publicized intentions at its founding, NCCAM and its predecessor, the Office of Alternative Medicine, have spent more than $800 million on such research since 1991 but have neither succeeded in scientifically demonstrating the efficacy of a single alternative method nor declared any alternative medicine treatment effective."

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