Clinical Rheumatology

, Volume 31, Issue 5, pp 821–827 | Cite as

Treatment of fibromyalgia at the Maharishi Ayurveda Health Centre in Norway II—a 24-month follow-up pilot study

  • Lars Bjørn RasmussenEmail author
  • Knut Mikkelsen
  • Margaretha Haugen
  • Are H. Pripp
  • Jeremy Z. Fields
  • Øystein T. Førre
Original Article


Treatments offered at the Maharishi Ayurveda Health Centre in Norway are based on Maharishi Vedic Medicine (MVM). MVM is a consciousness-based revival by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the founder of the Transcendental Meditation (TM) program of the ancient Ayurvedic medicine tradition in India. To extend from 6 to 24 months, a pilot study of the effects of the treatment program at the Health Centre on fibromyalgia. Retesting 2 years after a clinical trial. In this intention to treat study, 31 women with a diagnosis of fibromyalgia received an individually tailored program of (1) physiological purification therapy (Maharishi Panchakarma) and (2) Ayurvedic recommendations regarding daily routine and diet including a novel approach to food intolerance. Five subjects chose to learn TM for stress reduction, pain management and personal development. All were recommended Ayurvedic herbal products for follow-up treatment. A modified Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ) that included seven dimensions. Scores at 24 months follow-up were compared with pre-treatment scores. At 24-months follow-up, there were significant reductions (26% to 44%) in six of the seven fibromyalgia dimensions: impairment of working ability, pain, tiredness, morning tiredness, stiffness and anxiety. The 7th, depression, decreased 32% (borderline significant). At 24 months, the four subjects who continued practising TM, had almost no symptoms and significantly lower FIQ change scores (−92% to 97%) than the non-meditators on all outcomes. This pilot study suggests that the treatments and health promotion programs offered at the Maharishi Ayurveda Health Centre in Norway lead to long-term reductions in symptoms of fibromyalgia, which is considered a treatment-resistant condition, and further studies are warranted.


Alternative treatment Ayurveda Complementary treatment Fibromyalgia Transcendental Meditation 



The study was financially supported by EXTRA funds from The Norwegian Foundation for Health and Rehabilitation. We thank Helge Marthinussen, Maharishi Ayurveda Health Centre, Mesnali for assistance in the collection of data.

Conflicts of interests

The first author is the administrative and medical director of the Maharishi Ayurveda Health Centre, Mesnali, Norway. Jeremy Z. Fields is Adjunct Research Professor at Maharishi University of Management, Fairfield, Iowa, USA. The rest of the authors declare no conflict of interest.


  1. 1.
    Schneider RH, Fields JZ (2006) Total heart health. How to prevent and reverse heart disease with the Maharishi Vedic Approach to Health. Basic Health Publications, Laguna BeachGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Nader T (2000) Human physiology. Expression of Veda and the Vedic Literature. Maharishi Vedic University, 6063 NP Vlodrop, The NetherlandsGoogle Scholar
  3. 3. Accessed 12 January 2011
  4. 4. Accessed 12 January 2011.
  5. 5.
    Rasmussen LB, Mikkelsen K, Haugen M, Pripp AH, Førre ØT (2009) Treatment of fibromyalgia at the Maharishi Ayurveda Health Centre in Norway. A six month follow-up study. Clin Exp Rheumatol 27(suppl 56):S46–S50PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Anonymous (2009) Fibromyalgia: poorly understood; treatments are disappointing. Prescrire Int 18:169–173.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Wolfe F, Smythe HA, Yunus MB et al (1990) The American College of Rheumatology 1990 criteria for the classification of fibromyalgia. Arthritis Rheum 33:160–172PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Orme-Johnson DW, Schneider RH, Son YD, Nidich S, Cho ZH (2006) Neuroimaging of meditation's effect on brain reactivity to pain. Neuroreport 17(12):1359–1363PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Orme-Johnson D (1987) Medical care utilization and the transcendental meditation program. Psychosom Med 49:493–507PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Herron RE, Hillis SL (2000) The impact of the transcendental meditation program on government payments to physicians in Quebec: an update. Am J Health Promot 14(5):284–291PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Brooks JS, Scarano T (1985) Transcendental Meditation in the treatment of post-traumatic-adjustment. J Counsel Develop 65:212–215CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Haratani T, Hemmi T (1990) Effects of Transcendental Meditation (TM) on the mental health of industrial workers. Jpn J Ind Health 32(7):656Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Jayadevappa R, Johnson JC, Bloom BS, Nidich S, Desai S, Chhatre S et al (2007) Effectiveness of transcendental meditation on functional capacity and quality of life of African Americans with congestive heart failure: a randomized control study. Ethnicity Dis 17(1):72–77Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Kondwani KA, Schneider RH, Alexander CN, Sledge C, Staggers F, Clayborne M et al (2005) Left ventricular mass regression with the Transcendental Meditation technique and a health education program in hypertensive African Americans. J Soc Behav Personal 17(1):181–200Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Sheppard DH, Staggers F, John L (1997) The effects of a stress management program in a high security government agency. Anxiety Stress Coping 10:341–350CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Nidich SI, Rainforth MV, Haaga DA, Hagelin J, Salerno JW, Travis F, Tanner M, Gaylord-King C, Grosswald S, Schneider RH (2009) A randomized controlled trial on effects of the Transcendental Meditation program on blood pressure, psychological distress, and coping in young adults. Am J Hypertens 22:1326–1331PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Eppley KR, Abrams AI, Shear J (1989) Differential effects of relaxation techniques on trait anxiety: a meta-analysis. J Clin Psychol 45(6):957–974PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Alexander CN, Rainforth MV, Gelderloos P (1991) Transcendental meditation, self-actualization and psychological health: a conceptual overview and statistical meta-analysis. J Soc Behav Pers 6:189–247Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Buckelew SP, Murray SE, Hewett JE, Johnson J, Huyser B (1995) Self-efficacy, pain, and physical activity among fibromyalgia subjects. Arthritis Care Res 8(1):43–50PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Buckelew SP, Huyser B, Hewett JE et al (1996) Self-efficacy predicting outcome among fibromyalgia subjects. Arthritis Care Res 9(2):97–104PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Schneider RH, Cavanaugh KL, Kasture HS et al (1990) Health promotion with a traditional system of natural health care, Maharishi Ayurveda. J Soc Behav Person 5:21–27Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Nader T, Rothenberg S, Averbach R, Charles B, Fields JZ, Schneider RH (2000) Improvements in chronic diseases with a comprehensive natural medicine approach: a review and case series. Behav Med 26:34–46PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Clinical Rheumatology 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lars Bjørn Rasmussen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Knut Mikkelsen
    • 2
  • Margaretha Haugen
    • 3
  • Are H. Pripp
    • 4
  • Jeremy Z. Fields
    • 5
  • Øystein T. Førre
    • 6
  1. 1.Maharishi Ayurveda Health CentreMesnaliNorway
  2. 2.Head of DepartmentLillehammer Hospital for Rheumatic DiseasesLillehammerNorway
  3. 3.The Norwegian Institute of Public HealthOsloNorway
  4. 4.Biostatistics Unit, Research Services DepartmentUniversity Hospital of OsloOsloNorway
  5. 5.Adjunct Research ProfessorMaharishi University of ManagementFairfieldUSA
  6. 6.Department of rheumatologyUniversity Hospital of OsloOsloNorway

Personalised recommendations