A Review of “Catalyst” on TM

By Dr Stephen Basser

I try not to watch too much ‘tabloid television’ as I find that the way scientific issues are covered is likely to provoke either the tossing of objects in the direction of the television, or the feeling that my blood pressure is rising to dangerous levels. When medical or health issues are being discussed the reaction is usually a combination of the two.

When I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed by the latest miracle weight loss treatment, or arthritis cure, I escape to a bit of sound scientific reporting by switching over to the ABC, and watch the normally excellent general science program Catalyst. Tonight, though, I momentarily thought I’d turned on the wrong channel, as Catalyst’s first story – on Transcendental Meditation – was right out of the tabloid guide book.

Transcendental Meditation (TM) is a form of meditation that came to prominence in the 1960s and 1970s after The Beatles became followers of the teachings of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Though their direct involvement with the Maharishi was relatively short lived, the publicity led to worldwide interest in the teachings of the ‘giggling guru’, as the Maharishi became to be known.

As a skeptic I have no concerns with meditation as a means of relaxation, and TM is one of many types of meditation that can assist people in achieving a state of relaxation. My concern with TM is that over the years a range of health claims and powers have been associated with it, including levitation, invisibility, walking through walls, colossal strength, ESP, and improvements in standard medical conditions such as hypertension (high blood pressure).

With regards to relaxation, TM supporters claim that unique brain wave changes are observed on EEG tracings of those practicing TM. They claim specific changes in alpha wave tracings, but whilst it is accepted by neurologists that alpha waves are associated with a relaxed brain there is no evidence that TM produces a state of relaxation different to what can be achieved with a variety of other techniques, including other forms of meditation. The presence of alpha waves on EEG is indicative of a relaxed, inactive mental state, and nothing more They are certainly not specific to TM. In addition there is no conclusive evidence that the presence of the alpha waves means anything other than the person is relaxed. That is, there is no evidence that there are any specific health benefits associated with having these EEG tracings.

Given that one does not have to dig too far into the scientific literature to find doubts about TM’s claims one might have expected Catalyst to cast a more critical eye than it did. The general tone came across as supportive, and there was a glaring absence of adhering to sound scientific principles, particularly in their coverage of the issue of EEG tracings.

In this segment they took a single person, one who practices TM, and recorded their EEG whilst apparently ‘relaxing’, and then whilst in a meditative state. We were shown the tracings, and then the surprised response of the person conducting the test, who said all the right things about this being something he hadn’t seen before. There was no comparison with someone relaxing by another means, and no comparison with someone practicing another form of meditation. There was no acknowledgment of the fact that the person they used was a TM practitioner, who could well have had a vested interest in the result. A good scientist would at least consider the possibility that the person being tested could easily have not been as relaxed in the earlier measurement because she understood the purpose of the test, namely to identify a unique TM related change. Where were the control test subjects?

Full credit to the Australian Skeptic’s own Dr Richard Gordon , the lone voice of reason, but I’d like to know just how much of what he contributed at interview was left on the cutting room floor.

I’m all in favour of relaxation. In fact, I regularly tell my patients that they need to find “a hammock swinging between a couple of palm trees”. I do mention meditation as one of the means of achieving this, as well as listening to music, walking in the park, lying in bed with a good book, going to the gym, and a host of other means to an end. What I don’t tell my patients is that any of these techniques will make them invisible, cause them to levitate, or treat any medical condition they have.

There is no ‘right’ way to relax, and any individual or group that suggests otherwise, particularly if that suggestion costs you excessive time and/or money, is linked to a quasi-religious belief system, or has associated claims of supernatural benefits, is to be avoided. If they offer to help you to relax then by all means think about giving it a go. If they try to tell you how to live your life, then walk away.

16 Responses to A Review of “Catalyst” on TM

  1. Randal Murphy says:

    Dear Skeptic Dude, with all due respect to the exalted tradition of skepticism, and in the spirit of critical thinking, I must say you’ve got quite a few of your facts wrong about TM. Critical thinking doesn’t mean projecting preconceptions onto a given topic and then presenting an interpretation that best matches your prejudices or world view. I’m not sayin you’re doin this, I’m just sayin…

    You state, “there is no evidence that TM produces a state of relaxation different to what can be achieved with a variety of other techniques.” Is this just speculation on your part? Are you basing this on hearsay, or what? Can you cite a single study to support this sweeping conclusion?

    I refer you to the large meta-analysis on levels of rest through meditation and relaxation techniques (American Psychologist 42: 879–881, 1987), and several other replicating studies, including a randomized clinical trial, that have found the TM technique to typically provide a state of rest more than twice as “deep” as ordinary eyes-closed relaxation, measured by reductions in plasma cortisol, basal skin resistance, respiration rate and other factors. Other mind-body practices studied have been shown to typically provide relaxation no deeper than placebo or eyes-closed rest. The effect size of the TM group in such studies is typically more than twice the size of other practices. Check it out.

    Your treatment of brain patterns during TM is similarly amiss. TM does indeed typically produce alpha waves, and as you say this is no big deal. But what is significant is the unique EEG signature associated with TM: frontal alpha *coherence* (see the recent issue of the neuroscience journal “Cognitive Processing,” 2010). There have been over 2 dozen published research studies on the EEG of TM practice, published in leading journals such as the International Journal of Neuroscience, that have replicated this finding. These studies do not take just one subject, but use control groups and adhere to high standards of research protocol, and are then subjected to the peer-review process. There is usually also recorded high alpha coherence from front to back of the brain during TM, and also intrahemispheric coherence. This happens not only in long-term TM meditators, but also in people who have been practicing only for 2 weeks. Long-term TM meditators show high EEG coherence (beta and alpha) during daily activity, outside of meditation. (“Consciousness and Cognition,” 8, 302-318, 1999; “International Journal of Neuroscience” 14: 147–151, 1981, and many others.)

    You also might be interested in the meta-study done at Stanford University on anxiety reduction through various mind-body practices, which found TM to be the most effective meditation or relaxation technique for reducing anxiety. (Journal of Clinical Psychology [45] 957-974, 1989)

    There is a new paradigm emerging in science about meditation techniques: they are not all the same. The various practices engage the mind in different ways and have different effects — this is nothing new to experts in the various traditions of meditation, but science is finally getting it. The scientific and scholarly literature has identified three types of practices: 1.) controlled focus (concentration techniques, gamma activity), 2.) open monitoring (mindfulness type practices, theta), and 3.) automatic self-transcending (techniques that involve no control and transcend their own mental activity, such as TM). These three categories are identified by distinct EEG patterns and the type of cognitive processing involved.

    I invite you to review the discussion about TM at http://www.SkepticsOnTM.org, and then speak with a certified TM teacher if you have questions — that is, if you’d really like to sus out the facts and truth about TM.
    Which reminds me of perhaps a better site you’d enjoy: http://www.truthabouttm.org. The authors of either of these sites would be happy to engage you in discussion, I’m sure.

    • Stephen Basser says:

      Randal,

      Thanks for the comments.

      I suspect that we will just have to agree to disagree. I look at the research and see inconclusive results, and you see something different.

      You are aware that there have been overviews such as the 2007 US review – ‘Meditation Practices for Health: State of the Research’ – that reached the conclusion that no significant evidence exists for health claims, and that much of the research is of poor methodological quality, and I understand you will assert that such reviews are basically wrong.

      You are aware that a review of meditation for addiction published in 2009 concluded its use was ‘speculative’, and found a high proportion of studies were done by researchers affiliated with Transcendental Meditation, and that there was a scarcity of randomised controlled trials.

      You will undoubtedly refer me to some other research done by non TM affiliated researchers, and so it will go on.

      There seems little point in the two of us engaging in this sort of tit for tat response.

      You could be accused of cherry picking in quoting the 1989 meta-analysis on anxiety, that suggested a benefit from meditation, whilst failing to mention the 2006 Cochrane Review that found insufficient evidence to support such claims.

      Likewise there is plenty of doubt cast in the literature on the importance of alpha wave ‘coherence’, and my conclusion is based on an overview of all the research, not just the bits that I like.

      Referring me, and readers of your letter, only to specially selected sites whose purpose it is to validate a belief in TM is not particularly helpful.

      The authors of sites such as the TM Free Blog (http://tmfree.blogspot.com/) or The Honest Truth About TM (http://transcendental-meditation-honestly.blogspot.com/) would also be very happy to engage readers in discussion, and answer their questions.

      Why you wouldn’t encourage readers to explore skeptical sites such as these I do not know.

      Perhaps, as you said it’s “projecting preconceptions onto a given topic and then presenting an interpretation that best matches your prejudices or world view”.

      “I’m not sayin you’re doin this, I’m just sayin…”

      • Randal Murphy says:

        Stephen, thanks for responding. You say your “conclusion is based on an overview of all the research, not just the bits that I like.” Honestly, have you reviewed all 600 published studies on TM, or even a handful of the hundreds of studies published in peer-reviewed medical and science journals? And to actually evaluate a given study, you need to read it and be acquainted with research design, a discipline in itself.

        Do you find it a tad ironic, suggesting that I’m picking and choosing research when the only studies you seem to find relevant, out of hundreds, are the three above? I’m not surprised that you’ve turned the “projecting preconceptions” conceit back at me to defend your viewpoint, because so far the argument I’m getting from you is based entirely on differing theoretical frameworks and clashing paradigms, and is not about actual research design or data. In other words, it’s not about science. What do I mean by that? Read on…

        Take the AHRQ report. One glaring problem with it (there are several) is that the type of research design the paper used (to justify dismissing hundreds of peer-reviewed studies on TM) is never used by real-world scientists looking at effects of meditation and other behavioral protocols on human subjects. For example, the double-blind experiment, typically used in pharmaceutical research, is one where neither the subjects nor the researchers know who’s taking the real medicine and who’s taking the placebo. This design could not be used to study the effects of, say, cigarette smoking, because people know whether or not they are smoking cigarettes. In such behavioral cases, scientists have learned to use other, more appropriate designs to control for variables. Otherwise, if only the double-blind design were allowed, there would be no science left showing that smoking is bad for you. Similarly, people know whether or not they are practicing TM. Double-blind and other pharmaceutical-type controls would not be used by researchers anywhere to study the effects of meditation. The same is true for evaluating research into the effects of diet and exercise, otherwise there would be virtually no science left showing that a healthy diet and proper exercise is good for you. The tobacco industry was not even brash enough to dismiss tobacco research on these grounds. Yet skeptics jump at the chance to dis meditation research on this basis. (Note: quantum physicists never use double-blind studies in high-energy particle research — it’s another mode of experimentation all together, using research designs valid and appropriate to the field.)

        There were other methodological problems with the AHRQ report, not the least of which was: it was not subjected to the peer-review process before publication. Look into the paper’s follow-up correspondence and you’ll see objections to the study, and not just from “TM scientists.”

        The Stanford University study on anxiety was not considered in the “Cochrane report” because it is not a randomized controlled trial but a meta-analysis. But there are several other RTCs on TM and anxiety that the study did not include in its analysis of only 2 RCTs.

        The Stanford study did not just “suggest” a benefit from meditation, it looked at 146 independent papers and identified several approaches, including placebo, shown to reduce anxiety to varying degrees, with TM being the only technique with an effect size significantly larger than placebo. To argue that the Cochrance report negates this and all previous studies on meditation and anxiety is a matter of sheer belief and interpretation; to sweepingly dismiss scores of other well-controlled, peer-reviewed studies places enormous (and I would say ‘undeserved’) faith in that one, small paper. Is this act of faith warranted? Is this “picking and chosing?” You can answer that for yourself, but to me such an act seems based on a premature cognitive commitment, not on scientific scrutiny of the larger body of research or due consideration of the theory and mechanism behind TM.

        If you were to look, you could find extensive data supporting the hypothesis that TM reduces anxiety. Searching for evidence that it does not, you’ve find these couple of deviating studies (which actually only suggest, according to the research designs used, that the data is inconclusive).

        There are also many research studies on TM which may not investigate anxiety directly but which study factors very much related to anxiety, such as the relaxation studies I mentioned, biochemical changes (reduced plasma lactate, cortisol, etc.); reduced incidents of heart attack and stroke; reduced high blood pressure; increased longevity; self-actualization; field independence; improved mental performance, etc. Physicians and researchers know that such studies are indispensable in evaluating TM’s overall effectiveness for reducing stress and anxiety and promoting health.

        I would like to see your references — from qualified, expert sources — for the “plenty of doubt cast on the significance of coherence.” This was true perhaps 30 years ago when the first EEG studies on TM identified the phenomenon of coherence, but with the advancement of neuroscience, today the current paradigm of brain research is better-positioned to appreciate the importance of highly coherent, more integrated brain functioning and its relationship to mental performance. But every scientific breakthrough must undergo a period of debate and controversy.

        Unless you experience it directly in yourself or via a meditating friend, you may never agree that TM reduces anxiety better than any other practice or provides deeper rest. But if you looked closely at the body of data beyond those 2-3 studies, you might at least see another side of the story. More importantly, if you *were* to experience ‘transcending’ for yourself, you might be pleasantly surprised to find that a field of enormous creative potential lies within you and every human being. Unfolding that human potential is all that TM is about. Why is that so bad? No one is making any money off of TM. Why such flack?

        BTW: To my knowledge, and I’ve been meditating for years, TM teachers and the TM organization never claimed that the meditation technique or its advanced practices lead to “levitation, invisibility, walking through walls, colossal strength, ESP,” etc. This is a confusion and distortion of the practice and theory. Such assertions you’ll find only on the anti-TM Websites you mentioned (sites replete with inaccuracies, which is why I would never recommend them). But reduction of hypertension (which you list along with these wild outcomes) is well documented through RCTs and meta-analysis (Current Hypertension Reports 9 (6): 520-528, 2007; American Journal of Hypertension 21(3): 310-316, 2008; Hypertension 26: 820–827, 1995, to name only a few…)

  2. BILL GODFREY says:

    within 3 weeks of learning TM I had quit smoking. I had second phase Ranoids syndrome, fingers turning white from cold and staying white for 1/2 hour after being in the house. Nothing known to medicine can cure the condition. It is greatly agrivated by nicoteen which shrinks the capilaries. It is now completely cured.
    It cured my asthma. At first asthma would clear up from meditating but soon return. Then be gone unless activated by extreme conditions. Now it is completely gone. The uniqueness of TM is that it can be don slouching in an easy chair and is efortless so it’s easy to do. When my wife as dying of lukemia her doctor told her her body was going into shock and there was no point in giving her a stimulent to combat it. Her body would just slow down until her heart stopped. She meditated all night and when the doctor took her pulse in the morning he said she was out of shock. She died of internal hemoraging later in the day. There is a very unscientific aspect to TM. It is esoteric and spiritual. The initiation given with the private one on one instruction opens a dore to the spiritual kingdom. Small minded men of science are closed to this.TM lowers th oxygen consumption to twice that of deepest sleep. This deep rest and relaxition orders the physiology. We say our mental state is closer to pure consciousness from which creation emerges in time so our physical state is more ideal. Really, this is quite undeniable. It is here and can transform lives for the better, however only a small percent of the population seem receptive to it as the author of the above piece atests he will always have a negative closed mind pretending to be scientific. There are angles abounding with TM.

    • malvickers says:

      Bill, you start off with anecdotes about yourself, science is not done that way. Did you consider cheaper methods of quitting smoking. I’ve heard that TM courses cost $12,000 how much did you pay?

      Don’t you think it might be a little dangerous to say that TM cured your asthma? What if it was just coincidence with you, many people do grow out of asthma. Perhaps it was just coincidence that you took up TM and your asthma symptoms eased, assuming your being honest with yourself about this. After all, saying TM helped you is equal to a survey of one, hardly definitive.

      Here are two counter anecdotes about people who were harmed by TM.

      http://whatstheharm.net/transcendentalmeditation.html

      What if people actually believe you, but in your case it was in fact coincidence and the truth is that TM does nothing for asthma? Would you feel responsible at all for anyone who died having given up their asthma medication for TM? I really think you should be far more circumspect before making claims that TM cures, smoking addiction and asthma.

      I’m sorry to hear about you wife’s death.

    • joe says:

      “the private one on one instruction” may constitute 10% or so of the overall instruction. the other 90% or so is in a group situation. this is how the tran. med. org. operates in order to save money that is
      needed to purchase property here & there and also to enrich the late maharishi’s relatives,
      the shivastavas, or a similar name.

  3. BILL GODFREY says:

    912 N. 18 th St.
    Fairfield, IA 52556

    Yes, I have gone through a wall and been out of body floating outside in the snow storm while I was at an advanced training program with Maharishi in Switzerland in 1976, I have celestial visions, but no claim is made that anyone can do this with the daily practice. The ignoramious who spues this negative article is unfactual and misrepresentative

    • malvickers says:

      Now I think you’re getting abusive calling Dr Basser an “ignoramious”. And I think your claim of being able to float through a wall is just silly and ridiculous.

      • Randal Murphy says:

        Whoaaaa. I agree, calling Dr Basser names is uncalled for. He’s obviously an intelligent, well-meaning thinker. Skepticism is a healthy, natural thing, and references to celestial visions and floating through walls is way beyond rational discourse. If TM really works, and if the theory of knowledge behind it is valid, then science should be able establish the truth of it beyond reasonable doubt. For some people, this has already happened. But I understand the objections; if one doesn’t have the experience, and if one isn’t familiar with the theory, it will take exposure to a lot of strong, independent data before the mechanism of transcending is accepted. TM, as I understand it, represents a scientific revolution in the way we understand consciousness, human potential and the mind-body relationship. As Thomas Kuhn famously said, scientists don’t easily give up an established paradigm.

  4. Seeker says:

    It seems that the author of this article is extremely well-informed about everything negative published about TM, and apparently that all resonates well with his own predilections. He insists on everyone else having their facts straight, nothing anecdotal will do no matter how striking the results. No hearsay will do, yet he says “I’ve heard that TM courses cost $12,000”. Well, where did you hear that, because you’ve exaggerated the truth by a factor of 10. Some advanced courses may cost more, but the current fee for learning TM in the US is about $1000, and exceptions are often made in cases of financial need.

    • malvickers says:

      Dear Seaker, with a little more reading yes, I agree the standard basic course cost for TM is $1,500 (according to Wikipedia). The ABC “Catalyst” program, is the reason the post was written in the first place, also says it costs $1,500 to learn TM. The advanced courses do cost more, but if you think I’ve mislead people by saying that the cost could be $12,000, then I apologies.

      My question to Bill about how much he paid to quit smoking is still unanswered (at the time of writing this comment).

      Minor point: I didn’t write the post, Dr Basser did. It was I that questioned the cost/benefit of TM in a comment.

      It’s still very expensive to learn TM. Even at $1,500 I’d still like to see significant improvement, for any of the many claimed benefits, in well controlled rigorous science experiments, well above the level of statistical noise.

      The points I’d like to make is that TM raises many red flags with skeptics.

      – It looks much like a cult or religion

      – It’s expensive

      – There are multiple claims of benefit, everything from relaxation and relationship help all the way up to the ability to levitate.

      If TM really is science, why hasn’t it progressed as a science?

      In April 1978, Vince Betar gave the Melbourne Age newspaper photos that he claimed showed himself levitating, he was a devotee of TM. This claimed stunt, to my knowledge, has never been repeated in scientifically controlled conditions, thirty two years later. How long should we wait?

      Whilst skeptics have been waiting for TM to progress scientifically, although the claims of TM haven’t changed, real medical science has moved forward, in that time:

      Developed genetic testing, found the main cause of stomach ulcers, has rapid tests to detect breast and lung cancer, developed the bionic ear, developed the cervical cancer vaccine…. I could go no much more but I think I’ve made my point.

  5. Stephen Basser says:

    Randal,

    Thank you for your further comments, and for a few little red herrings along the path to perhaps revealing your true position.

    I won’t be reaching for a calculator to add up for you exactly how many papers I’ve read, nor seeking your individual guidance as to whether they were the right or wrong ones to read.

    Having some sort of contest as to whose research penis is longer contributes nothing of any meaning to this discussion. One prominent anti-vaccination advocate I challenged a few years ago had supposedly read tens of thousands of pages of scientific literature, but this didn’t mean she wasn’t cherry picking, nor discounting or discrediting the ones she didn’t feel supported her position.

    You criticize me for noting only three studies that reach alternative conclusions to yours, but this criticism conveniently is missing the point.

    I wasn’t writing a research article, I was writing a short response to a television program, and was pointing out that I believed the program was not scientifically balanced.

    Given this context it is disingenuous of you to be expecting long lists of references. The point I was trying to make was a simple one – there are studies that directly question the conclusions you reach, and as such I encourage people to look further than just the papers you quoted.

    Put slightly differently, I believe there is sufficient scientific doubt as to the strength of the claims made for TM that it is worth someone who is interested in the area reading widely.

    How can such a statement cause any offence?

    I have no desire to control people’s access to information – this is not what a scientist does. Nowhere have I recommended people not look at the web sites you listed, I just recommend they also look at sites where they can be exposed to an alternate analysis of the available research.

    You, on the other hand appear to want to control the agenda, which causes me concern as this is usually what true believers do. You would “never recommend” the websites I suggested because they are “replete with inaccuracies”. Why are readers not allowed to reach this conclusion themselves?

    If you are so convinced in the truth of your position then presumably the facts will lead them straight to your door, and you have nothing to worry about? If the case for TM is so watertight won’t the inaccuracies you mention be obvious to anyone, and they’ll reach that conclusion themselves?

    Well, maybe not, because even if any of us manage to reach whatever your magic figure is of enough studies read it still probably won’t be enough because, as you kindly point out, we may not be able to ‘actually evaluate’ them. For this, I assume, we need to ask for your help?

    Just a tad condescending, might I suggest?

    Finally you try the world famous ‘you just have to try it’ furphy. How many times has this one been directed at me over the years? If only I would go to a Homeopath, or a Reiki healer, or a Psychic, or a Young Earth gathering I would see the error of my evil science–based ways, my eyes would open to the vista my closed mind has been blind to all these years, and all would be well in the universe.

    Randal, it seems to me you reveal your true bias near the end of your comments, when you tell me that “unfolding that human potential is all that TM is about”. I couldn’t find any studies looking at ‘unfolding human potential’, and this sounds like a fairly non-scientific concept to me.

    Thank you for implying that my creative potential is currently unharnessed because I haven’t discovered TM, and for offering to assist me in reaching my full potential though TM’s teachings and techniques.

    This is the language of zealotry, not objective science. Substitute any religious or quasi-religious group for TM in these sentences ( “unfolding human potential is all that Scientology is about”), and we begin to see eerie similarities.

    I’m happy to unfold in my own way, but thanks for the offer.

  6. paul rio says:

    the 1st TM mantra/technique is $1500. advanced
    mantras/techniques are the same price altho the TMorg.
    may have changed the “advanced techniques” before the
    Maharishi passed on 2 years ago.
    The TM-sidhis are now at least $5000. The value of these techniques must be subjective. I learned TM (the basic mantra/technique) when it cost much less. I would never suggest that someone pay $1500, nor do I plan on paying $1500 for an “advanced
    mantra/technique”.
    I have no idea how the TMOrg. spends this money or how they justify the prices. There seems to be some mental conditioning in the TMOrg.

  7. paul rio says:

    i spent a few months in Fairfield (TM center) in the 90’s.
    Up to this point I had been devoted to the TM movement. As it appeared to me most meditators must have experienced some level of mental conditioning, at least those in Fairfield. Despite the fact that the TMOrg. was charging several thousands of $ for various TM techniques there was no dissent, to my knowledge. My conclusions were thus:
    some TMers are from rich families, so the prices were a nuisance, but not destructive.
    some TMers were willing to work indefinitely to pay for the various courses/techniques,
    some TMers were willing to spend every extra saved dollar on an advanced TM technique. Perhaps they were sleeping in their old cars, or on public benches (not
    a good idea in NYC or Phila,); I have no idea how they saved the money to pay for the TM sidhis, etc. How the F… can a meditation movement talk about saving the world
    while charging meditators several thou$and$ for the variou$ technique$.
    I spent a few months in “heaven on earth” Fairfield, so I challenge any of you insecure ass holes to
    defend yourselves. Give me a fite

  8. paul rio says:

    Maharishi said that people need little food. So how do you explain that fat pig H.E. Bevan Morris? His Enormity?
    How much does the TMer spend on the various TM “products”? $10000. $15000? How much have you insecure XXXXXXXX spent? $20000? What part do you not comprehend?
    If I am wrong then I will admit. Can you(plural) do the same? [bad language removed by site administrator]

  9. paul rio says:

    i am apologizing for having used profanity/obscene language. altho i disagree w/tran.med. policies, prices, secrecy, mental conditioning and exaggerations i had no right to be savage about it.
    Neverless, i still maintain suspicions about the tram med. org. Exacly where all the tran med. money has gone is a mystery. The tran med. org. used to own a hotel in Asbury Park, N.J., and possibly in other cities (chigago,houston,denver etc.)Someone gave me a couple of issues of the “Tico Times”, an english language newspaper from Costa Rica.
    A subsidiary of th tran. med. org. attempted
    to buy lots of land in Costa Rica. The price was at least $100million, & probably more. They have $ to buy property here & there but still sharge fortunes for meditation

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