Posts Tagged ‘depression’

‘Tis the Season To Be Jolly … Or SAD? Article for Ageless Living by Helen Foster-Grimmett

December 14, 2012

‘Tis the Season To Be Jolly … Or SAD?
By Helen Foster-Grimmett

Tonight, my husband told me that this article lacked pizzazz. I said: “Sorry, my serotonin is seasonally challenged – no sparkle.” I find myself standing in front of travel agency windows mesmerized by posters of sun-drenched Hawaii, Mexico, Barbados. Mauritius looks delicious.

By Christmas – the season to be jolly – some people have been feeling sad, down, or downright depressed since the onset of autumn. And they’ll motor on through to the first buds of spring feeling the same way. If you are one of those people, you may be experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, about five million Canadians experience the “winter blues,” a mild form of Seasonal Affective Disorder. At least two to three percent have symptoms severe enough to be diagnosed as “SAD” – an apt acronym. People with SAD often feel a sense of happiness on a cloudy day when the sun peeks through the clouds, then deflated when the clouds cover the sky again. It’s as if the clouds are a manifestation of their minds. For people with SAD, those inner clouds can be dark, and they sometimes don’t lift until the spring flowers bloom and sunshine is more constant. The Canadian Mental Health Association tells us that women are more at risk for Seasonal Affective Disorder than men: eight times as many women as men report having SAD. Although the reasons for this are not defined, one suggestion is that women may spend more time indoors with their children than men and, therefore, less time in sunlight.

Sunless and SAD
Experts are not sure what causes SAD, but they generally link it to lack of sunlight. SAD is rare in those living within 30 degrees of the equator, where daylight hours are consistently long and bright. It is more common in northern countries, including Canada, where bright winter sunlight is sparse. Lack of light may upset our cycles and other rhythms. It may cause problems with a brain chemical called serotonin, which affects mood. People with mild winter blues manage to cope throughout the season. However, those diagnosed with SAD could feel more severe symptoms, including:
• Depression, apathy, negative thoughts, loss of self-esteem
• Sleep problems
• Lethargy, fatigue
• Overeating or little appetite
• Difficulty with concentration and memory
• Withdrawn – finding it hard to be around people
• Anxiety
• Inability to deal with stress
If you are affected by any of these symptoms, take heart: there are remedies that work wonders for SAD.

Relief for SAD Symptoms
Millions of people with SAD have been helped by the work of Dr. Norman Rosenthal, a world-renowned psychiatrist. Rosenthal and his team at the National Institute of Mental Health pioneered research that first led to describing Seasonal Affective Disorder, and the use of light therapy to treat it.

According to the Seasonal Affective Disorder Association in the UK, “light therapy has been shown to be effective in up to 85 percent of diagnosed cases.” Light therapy is now routinely prescribed for SAD in northern countries, but at the time Rosenthal and his team first used it, the results were dramatic. In his New York Times best-selling book Transcendence, Dr. Rosenthal recalls a comment from one of his colleagues. He had noticed a remarkable change in a patient who had been having light therapy for SAD for just one week: “I don’t know what treatment she is receiving, but she’s blooming like a rose!” A vivid metaphor for our need for light from the life-giving sun.

Dr. Rosenthal’s other guide for readers who suffer from SAD is called Winter Blues. This book provides a self-test that readers can use to evaluate their own seasonal mood changes, presents remedies for SAD, research on the use of medication, and new recipes to counterbalance unhealthy winter food cravings. A cautionary caveat: if you or someone you know is seriously depressed, it is imperative to seek professional advice, as depression can be debilitating or even life-threatening.

The good news? The incidence of Seasonal Affective Disorder decreases with age. So for all you seniors out there, as we approach the holiday season, ‘tis truly the season for you to be jolly!

Helen Foster-Grimmett writes on issues of health, education, and stress management. These days you may find her outside travel agency windows, looking wistful. Article references available upon request.

This is Helen’s 2nd article for the Canadian magazine, Ageless Living. You can read her first article there: The Answer To Cancer.

For more information on Dr. Norman Rosenthal, his work and books: Winter Blues, and Transcendence, visit: http://normanrosenthal.com.

Excellent article by Tom Jacobs on Meditation: Strong Preventative Medicine for Heart Patients

November 14, 2012

Meditation: Strong Preventative Medicine for Heart Patients

New research finds major health benefits of meditation for African Americans with heart disease.

November 13, 2012 • By for Pacific Standard

Meditation is usually thought of as a practice of healthy, well-off white people and Asians. But newly published research suggests it can produce hugely significant health benefits in a very different demographic group: African Americans with heart disease.

A study of that followed 201 African Americans for an average of five years found those who meditated regularly were far more likely to avoid three extremely unwelcome outcomes. Compared to peers participating in a health-education program, meditators were, in that period, 48 percent less likely to die, have a heart attack, or suffer a stroke.

“It appears that Transcendental Meditation is a technique that turns on the body’s own pharmacy—to repair and maintain itself,” said Dr. Robert Schneider, the paper’s lead author and director of the Institute for National Medicine and Prevention at the Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa. His research is published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

The paper was originally scheduled to be published in 2011 in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine, but was withdrawn just before being posted “to allow time for review and statistical analysis of additional data.” The AHA’s Maggie Francis reports that the paper “went through peer review, statistical review, editorial discussions, and the authors of the article were responsive to the review process.”

While, two decades ago, research from Maharishi University was often regarded with skepticism, the institution is now well-regarded for its scholarly work.

Schneider and his co-authors undertook this research in part because African Americans “suffer from disproportionately high rates” of mortality due to cardiovascular disease. As we have reported, this may in part reflect high stress levels, the result of living in a society where racial prejudice continues to linger.

The study was conducted at the Medical College of Wisconsin in two phases: From 1998 to 2003, and from 2004 to 2007. Participants were African Americans whose blood flow to the heart was seriously obstructed. Specifically, at least one of their coronary arteries had been narrowed by at least 50 percent.

The patients’ mean age was 59; almost half reported an income of under $10,000. Males slightly outnumbered females. Around 40 percent were cigarette smokers; their mean body mass index was just over 32, making them, on average, clinically obese.

They were randomly divided into two groups. Half took part in a cardiovascular health education program, in which they “were advised to spent at least 20 minutes a day at home practicing heart-healthy behaviors,” including exercise and eating healthy food.

The others were taught the technique of Transcendental Meditation, and encouraged to engage in this activity for 20 minutes each day. “Follow-up and maintenance meetings were held weekly for the first month, biweekly for the next two months, and monthly thereafter,” the researchers write.

The researchers followed up on the participants an average of 5.4 years after they initially joined the experiment. They found those in the meditation group were 48 percent less likely than their peers to have suffered one of three negative outcomes: a heart attack, a stroke, or death from any cause.

“There was a significant association between regularity of home (meditation) practice and survival,” the researchers report. “The subgroup of subjects who were regular in their TM practice had a 66 percent risk reduction, compared with the overall sample risk reduction of 48 percent.”

Regular meditators also reduced their blood pressure, on average, and reported feeling less anger than they did before beginning the experiment.

“This trial did not address the effects of other mind-body, meditation-type interventions on clinical events,” the researchers note. So it’s not clear if these apparent health benefits were the result of some specific aspect of Transcendental Meditation, or would apply to any regimen involving deep breathing and clearing one’s mind.

Nevertheless, as the researchers note, this appears to be the first randomized, controlled trial to find the risk of mortality, heart attack and stroke declined “with the individual practice of a relatively simple mind-body intervention.”

It’s some of the clearest evidence yet that reducing stress through regular meditation can have a positive effect on one’s physical health.

About Tom Jacobs
Staff writer Tom Jacobs is a veteran journalist with more than 20 years experience at daily newspapers. He has served as a staff writer for The Los Angeles Daily News and the Santa Barbara News-Press. His work has also appeared in The Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and Ventura County Star.
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Transcendental Meditation May Lower Heart Risk: WebMD Heart Disease Health Center

November 13, 2012

Heart Disease Health Center

Transcendental Meditation May Lower Heart Risk

By 
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Nov. 13, 2012 — Transcendental Meditation is good for the heart, according to a new study.

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health. It found that African-Americans with heart disease who regularly practiced TM reduced their risk of death, heart attack, and stroke by 48%.

Researcher Robert Schneider, MD, says those results should apply to the general population. Schneider is director of the Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention at the Maharishi University of Management (MUM) in Fairfield, Iowa.

“This taps into a universal physical phenomenon that is not related to race, age, culture, etc.,” Schneider says. “This state of restful alertness has restorative benefits for everyone. It’s a way to utilize the body’s own internal pharmacy.”

TM is a trademarked form of meditation. It requires training by a certified teacher to “settle inward” to a place called “transcendental consciousness.” The technique is one of the two pillars underlying education at the Maharishi University of Management, according to the school’s web site.

Health Benefits of TM

The study was a collaboration between MUM and the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. Researchers recruited 201 African-American men and women whose average age was 59 and who were generally considered obese.

All of the participants previously had been diagnosed with heart disease. Many of them were current smokers. African-Americans, says Schneider, have a 35% higher risk of dying from heart disease than the general population.

The people in the study were divided into two groups. While both groups continued to receive standard care and medication for heart disease, the study group attended a seven-step course in TM. The people in that group were then instructed to meditate twice a day for 20 minutes for the duration of the study.

Schneider says that the program was standard for TM practitioners and had not been modified for the study.

The comparison group received conventional health education. The people in that group were told to spend at least 20 minutes a day on heart-healthy activities.

Members of both groups were followed for as long as nine years.

In addition to reducing the risk of death, heart attack, and stroke by nearly half, TM also significantly lowered systolic blood pressure, the top number in a blood pressure reading.

Anger control and overall anger also improved. Those who entered the study with either high blood pressure or high stress benefited the most from meditation.

“What this is saying is that mind-body interventions can have an effect as big as conventional medications, such as statins,” says Schneider.

The TM group was expected to meditate 14 times per week. But the researchers found that on average participants only practiced the technique 8.5 times.

They would have done well to stick to their instructions. Those who followed the study guidelines more strictly, Schneider says, had even greater benefits. Their risk reduction was 66%.

Second Opinion

“In cardiology, we are always impressed when we see any effective intervention,” says cardiologist Michael Shapiro, DO, of Oregon Health and Science University in Portland. “But to actually show a reduction in overall mortality — that is really impressive.”

Shapiro, who reviewed the study for WebMD, says that its design appears scientifically rigorous and that its results are likely valid. But he says the study was too small to draw any definite conclusions.

“I am enthusiastic and cautiously optimistic,” says Shapiro. “Overall, I like the study, and it provides justification for a much larger study.”

Shapiro, who practices a different form of meditation, also says that more needs to be learned about what drives these results. He says the reduction in blood pressure, while significant, is likely not enough to account for all of the study’s positive outcomes.

“Meditation can do a whole host of positive things: reduce anger and stress, encourage happiness,” he says. “Who is to say that these are not the most important factors? This study can’t get at the mechanism involved. We don’t know how it works.”

A Cost-Effective Means of Prevention

Transcendental Meditation, says Schneider, is “a simple, effortless, and natural way to settle down to a quiet state of mind.”

But it is not free. According to the Maharishi Foundation USA’s web site, the seven-part introductory TM course that the study participants attended costs $1,500. Financial aid and sliding scale fees are available to those who can’t afford the full amount.

To Schneider, this study shows that TM is a cost-effective means of prevention.

“This is the strongest study ever done on meditation or any mind-body intervention for cardiovascular disease,” he says.

In July 2011, the study was pulled from publication in Archives of Internal Medicine, a last-minute decision made when one of the journal’s reviewers raised questions about the data. Schneider says that in the intervening time, the data was re-analyzed. Also, new data was added and the study underwent an independent review.

“This is the new and improved version,” Schneider says. It appears in the current issue of Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

Note: Check November 20 when the next issue comes out in print: http://circoutcomes.ahajournals.org.

Also see: Transcendental Meditation may reduce death, heart attack and stroke in heart patients—AHA

Science Codex: Meditation may reduce death, heart attack and stroke in heart patients

Meditation could slash the risk of heart attack and stroke (and make you less angry) — Daily Mail

Transcendental Meditation may reduce death, heart attack and stroke in heart patients—AHA

November 13, 2012

Meditation may reduce death, heart attack and stroke in heart patients

November 13, 2012

Study Highlights:

  • Twice-a-day Transcendental Meditation helped African Americans with heart disease reduce risk of death, heart attack and stroke.
  • Meditation helped patients lower their blood pressure, stress and anger compared with patients who attended a health education class.
  • Regular Transcendental Meditation may improve long-term heart health.

DALLAS, Nov. 13, 2012 — African Americans with heart disease who practiced Transcendental Meditation regularly were 48 percent less likely to have a heart attack External link, stroke External link or die from all causes compared with African Americans who attended a health education class over more than five years, according to new research published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

Those practicing meditation also lowered their blood pressure and reported less stress and anger. And the more regularly patients meditated, the greater their survival, said researchers who conducted the study at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.

Robert Schneider, M.D., director of the Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention and dean of Maharishi College of Perfect Health in Fairfield, Iowa. Courtesy MAPI

“We hypothesized that reducing stress by managing the mind-body connection would help improve rates of this epidemic disease,” said Robert Schneider, M.D., lead researcher and director of the Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention in Fairfield, Iowa. “It appears that Transcendental Meditation is a technique that turns on the body’s own pharmacy — to repair and maintain itself.”

For the study, researchers randomly assigned 201 people to participate in a Transcendental Meditation stress-reducing program or a health education class about lifestyle modification for diet and exercise.

  • Forty-two percent of the participants were women, average age 59, and half reported earning less than $10,000 per year.
  • Average body mass index was about 32, which is clinically obese.
  • Nearly 60 percent in both treatment groups took cholesterol-lowering drugs; 41 percent of the meditation group and 31 percent of the health education group took aspirin; and 38 percent of the meditation group and 43 percent of the health education group smoked.

Those in the meditation program sat with eyes closed for about 20 minutes twice a day practicing the technique, allowing their minds and bodies to rest deeply while remaining alert.

Participants in the health education group were advised, under the instruction of professional health educators, to spend at least 20 minutes a day at home practicing heart-healthy behaviors such as exercise, healthy meal preparation and nonspecific relaxation.

Researchers evaluated participants at the start of the study, at three months and every six months thereafter for body mass index, diet, program adherence, blood pressure and cardiovascular hospitalizations. They found:

  • There were 52 primary end point events, which included death, heart attack or stroke. Of these, 20 events occurred in the meditation group and 32 in the health education group.
  • Blood pressure was reduced by 5 mm Hg and anger decreased significantly among Transcendental Meditation participants compared to controls.
  • Both groups showed beneficial changes in exercise and alcohol consumption, and the meditation group showed a trend towards reduced smoking. Although, there were no significant differences between the groups in weight, exercise or diet.
  • Regular meditation was correlated with reduced death, heart attack and stroke.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. Death from heart disease is about 50 percent higher in black adults compared to whites in the United States. Researchers focused on African Americans because of health disparities in America.

“Transcendental Meditation may reduce heart disease risks for both healthy people and those with diagnosed heart conditions,” said Schneider, who is also dean of Maharishi College of Perfect Health in Fairfield, Iowa.

“The research on Transcendental Meditation and cardiovascular disease is established well enough that physicians may safely and routinely prescribe stress reduction for their patients with this easy to implement, standardized and practical program,”he said.

Co-authors are: Theodore Kotchen, M.D.; John W. Salerno, Ph.D.; Clarence E. Grim, M.D.; Sanford I. Nidich, Ed.D.; Jane Morley Kotchen, M.D., M.P.H.; Maxwell V. Rainforth, Ph.D.; Carolyn Gaylord-King, Ph.D.; and Charles N. Alexander, Ph.D. Author disclosures are available on the manuscript.

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute funded the study.

Follow @HeartNews External linkon Twitter for the latest heart and stroke news.

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Statements and conclusions of study authors published in American Heart Association scientific journals are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect the association’s policy or position. The association makes no representation or guarantee as to their accuracy or reliability. The association receives funding primarily from individuals; foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific association programs and events. The association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and device corporations are available at www.heart.org/corporatefunding External link.

Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. 2012; 5: 750-758. Published online before print November 13, 2012, doi: 10.1161/ CIRCOUTCOMES.112.967406. November 2012 issue. Stress Reduction in the Secondary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease: Randomized, Controlled Trial of Transcendental Meditation and Health Education in Blacks. Abstract | Full Text | PDF | Figures Only

Also posted on EurekAlert! http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-11/aha-mmr110812.php

Also see: Transcendental Meditation May Lower Heart Risk: WebMD Heart Disease Health Center

Science Codex: Meditation may reduce death, heart attack and stroke in heart patients

Meditation could slash the risk of heart attack and stroke (and make you less angry) — Daily Mail

TIME Strongest Study Yet Shows Meditation Can Lower Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke

Excellent article by Tom Jacobs on Meditation: Strong Preventative Medicine for Heart Patients

AHA Newsletter: News from the Heart: Update from CEO Nancy Brown for AHA Volunteers (11/15/12) features Dr. Schneider’s study, “meditation reduces cardiovascular risk”

And many major articles around the world, including reports by CNN, CBS, ABC, and NBC.

I also included a review of some of the global news coverage and the report in our university paper the Review: New Study Shows Reduced Mortality, Heart Attack, Stroke (Vol. 28, #6, November 28, 2012). You can also read it in this news post: Results of American Heart Association publishing landmark TM study.

Training from the Inside: Treating PTSD with TM

November 11, 2012

Training from the Inside: Treating PTSD with Transcendental Meditation

“I deal with pain every day. I have nerve problems in my leg and the PTSD that the doctors diagnosed me with…functioning becomes impossible, lack of sleep, your work ethic sucks, you can’t focus at work, you can’t do anything, everybody pisses you off…it’s different for everybody. Memories saturate your mind…for me every day is a constant reminder — you relive the same crap over and over and over.” – Sgt James Thrasher, USMC

“I myself have been deployed eight times and been to combat four times. I was diagnosed with PTSD, depression, insomnia. We fight through whatever problems we have, we suck it up, and I did that for many many years. The trauma that I’ve seen the situations that I’ve been through…you take all of that stuff and you put it in a bag and we keep filling up our bag with all these problems rather than dealing with them. – GySgt Richard Wilson, USMC

“What peaked my interest in TM was all the research that’s been done and how incredibly effective it is for trauma, stress…the evidence now is that in combat stress the trauma actually changes the brain so that the ability to self-regulate isn’t there. Meditation helps with information processing, helps with self-regulation. Here we have another tool that is fabulous and they can do for themselves.” – Anna Benson, PhD, Clinical Psychologist

“I was interested in the TM program but I was skeptical at the same time. The power of the TM meditation…it really came out fast and it was surprising to me. Having that inner peace after meditation really really emboldened me to deal with things that I’d been just kind of stuffing away. So to be able to have relief from agitation, have relief from anger, frustration, sleeplessness, alcoholism, drug addiction…that’s huge.” – Sgt James Thrasher, USMC

Uploaded by on Aug 28, 2012

See updated article with photos by Mario Orsatti posted on the TM Blog December 13, 2012: U.S. Marines Talk About the Effect of TM on PTSD.

For more information on the David Lynch Foundation’s Operation Warrior Wellness program please visit http://operationwarriorwellness.org.

For more information on the Transcendental Meditation technique please visit http://tm.org.

Since 2005 the David Lynch Foundation has shared Transcendental Meditation with our most stressed populations. The David Lynch Foundation runs entirely on donations and there is a long list of veterans and sufferers of post-traumatic stress eager to participate.

If you were inspired by this video and would like to make a donation please visit: http://www.operationwarriorwellness.org/how-to-help. Your donations will be used in 3 ways—to help active duty military and veterans suffering from PTS, cadets in training and activated soldiers, and family members of retired and active service personnel. Thank you!

Related news: Soledad O’Brien interviews Russell Simmons and Bob Roth of the David Lynch Foundation on TM for Vets with PTS on CNN’s Starting Point | Military Leaders to Promote Meditation at Iowa Summit to Help Reduce Veteran Suicide EpidemicMatt Kelley of Radio Iowa interviews Jerry Yellin about an Iowa Veterans Summit solution to PTSD | See video highlights of the Iowa Veterans Summit – PTSD and Transcendental Meditation | KTVO News: How one soldier regained his life with help from WWII veteran and TM for PTSDFairfield and Ames war veterans team up to bring meditation (TM) to fellow Iowa vets with PTSD | Mark Newman: Courier: Iowa soldier seeks peace of mind through meditation and medicationMilitary veterans speak on need to increase resiliency: by Diane Vance, Fairfield Ledger | Story County Veteran Once Suicidal Finds Relief from PTSD with Transcendental Meditation: AmesPatch article by Jessica Miller | Veterans speak out on post-traumatic stress, offer a proven way to heal PTSD | Healing the Hidden Wounds of War: open forum for Iowa veterans and their families affected by PTSD, sponsored by Operation Warrior Wellness | Post Traumatic Stress and How Transcendental Meditation Can Help [Infographic] | Meditation Improves Performance at Military University | Meditation Saves A Veteran From PTSD and SuicideDr. Oz on the Benefits of the TM Technique

Military Leaders to Promote Meditation at Iowa Summit to Help Reduce Veteran Suicide Epidemic

October 4, 2012

 Military Leaders Promote Meditation to Reduce Suicide
Epidemic Among Veterans

VA Funds Studies on PTSD; Iowa Summit to Showcase Benefits

Eighteen veterans commit suicide every day—
a horrific consequence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
More veterans die by suicide every year than are killed annually in Iraq and Afghanistan.

New York, NY — October 4, 2012: America’s veterans and their families are turning to meditation to ease the trauma of combat and pave the way to a healthier life.

The David Lynch Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charity founded by iconic filmmaker David Lynch to bring Transcendental Meditation to at-risk populations, will hold an Iowa Veterans Summit on Thursday, October 11, 2012 at the West Des Moines Marriott. A press avail will take place at 10:00 A.M., followed by the Veterans Summit from 1:00 P.M. to 2:30 P.M.

The Summit will present the research and clinical applications of Transcendental Meditation for reducing stress, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), substance abuse and suicide, depression and enhancing resilience and performance.

The Washington Post reported in May that the Department of Veterans Affairs, seeking new ways to treat PTSD, is studying the use of Transcendental Meditation to help returning veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Thousands of veterans have learned Transcendental Meditation. Research on veterans who meditate has shown that the technique not only reduces the psychosocial symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression, but also balances serotonin and norepinephrine, and regulates the sympathetic nervous system. Transcendental Meditation is used on the oldest private military campus, Norwich University.

Panelists at The Iowa Veterans Summit include: Dr. Richard W. Schneider, USCGR (Ret.), President, Norwich University; Jerry Yellin, World War II P-51 Fighter Pilot and National Co-Chair, Operation Warrior Wellness; Col. Brian Rees, M.D., Command Surgeon, 63rd Regional Support Command and Luke Jensen, Operation Enduring Freedom veteran and Operation Warrior Wellness (OWW)–Iowa Advisory Board Member. All panelists have extensive experience in using Transcendental Meditation.        

Bob Roth, the Executive Director of The David Lynch Foundation, stated, “It is imperative that we help veterans and the brave men and women still in active-duty deal with the stress that stays with them long after they have returned home. Transcendental Meditation is a wonderful tool that can help those overcome the stress and anxiety from the theater of war, allowing them to lead healthier, more resilient lives.”

Todd M. Jacobus, the Chair of the Iowa Commission of Veteran Affairs, also stated, “Reducing the number of suicides among our Army personnel and veterans today is a top priority of the Army community. Commanders and leaders at all levels of our U.S. Armed Forces are making efforts to remain engaged in the lives of our Soldiers in order to be responsive to their needs and issues, and to get them help. However, these efforts can’t succeed without the involvement of the greater community, including programs like Operation Warrior Wellness, and the Resilient Warrior Program.”

WHAT: Presentations will highlight program outcomes for active-duty military personnel, veterans, cadets and their families. Those invited include military and Veterans Affairs leadership, behavioral health officers, mental health professionals caring for veterans and their families, policy makers, medical researchers and educators.

WHO: Dr. Richard W. Schneider, RADM USCGR (Ret.), President, Norwich University; Jerry Yellin, World War II P-51 Fighter Pilot and National Co-Chair, Operation Warrior Wellness; Col. Brian Rees, M.D., Command Surgeon, 63rd Regional Support Command and Luke Jensen, OEF veteran and OWW–Iowa Advisory Board Member   

WHERE: West Des Moines Marriott, 1250 Jordan Creek Parkway, West Des Moines, Iowa

WHEN: Thursday, October 11, 2012

10:00 A.M.: Press avail

12:00 P.M. – 1:00 P.M.: Lunch

1:00 P.M. – 2:30 P.M.: Veterans Summit

You can view the event brochure by visiting, http://www.operationwarriorwellness.org/iowa_summit.

To arrange an interview with Bob Roth or Jerry Yellin, please contact Ken Chawkin at 641-470-1314 or kchawkin@mum.edu.

About The David Lynch Foundation
The David Lynch Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, was established in 2005 to fund the implementation of scientifically proven stress-reducing modalities including Transcendental Meditation, for at-risk populations such as underserved inner-city students; veterans with PTSD and their families; American Indians suffering from diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and high suicide rates; homeless men participating in reentry programs striving to overcome addictions; and incarcerated juveniles and adults. For more information, please visit www.davidlynchfoundation.org.

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Reported in The Gazette: Summit in Iowa to promote meditation to reduce suicide among veterans. Radio Iowa: Veteran shares story in hopes of helping others deal with impact of war and Matt Kelley of Radio Iowa interviews Jerry Yellin about an Iowa Veterans Summit solution to PTSD

Here is a newly published Letter to the Editor of the Air Force Times by Dr. Leffler and Dr. Schneider: TM CAN SLOW AGING EFFECT. Also see: Norwich University Studies the Benefits of TM on Cadets.

See video highlights of the Iowa Veterans Summit – PTSD and Transcendental Meditation

Norman Rosenthal spoke in Chicago on Light and Transcendence—alternative modalities to reduce stress, optimize health

September 11, 2012

Norman Rosenthal, M.D., was in Chicago September 5-7 to deliver a series of talks at various medical, educational, and public venues. His main theme was using Light and Transcendence as alternative approaches to reduce stress and optimize health. Dr. Rosenthal addressed 200 people at the University of Chicago Gleacher Center Wednesday evening, spoke on Thursday with staff and students at Stritch School of Medicine at Loyola, and talked with health care and other professionals as a guest of the Chicago Lakeshore Hospital at a Friday luncheon.

Dr. Norman E. Rosenthal is the world-renowned psychiatrist and author whose research in describing seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and pioneering the use of light therapy has helped millions of people. The New York Times best-seller, Transcendence: Healing and Transformation Through Transcendental Meditation, is out in paperback this month (September 2012), with a Foreword written by Mehmet C. Oz M.D., and a new concluding chapter, After Transcendence.

At the same time, Winter Blues: Everything You Need to Know to Beat SAD, which the New York Times called “a landmark book,” is being released in its revised and updated fourth edition. It includes a chapter, Meditation for the Winter Blues.

Stressful times affect health and happiness

Economic challenges, the feeble job market and information overload, not to mention the drought, conspire to stretch people to the breaking point. Everyone is experiencing some degree of stress and anxiety in their lives. In fact, the NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health) estimates that 40 million adults, one in seven, have some type of anxiety disorder.

Dr. Rosenthal pointed out the current epidemic of stress has resulted in cardiovascular disease as well as psychiatric disorders. It effects everyone from war veterans to the general public. “Having witnessed the mental and spiritual anguish of many hundreds of people,” he said, “I find the potential clinical power of this technique (TM) amazing.”

Transcendental Meditation—a simple effective solution

A Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Georgetown University Medical School, Dr. Rosenthal was initially very skeptical about the effectiveness of the Transcendental Meditation technique for beating stress and anxiety. After examining the research, however, he said, “I came to scoff and remained to pray,” paraphrasing a famous line from Irish writer, playwright, and physician Oliver Goldsmith‘s poem The Deserted Village.

Dr. Rosenthal at University of Chicago Gleacher Center explained three different categories of meditation and how they effect the brain producing different results

The former NIMH researcher explained three different categories of meditation and how they effect the brain. He said having the right instruction in meditation can make a world of difference in the results.

Dr. Rosenthal described research examining the Transcendental Meditation program resulting in hard evidence not seen with other meditation techniques. He cited improvements in cardiovascular health, reduced drug, alcohol and tobacco use, reduced PTS symptoms in veterans, and studies showing significant reductions in health care costs and utilization resulting from twice daily TM practice.

Mr. Ulrich Sandmeyer, co-owner with his wife Ellen, of Sandmeyer’s Bookstore, an independent Chicago bookseller, brought Dr. Rosenthal’s books to every event. He does this service for speakers 3-4 times a week and has done so for 20 years.  He said that Norman Rosenthal was the most compelling speaker he has ever encountered. Coming from Mr. Sandmeyer that says a lot!

Thanks to Carla Brown, Ed.D., co-director of the Transcendental Meditation Program in the Greater Chicago Area, for organizing these events for Dr. Rosenthal and for sending us some highlights of the tour.

Click on Transcendental Meditation Visualized [Infographic] to see this new post on Dr. Rosenthal’s blog. He says, “The infographic below is brought to you as a resource and extension of the book ‘Transcendence,’ which features some of the main points about Transcendental Meditation that I highlighted in the book.”

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Dr. Norman Rosenthal gives an engaging talk to medical staff at Northern Westchester Hospital

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Mark Newman: Courier: Iowa soldier seeks peace of mind through meditation and medication

July 30, 2012

Iowa soldier seeks peace of mind through meditation and medication

July 30, 2012

MARK NEWMAN Courier Staff Writer

War veteran Luke Jensen from Colo, Iowa, speaks with audience members after taking part in a presentation on post traumatic stress disorder Saturday in Fairfield. A civilian police officer and SWAT team member when his Army Reserve unit was deployed, Jensen thought he was too tough to suffer PTSD. Mark Newman/The Courier

FAIRFIELD — Military police sergeants, civilian police officers and SWAT team members are all supposed to be tough. Luke Jensen was all three, so when the stress of combat began eating away at him, he felt so ashamed, he wanted to die.

Meditation helped correct that desire — and he believes it could help other soldiers and veterans.

Jensen was asked by Operation Warrior Wellness to speak about his experiences with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) during a presentation Saturday on PTSD, the military and the advantages of Transcendental Meditation.

“The medical [tents] in Afghanistan were for 10th Mountain Division soldiers who’d been wounded in combat,” said the Nevada, Iowa man.

How could he possibly walk into that tent and tell a medic that he was sad?

He told the Fairfield audience that his base was hit their first night there. Gunshots, explosions and outgoing fire were nearly constant. And the things he saw around him were worse than he felt he could handle.

He couldn’t sleep, he was having panic attacks and in addition to worrying about himself, the staff sergeant had his men to lead.

“I thought I was tough,” he said.

But in a combat zone, his world was out of control. When sent to investigate a report of a little Afghani girl struck by a U.S. vehicle, he found the child dead near the road.

The upset family came to claim her. Jensen contacted the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division then kept people from walking onto the death scene. He had no translator. The locals were getting angrier and more numerous, not understanding why this armed foreigner would want to keep the girl’s body from her family.

Later, someone — Jensen never found out who — ran over and killed a nearby U.S. serviceman.

His nerves couldn’t handle any more. As soon as he was able, he decided to take his sidearm and shoot himself dead. When health personnel he’d sought out heard about his attempt, he was evacuated — which made him feel as though he’d failed in his duty.

At least he could move on with his life. So why did he keep thinking the most logical step would be to take his own life — even when back in the U.S.? He still couldn’t sleep. He still had panic attacks. And he felt a deep sense of shame — especially because while on a U.S. base receiving medical care, he saw the other soldiers who had “real” injuries.

Dr. Fred Travis, a psychologist in Fairfield, said PTSD produces an injury as real as any wound. Travis is the director of the Center for Brain, Consciousness and Cognition at Maharishi University of Management.

CAT scans of patients suffering from PTSD, he said, provide evidence that the brains of sufferers are different from those without PTSD. The effect is physical.

But Jensen didn’t know his brain was short circuited. He was taking medication for depression and anxiety, back in Iowa working in law enforcement. He still wanted to die.

When his police supervisors heard he was suicidal, they began proceedings to terminate him.

“Jerry Yellin saved my life,” Jensen said.

Yellin was a World War II fighter pilot who went undiagnosed with PTSD for 30 years. Transcendental Meditation was what helped him find relaxation and peace. When he heard about the young soldier, he called him.

Yellin got support from MUM and the David Lynch Foundation in order to provide a sort of “scholarship” for Staff Sgt. Jensen and his wife to learn TM.

Jensen thought it’d be worth a try. He had recently made a suicide threat, loaded gun to his head in front of his wife and five-year-old daughter.

The trip to Fairfield was worth it, he said. He learned to find quiet in his mind, which allowed him to relax peacefully for the first time in a long time, he said.

Dr. Travis said what appears to be happening with PTSD is that in a combat zone, the mind naturally must be super vigilant. One needs to be able to see every danger, lock that sound or sight into the memory — and avoid it.

With PTSD, every similar noise or sight becomes a life-or-death situation. Memories of danger are “locked” into the brain. Worse, parts of the mind are “short circuited” so that while the “problem-seeing” part of the brain is stuck in the “on” position, the “problem-solving” part of the brain is off. Desperation develops when all you see are problems — problems with no solution.

By meditating, TM practitioners are trained to go around that damaged part of the brain, Yellin said.

Travis said CAT scans show that, too. There is more blood flow to the frontal lobes and the portion of the brain that is generally considered to be “in charge.”

In a video about their situation, Jensen’s wife said TM saved her husband’s life. Yellin wants more soldiers to have that opportunity, and is working with the David Lynch Foundation as co-chair of Operation Warrior Wellness.

Like other parts of the body, the brain responds to exercise, becoming more resilient.

“If your frontal lobes are more developed, we believe you will be better able to deal with stressful situations,” said Travis.

Presenters said practitioners of meditation are also better able to separate the quiet of inner peace from traumatic situations in the outside world. The military is starting to take notice, as is the Veterans Administration.

Chris Busch, director of programs for the David Lynch Foundation, said the VA has commissioned two large studies to see if TM really shows results.

TM is not a replacement for traditional medicine, he said. It can be, however, one of the options doctors offer mental health patients on their way to recovery.

Yellin said Saturday’s event was the start to an effort to provide scholarships every veteran who needs TM.

For more information, visit www.operationwarriorwellness.org.

Also published in Journal Express of CNHI/SE Iowa.

Other news coverage: KTVO News: How one soldier regained his life with help from WWII veteran and TM for PTSD and WHO TV 13: WARRIOR WELLNESS: Healing Hidden Wounds  |  Des Moines Register: Fairfield and Ames war veterans team up to bring meditation (TM) to fellow Iowa vets with PTSD  |  Fairfield Ledger cover article by Diane Vance: Combat stress subject of public forum Saturday  |  KTVO: Veterans speak out on post-traumatic stress, offer a proven way to heal PTSD  |  Story County Veteran Once Suicidal Finds Relief from PTSD with Transcendental Meditation: AmesPatch article by Jessica Miller  |  Healing the Hidden Wounds of War: open forum for Iowa veterans and their families affected by PTSD, sponsored by Operation Warrior Wellness | TM Blog: “TM saved my life”—Suicidal Afghanistan war veteran who suffered from PTSD

Healing the Hidden Wounds of War: open forum for Iowa veterans and their families affected by PTSD, sponsored by Operation Warrior Wellness

July 10, 2012

Healing the Hidden Wounds of War, an open forum for Iowa veterans and their families affected by PTSD, sponsored by Operation Warrior Wellness, a division of the David Lynch Foundation, in Fairfield, Iowa.

Veterans are overcoming PTSD through meditation and reclaiming their lives. Meditation Saves A Veteran From Suicide is a video of Iowa veteran Luke Jensen describing his experiences in Afghanistan, how he tried to deal with his PTSD, and what finally worked for him.

After reading about Luke’s situation in a Des Moines Register article: Former undercover cop, MP battles PTSD: How Afghanistan service affected one soldier, Jerry Yellin, co-director for Operation Warrior Wellness, reached out to Luke and offered him a scholarship from the David Lynch Foundation to learn Transcendental Meditation.

As a result of learning to meditate, and the relief it brought him and his wife, Abi, Luke wanted to join Jerry in making this program available to other Iowa veterans and their families suffering from PTSD. They are organizing a special open forum, Healing the Hidden Wounds of War, to take place Saturday, July 28, 2012 at 2 pm in the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center in Fairfield, Iowa.

Iowa veterans can find relief from combat-induced stress and escape the self-destructive cycle of drugs, alcohol, and depression. To learn more, or to register, visit http://operationwarriorwellness.org/iowa.

Uploaded by on Jul 10, 2012

Some excerpts from the video:

“The first week I was there three soldiers got killed there….I was certain I wasn’t going to make it back home and I started thinking about suicide. I felt I was going to die anyway, so why be miserable day after day when it’s going to happen? I was just certain it was going to happen….I tried five or six different kinds of depression medicine, two or three different kinds of anxiety medicines. When I continued to try and try and try and things weren’t helping, hopelessness really was taking over and I still continued to think almost daily that suicide was going to be the option.”

In 2011, Luke Jensen learned the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique – a stress reducing practice, proven to combat the effects of PTSD.

“For the first time in I don’t know how long I felt hope….I don’t take anxiety medicine at all anymore….It’s made me a better father, a better husband. I’d consistently thought about suicide before I learned TM. It was the first thing to kind of get that away and get that off my mind. It changed everything.”

To support the David Lynch Foundation’s Operation Warrior Wellness program: http://www.operationwarriorwellness.org/how-to-help

Operation Warrior Wellness has been championed since 2010 by a coalition of meditating veterans spanning four wars. Their mission is to deliver rapid and profound relief to veterans and active-duty military suffering from PTSD, promote resiliency among military personnel and cadets, and provide much needed support to military families serving the rewarding but often taxing job of caring for their loved ones.

See this KTVO News report: Veterans speak out on post-traumatic stress, offer a proven way to heal PTSD.

A few related articles: POLITICO: Coping with PTSD  |  Post Traumatic Stress and How Transcendental Meditation Can Help [Infographic] Transcendental Meditation Drastically Turns Life Around For Veteran With PTSD  |  Star Tribune: Meditation brings peace to war vets  |  Ruben Rosario: Recovered veteran’s latest mission: helping those like him

Here is a wonderful  interview with Jerry Yellin and Lisa Cypers Kamen of Harvesting Happiness Talk Radio July 18th. You can listen online to Jerry Yellin, Operation Warrior Wellness and Debbie Gregory, Military Connection or download the the podcast.

Star Tribune: Meditation brings peace to war vets

May 17, 2012

Meditation brings peace to war vets

May 16, 2012 | Lifestyle | Star Tribune | Kristin Tillotson

Transcendental meditation has its detractors, but many veterans say it helps them with post-war stress.

Fernando Franco, who served in both Bosnia and Iraq, uses meditation techniques to control stress. — Photo: Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune

Like many veterans, Fernando A. Franco had trouble sleeping through the night.

A major in the Minnesota National Guard, he was deployed twice between 2003 and 2007, once to Bosnia and once to Iraq, with barely six months’ break in between. The place where he was stationed near Balad, Iraq, was nicknamed “Mortaritaville” because “we were attacked every day,” he said.

After Franco got back home to St. Paul, he was hard-wired to wake up at 3 every morning, the same hour that in Mortaritaville he and his fellow soldiers would start hearing the shells aimed their way and brace for battle. Once he woke up, he’d stay up, living in a state of perpetual exhaustion.

“It really affected not only my work, but my relationship with my wife and kids,” he said. Then he heard about TM.

Transcendental meditation, or TM for short, is hailed by its devotees as good for just about anything that ails you. Skeptics call it everything from a bunch of hooey to a brainwashing cult, but those who do it daily claim they feel calmer, have more energy and feel healthier, both mentally and physically, than they used to. It’s not a religion, they say, just a practice that reduces anxiety and improves well-being.

Now the U.S. military — not known for embracing the mystical — has taken note. The Department of Veterans Affairs has invested $5 million in a dozen trial programs studying TM’s effects on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), including one at the Minneapolis VA Health Care System.

The VA hopes to recruit 30 vets for the trial beginning in about a month, said spokesman Ralph Huessner, noting that it should not be confused with Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, a different meditation program already offered.

‘A part of the universe’

Franco, 49, works in human resources for Target Corp. No matter how busy he gets, he always takes 20 minutes twice a day, at about the same time every day, to meditate, using the discipline he learned as a soldier to strictly maintain his schedule.

“The only way to get the full benefit is to do it morning and afternoon, no matter what,” he said, “even if you have to do it standing up in a bathroom stall.”

TM practitioners call the state they go into one of “restful alertness.” Transcendence is achieved, they say, by repeating a mantra and emptying the mind. So how does it feel?

“There is a moment when you go into a void, an emptiness, and you feel a part of the universe,” Franco said. “It’s like in the movie ‘Avatar’ when the creature says they are a part of everything. That’s how I would explain it.”

He first heard about TM for veterans through Operation Warrior Wellness, an initiative launched last year by the foundation run by film director and TM advocate David Lynch.

“I’m Roman Catholic, but I’m very open-minded about Eastern philosophies,” Franco said.

In October, he attended training classes at the TM center in St. Paul. Six months later, he usually sleeps through the night and has passed his enthusiasm for TM along to his 15-year-old son.

“When you come back from war, where you’ve learned to shut down your emotions, you have to relearn how to be with your family,” he said. “It helps you not only to reconnect with yourself, but other people. I’ve also noticed I’m able to concentrate better.”

Some critics of the TM movement have accused it of being a religion, of amassing wealth for its leaders, and of brainwashing. Franco, who learned TM through a scholarship from Operation Warrior Wellness, said he’s seen none of that.

“I have never felt coerced into making this a religious path, and have encountered people of all faiths  who do it,” he said. “I have never been asked to make a donation.”

Although Franco said he does not have PTSD, he thinks meditation could help veterans who do.

“It’s different for everyone, and you still might need counseling and pills, but TM is one of the best tools for stress out there,” he said.

The draw of Oprah’s blessing

Long, white and stately, the local Peace Palace — which is what the international TM network calls its specially constructed education centers — sits just off a freeway frontage road on the eastern edge of St. Paul. Next door to an insurance office and a hop and a skip from Culver’s, the Maharishi Invincibility Center is hard to miss, an Eastern architectural presence in Midwestern suburbia.

At a recent open house, center director Billie Jean Billman led visitors on a tour. Since Oprah aired a special extolling the virtues of TM in April, Billman said, there has been a spike in interest. The center recently doubled its instructors from two to four.

“TM is not a panacea for everything, but it’s a non-pharmacological process that wakes up the body and the brain,” Billman said.

Two veterans who recently started TM, Sarah Ditto and Pat Watson, were also on hand to describe the benefits they’ve experienced.

“I was amazed at how completely calm I felt,” said Watson, 54. “It’s like pancake batter spreading across a griddle, slowly turning golden brown. You really are resting but awake. After I meditate, people ask me what I’ve been doing.”

“I was really energized after the first time I did it,” said Ditto, 25, who works with disabled veterans at the Metropolitan Center for Independent Living in St. Paul. “I went home and did a bunch of yard work. It’s helped me to focus better, too.”

Ditto likes to visit the center to do her meditating because its minimally decorated rooms are ideal for it. But, she says, she sometimes encounters a problem.

“I meditate facing Culver’s, and instead of my mantra I start saying in my head, Chocolate custard. Chocolate custard. Chocolate custard.”

Kristin Tillotson • 612-673-7046

For more information visit these websites:

www.tm.org and www.operationwarriorwellness.org.

Related articles: Washington Post: VA testing whether meditation can help treat PTSDPOLITICO: Coping with PTSD | Norwich University President Receives “Resilient Warrior Award” at National Veterans Summit in Washington, DC | Washington Post: Does Transcendental Meditation help veterans with PTSD? | Transcendental Meditation Drastically Turns Life Around For Veteran With PTSD | David Lynch gives $1M to teach vets meditation | David Lynch donates $1 million in grants through his foundation to teach veterans to meditate | Replay of David Lynch Foundation Launch of Operation Warrior Wellness Los Angeles | Post Traumatic Stress and How Transcendental Meditation Can Help [Infographic]


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