Archive for December, 2012

Transcendental Meditation May Help Fight Heart Disease—article on Chef Marcus Samuelsson’s blog

December 6, 2012

Here’s an informative article Carla F. Williams wrote December 4, 2012 on Chef Marcus Samuelsson’s blog: Transcendental Meditation May Help Fight Heart Disease.

We’re all familiar with the uncomfortable feelings stress can create. What’s even more important than the feelings, however, is what that stress may be doing to our bodies. The medical community links “psychosocial stress” to both the onset and the progression of cardiovascular disease (CVD), proof positive that stress affects our lives beyond our conscious feelings.  Plainly put, stress can indeed kill and reducing stress is key to protecting our health and wellbeing. The good news is that it appears that our brains may well have the power to positively impact our health by helping keep stress at bay.

Transcendental Meditation (TM) has been shown to reduce stress and help overcome the stress-driven contributors to CVD, including hypertension.  The beneficial outcomes springing from this mind-over-matter are so promising that The National Institute of Health has granted over $24 million in grants over the past 20+ years to study the effects of Transcendental Meditation and related programs tackling CVD.  A study recently released in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes tracked the impact of Transcendental Meditation versus health education on heart disease in a controlled sample of 201 African-American men and women who had already been diagnosed with CVD.  TM came in strong as a tool for helping improve the cardio health of the participants over a 5 + year period, significantly reducing risk for mortality, myocardial infarction (a.k.a. heart attack), and stroke along with lowering blood pressure.

The study authors describe TM as a “simple, natural, effortless procedure that is practiced 20 minutes twice a day while sitting comfortably with the eyes closed.” During this process, ordinary thinking processes settle down and physiological rest kicks in. Although the process may be simple, there was nothing simple about the training study participants received. It was quite intense with an instructor certified by the Maharashi Foundation guiding them through a 7-step course of instruction over six 1.5 -2 hour meetings with follow-up over the course of the study.  They invested hours in learning to calm their minds and their bodies, an investment that paid off.

The implications of this study and the string of similar studies go beyond African-Americans. The writing is on the wall for everyone.  Meditation and developing the ability to truly calm our minds might well improve the health of our bodies. Transcendental Meditation may not be on your radar but if you think about it, what’s not to love about a risk-free potential pathway to better health?  TM has a lot going for it.  Once you master the process it costs nothing, can be practiced almost anywhere and requires no special equipment.  It’s certainly worth looking into.  Your heart may just thank you.

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Read more about the heart disease study from the American Heart Association posted on this blog: Transcendental Meditation may reduce death, heart attack and stroke in heart patients—AHA. Additional news coverage is available at the bottom of the page. For more information on Transcendental Meditation visit www.tm.org.

The David Lynch Foundation provides free instruction in Transcendental Meditation to at-risk youth in under-served schools; veterans with PTS and their families; and women and girls who are victims of violence, abuse and rape. The Foundation will be hosting another Gala Event in Lincoln Center Thursday night, Dec 13 to raise funds for such projects.

See the musicians who will be playing jazz during this historic night at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall in the Time Warner Center, New York. www.changebeginswithin.org. Interestingly, Lincoln Center is also where one of Marcus Samuelsson’s new restaurants, American Table Cafe and Bar, recently opened. Read more about Marcus Samuelsson on his Amazon author’s page.

New: Thrive Global, January 24, 2020: Manage Your Mind to Manage Your Heart: Why Transcendental Meditation is Vital for Heart Health. Research studies show regular TM practice reduces risk factors for cardiovascular disease. By Robert Schneider, M.D., FACC, Dean, College of Integrative Medicine, Maharishi International University.

Study suggests meditation may help prevent PTSD—Boston Globe article by Bryan Bender

December 3, 2012

Study suggests meditation may help prevent PTSD

By Bryan Bender | Globe Staff | December 02, 2012

Norwich Rooks Meditate after classes

Lance Ostby, Rob Wetmore, Matt Miller, Aaron McDuffie, and Jeremy Ward practiced meditation following afternoon classes. Kayana Szymczak for the Boston Globe

NORTHFIELD, Vt. — It is part of a highly regimented daily routine at Norwich University, the nation’s oldest private military academy and a cultivator of battlefield leaders for nearly two centuries.

Dressed in combat fatigues and boots, a platoon of first-year cadets — “Rooks” — are up early in their barracks. On the orders of their instructor, the young men and women take their places. At 0800 sharp, they sit on wooden chairs in a circle and begin — to meditate.

The first-of-its-kind training is part of a long-term study to determine whether regular brief periods of silent, peaceful consciousness can improve troops’ performance. Ultimately, researchers hope the transcendental meditation training might be made available across all branches of the military to help inoculate troops against acute post-traumatic stress disorder, which has reached epidemic proportions and is blamed for a record number of suicides in the ranks.

For an institution that demands that incoming cadets exhibit physical and mental toughness, meditation training is a radical approach. The broader military culture had long associated meditation with a leftist, antiwar philosophy. Known by its shorthand, TM was widely introduced to the West by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the Hindu leader who once served as the spiritual guru to the Beatles.

“I was very skeptical at first,” said Norwich president Richard W. Schneider, a retired Coast Guard admiral who is among several university officials who have also been trained in the technique. “I’m not a touchy-feely guy.”

But the preliminary results of the study, now in its second year, surprised even its lead researchers. They have been methodically tracking the dozens of participants and several control groups of non-meditating cadets through detailed questionnaires as well as brain wave and eye scans to measure levels of stress, anxiety, and depression.

“All those things decreased significantly,” said Dr. Carole Bandy, a Norwich psychology professor overseeing the project. “In fact, they decreased very significantly.”

Positive traits such as critical thinking and mental resilience improved, according to preliminary findings shared with the Globe that Bandy and her team plan to publish next year.

The project has garnered high-level attention from the Army.

“Becoming more psychologically fit is just like becoming physically fit. It is better to do it before you are injured,” said retired Brigadier General Rhonda Cornum, a surgeon who until recently ran the Army’s Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Program and visited Norwich three times to be briefed on the work. “There seems to be no question that meditation is, frankly, good for you. I am very encouraged by the Norwich University study.”

(more…)


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