Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

#TranscendentalMeditation researcher Robert Schneider, M.D., FACC, featured in Thrive Global

January 30, 2020

Based on Dr. Schneider’s recently published TM and heart health studies, which we publicized via EurekAlert!, Thrive Global reached out to us a few weeks ago inviting Dr. Schneider to submit an article on his work. It was published last week, January 24, 2020, in their Wisdom section. I added hyperlinks here to some of the studies mentioned in the article.

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

Students at Maharishi International University practice the effortless technique of Transcendental Meditation twice a day on campus.
Students at Maharishi International University practice the effortless technique of Transcendental Meditation twice a day.

My colleagues and I have long been concerned about the high rates of cardiovascular disease in the US that have spread throughout the world. Despite advances in modern medicine, heart attacks and strokes are the leading cause of death globally. One of the reasons for these high rates is the epidemic of stress in modern society. Early in my career, I studied the connection between psychological stress and high blood pressure and heart disease. This was a negative effect of the mind-body connection. About 30 years ago, I decided to investigate how the mind-body-heart connection could be positively managed with effective stress reduction, particularly the Transcendental Meditation® technique.

During that time, we and our colleagues at major academic medical centers in the US, such as Columbia University Medical Center, Medical College of Wisconsin, Cedars Sinai Medical Center and Charles Drew University, received funding from the National Institutes of Health and foundations to study effects of mind-body intervention with Transcendental Meditation in high-risk groups, like African Americans with high blood pressure or established heart disease. The results of this series of well-controlled studies, known as randomized controlled trials, showed that practice of Transcendental Meditation lowered high blood pressure, reduced insulin resistance (aka metabolic syndrome*), reduced atherosclerosis, and prevented abnormal enlargement of the heart (called left ventricular hypertrophy) in one of most recent studies. Some of our published pilot studies suggested improvements in blood flow to the heart and benefits to patients with heart failure.

A landmark study that brought all these findings together followed 200 patients with known heart disease over an average of five years. Half practiced Transcendental Meditation and half attended a class about cardiovascular factors. All participants continued their usual medicines and medical care. At the end of the study, the results showed that the meditating participants had a 48% lower rate of death, heart attack and stroke compared to controls. We believe that this remarkable result was due to redacted risk factors such as high blood pressure, psychological stress, and possibly cardiac enlargement. The results of reduced mortality in long-term TM practitioners were replicated in a separate study of older participants with high blood pressure.  All of these studies have been published in peer-reviewed medical journals, many in top ones like the American Heart Association and American Medical Association.

Based on these findings an American Heart Association scientific statement acknowledged these scientific studies and recommended that Transcendental Meditation be considered in the treatment of all patients with high blood pressure. And that’s a lot of people — according to the most recent guidelines, nearly half of all adults in the US.  The research is continuing, but I would say that if you’re at risk for heart disease — and that’s most men and women — consider managing your mind and body with Transcendental Meditation®. It’s easy to learn and practice, has extensive scientific evidence, and has other positive “benefits” for mental and physical health. It could save your life. For more information, visit https://www.tm.org.

*Video of Dr. Oz presenting TM research at DLF event.

(Click on Page 2 for a photo and Bio of Dr. Schneider.)

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#TranscendentalMeditation eases the busy mind improving both emotional and physical well-being

January 24, 2020

Transcendental Meditation – Helping to ease the busy mind

As the UK slowly sheds its prehistoric attitudes to mental health, meditation is coming to the fore as an accessible and achievable way of improving both emotional and physical well-being.

By Steve Holloway, Monday, 20th January 2020.

Published in Brighton & Hove Independent and Bagnor Regis Observer.

Nick Cave (Photo by Fred Duval/Getty Images)

The growing weight of evidence of its effectiveness in tackling all manner of mental and physical maladies make it an attractive prospect for all of the people whose internal monologue isn’t as measured or as supportive as they’d like it to be.

While business leaders have praised the way meditation helps them to deal with extreme levels of stress, the more artistic types have long waxed lyrical about it as a pathway to creativity.

I had attempted meditation in the past, in the less than stressful environs of Brighton Buddhist Centre, but enjoyable and pleasant as it was, I was unable to immediately tame my ‘monkey mind’, and blundered on with the chaotic maelstrom of life.

Mark Heath, a certified teacher of Transcendental Meditation

But then in June last year I was lucky enough to see Nick Cave perform a memorable show at the Brighton Dome, in which the engaging singer-songwriter espoused the benefits of Transcendental Meditation (TM), and cited it as a contributory factor in his continued recovery following the sudden loss of his 15-year-old son Arthur.

Cave has always been a hugely charismatic figure, but his openness and generosity of spirit in the face of such a harrowing experience, was remarkable, and he provided an incredibly positive and persuasive advert for TM.

Inspired by the words and positive actions of the former Godfather of Goth, I got in touch with the Brighton and Hove branch of Transcendental Meditation.

The worldwide organisation, developed by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and famously popularised in the UK by The Beatles, has taught its techniques to more than ten million people of all ages, cultures and religions, who learn to meditate in the hope of attaining inner peace and wellness.

David Lynch. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

Those techniques are simplicity itself, based on the silent recital of a mantra, whilst seated, for 20 minutes, twice a day.

Film director David Lynch, a passionate advocate of TM, has not missed a single twice-daily meditation in more than 45 years, and has said it has given him ‘effortless access to unlimited reserves of energy, creativity and happiness deep within’.

For Sussex residents the pursuit of that happiness begins in the suitably serene surroundings where Mark Heath teaches the principles of Transcendental Meditation in the cosiest and most welcoming of venues at the Brighton and Hove TM Centre on the northern outskirts of Brighton.

An enjoyable one-to-one session included a simple ceremony where I was given my very own personal mantra and immediately encouraged to embark upon the aforementioned twice-daily meditations.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

It was easy as it sounds. And within days, something resembling a meditative state, was, at least intermittently, accessible.

The following week I attended small group sessions with other people who had also just begun their Transcendental Meditation journey, where we discussed our early experiences and Mark, with great enthusiasm and patience, answered our questions.

He also explained the theoretical principles, which he said would subconsciously stop the brain questioning the process and help TM to do its thing.

The mantra is key, obviously, and TM accepts that you won’t immediately be able to banish all other thoughts, but in the moments between the mantra and random thought, will, hopefully, be the moments when you transcend thought.

The Brighton and Hove Transcendental Meditation Centre

There were also plenty of great group meditations (which are available on an open-ended basis after the course concluded) and Mark proved to be the perfect guide, full of warmth and the second great advert for TM I’ve encountered.

A month on from completing the course, and looking forward to more group meditations, I’m largely sticking to the twice-daily programme (sometimes life gets in the way) and noticing some benefits and hopeful for more in the future.

I’m miles away from the beatific glow which seems to come across Mark’s face the moment he begins to meditate, and I haven’t quite reached the joyful depths that David Lynch luxuriates in on a twice-daily basis, but I’m happy in the spiritual beginners pool and poised to go deeper…

To find out more about TM visit: uk.tm.org/brighton

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Here are two enjoyable articles by other UK writers. Both had tried different types of meditation and were in a position to assess what makes TM different and effective. Tara Gardner working in the US for Glam wrote: How Transcendental Meditation Gives Me Mental Clarity Like Nothing Else. Louise O’Neill in Ireland wrote this Good Opinion piece on Transcendental Meditation.

And speaking of the Beatles, here’s a great cover story on Ringo in Parade. It came out last summer on his 79th birthday. I excerpted his profound comments on life and TM in this post: What Transcendental Meditation does for Ringo.

@ladygaga & @Oprah discover they both learned #TranscendentalMeditation from @meditationbob

January 18, 2020

Two weeks ago I was watching this interview between Oprah and Lady Gaga during the launch of Oprah’s 2020 Vision Your Live in Focus Tour in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

Lady Gaga Talks Mental Health at Oprah’s 2020 Vision Tour. Lady Gaga shares a lot of her personal history and mental health situation with Oprah. She’s been living with a great deal of pain from fibromyalgia, explains where it came from, and how she is medically and psychologically dealing with it.

Oprah then asks her about the other things she does to keep herself spiritually sound and centered. Lady Gaga answers, “I meditate. I do Transcendental Meditation. It’s great. Bob Roth taught me.” Oprah says, “Bob Roth taught me.” Lady Gaga whispers to Oprah, “Isn’t he great?” Oprah agrees, “He’s great.” Gaga explains when she misses a meditation, “when I slip up on it, you know it’s not the best, because it’s better when I do, and sometimes when I get in a ton of pain and meditate, it goes away. Amazing!”

Some of us had known that Lady Gaga, born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, had learned Transcendental Meditation, but it was private. This seems to be the first time she’s come out about it publicly, to Oprah and her audience, and how TM’s been helping her.

After the interview, Oprah went backstage to personally thank Lady Gaga for her bravery, honesty and vulnerability, and how great their talk was. It’s on Oprah’s Instagram page.

I was so surprised by this public revelation that I sent it out to my newsletter subscribers and told Bob Roth @meditationbob, DLF CEO, about it. He hadn’t heard about it yet and was also pleasantly surprised.

Within a short time the David Lynch Foundation tweeted it and posted it on their and Bob‘s Instagram accounts. The video clip was also recently posted on Twitter by Maharishi International University @maharishiuni. By now, this video clip has gone viral globally, so I figured I might as well post it on my blog. Enjoy!

CBS This Morning’s David Begnaud reported on the Behind the Scenes with Oprah: Oprah kicks off wellness tour in Florida with Lady Gaga.

On January 7, 2020, CNBC published: Oprah, Ray Dalio and Lady Gaga swear by this simple meditation technique.

See Ray Dalio’s Principle of the Day: Meditate.

New study shows Transcendental Meditation prevents abnormal enlargement of the heart, reduces chronic heart failure risk

December 26, 2019

A randomized controlled study recently published in the Hypertension issue of Ethnicity & Disease found the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique helps prevent abnormal enlargement of the heart compared to health education (HE) controls. Also known as left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH), it can lead to chronic heart failure and death. It is twice as prevalent among African Americans. LVH and CVD death rates are double in African Americans compared to whites, possibly due to psychosocial stress. EurekAlert! Press Release

Changes in Left Ventricle Mass Index (LVMI) between the TM and HE Groups after 6 Months

After six months, the control group showed nearly 10% progression of abnormal heart enlargement (LVMI) while the TM group maintained their baseline level of heart size.

Transcendental Meditation prevents abnormal enlargement of the heart, reduces chronic heart failure risk

A randomized controlled study recently published in Ethnicity & Disease in their Autumn 2019 Hypertension issue found that the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique helps to prevent abnormal enlargement of the heart compared to health education (HE) controls. Also known as left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH), it can lead to chronic heart failure and death, and is especially prevalent among African Americans.

Risk factor for cardiovascular disease

Despite advances in medical care, cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in the USA. Abnormal enlargement of heart, medically known as left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH), is an important risk factor for CVD. It doubles the risk of heart attacks, arrhythmias, stroke, heart failure, and death from CVD.

Heart disease death rates are significantly higher in African Americans than in whites, in part because the rate of LVH is double in African Americans compared to whites.

The disproportionately high rates are suggested to be associated with the burden of psychosocial stress.

A recent scientific statement from the American Heart Association emphasized the potential for stress-reduction methods to prevent heart disease and premature mortality in African Americans.

Prevented further heart enlargement

The trial included 85 African Americans with high blood pressure who were randomly assigned to Transcendental Meditation or to a health education (HE) control group, in addition to usual medical care.

This trial tested the effects of stress-reducing meditation to prevent LVH in this high-risk population. It found that stress reduction with TM practice prevented heart enlargement in hypertensive African American patients.

After six months, the control group showed nearly 10% progression of abnormal heart enlargement while the TM group maintained their baseline level of heart size.

The findings of this study suggest that TM practice is an effective nondrug method for preventing heart enlargement in African American hypertensives who are especially at high risk of developing associated CVD.

“This is a form of heart disease where nondrug treatments are relatively understudied,” said Professor Robert Schneider, MD, FACC, first author. “Since the physiology of stress contributes to cardiac enlargement, we hypothesized that managing one’s mind-body connection with Transcendental Meditation might prevent the disease process.”

Use of echocardiography to detect hypertrophy

Echocardiography is a noninvasive diagnostic test that uses ultrasound waves to create an image of the heart muscle. Ultrasound waves that rebound or echo off the heart can show the size, shape, and movement of the heart’s valves and chambers as well as the flow of blood through the heart. It can therefore be used to detect heart chamber or wall enlargement known as hypertrophy.

Echocardiography was issued at the start of the study to both TM and HE groups. After six months of practice, repeat testing with echocardiography found that the HE control group progressed on cardiac enlargement while the TM group prevented further enlargement. There was a significant change in left ventricle mass index (LVMI) between the groups after the six-month intervention.

11% reduced risk of cardiovascular mortality

Komal Marwaha, M.D., Ph.D., coauthor of the study and an associate professor in the Department of Physiology and Health at MIU, Maharishi International University (formerly Maharishi University of Management) worked on this research as part of her doctoral thesis.

“By preventing left ventricle mass index progression in the present study, TM may reduce the likelihood of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality associated with LVH,” she said. “Patients randomized to practicing the TM technique in the current study had an estimated 11 percent reduced risk of cardiovascular mortality and an 8 percent reduced risk of all-cause mortality compared with the control group.”

Dr. Schneider, dean of MIU’s College of Integrative Medicine, said these reductions are significant. “These results suggest that an effective technique for stress reduction may prevent the progression of left ventricular hypertrophy and thereby help to prevent premature heart disease and cardiac mortality.”

Keith Norris, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine at UCLA, and one of the study’s co-authors, added: “We hope these findings will lead to more investigations into nondrug interventions for the prevention and early intervention of heart disease that are sorely needed given the high cost of health care in our nation and the impact of health care cost on low income and disproportionately minority communities.”

The research was conducted in conjunction with Martin Luther King Hospital and Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles, and was funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health.

Possible study limitations

Of the 85 original subjects, roughly 50% in each group were available for the final echocardiograph tests after the 6-month study period. The high attrition might have reduced power for some of the findings.

However, the attrition was not significantly different between the TM and the HE groups, thus reducing potential subject bias in the final sample. Moreover, the attritors and completers were not significantly different in demographic or physiological characteristics at baseline that prevented the occurrence of systematically biased treatment outcomes. No record of compliance for home TM practice was collected. However, the record of meeting attendance was significantly higher in the TM (80.6%) as compared with HE (50.2%) group (P=.001).

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Ethnicity & Disease: Original Reports: Cardiovascular Disease and Risk Factors Vol 29, No 4 (2019): Stress Reduction in the Prevention of Left Ventricular Hypertrophy: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Transcendental Meditation and Health Education in Hypertensive African Americans, Robert H. Schneider, Hector F. Myers, Komal Marwaha, Maxwell A. Rainforth, John W. Salerno, Sanford I. Nidich, Carolyn Gaylord-King, Charles N. Alexander, Keith C. Norris Ethn Dis. 2019;29(4):577-586; doi:10.18865/ed.29.4.577. Also listed on PubMed.

Related: PET scans show Transcendental Meditation with cardiac rehabilitation increases blood flow to the heart | Transcendental Meditation may reduce death, heart attack and stroke in heart patients—AHA

News coverage has been positive. The press release has been posted on medical news sites around the world. Johny Fernandez at CBS News in New York puts out a MedDay report on the top health stories in the news and included ours. It was picked up by KOLR 10 CBS News in Springfield, MO, on MedDay – December 27, 2019, and included in their Health and Medical segment. I cued up the video from their YouTube site. It’s also on their OzarksFirst site. It starts at 40 seconds in.

The January 4, 2020 issue of Enjoy TM News published: New Study: TM Technique Effective in Preventing Abnormal Heart Enlargement and Reducing Heart Failure. Risk factor for cardiovascular disease reduced.

Jan 7, 2020, Medical Research published a Q&A with Dr. Schneider: Transcendental Meditation To Reduce LVH in African Americans.

January 24, 2020, Thrive Global published: 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.

PET scans show Transcendental Meditation with cardiac rehabilitation increases blood flow to the heart

December 5, 2019

EurekAlert! Summary: Study finds coronary heart disease (CHD) patients who include Transcendental Meditation (TM) with cardiac rehabilitation (CR) increased blood flow to the heart by 20.7%. This was the first study to show TM significantly enhanced lifestyle modification in patients, and the first to use positron emission tomography (PET) to measure their effect on cardiac function and rehabilitation. The NIH-funded study was conducted at Columbia University Irving Medical Center in collaboration with the Institute of Prevention Research. See EurekAlert! Press Release.

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Can more be done besides diet and exercise to better recover from a heart attack, a stroke, or to prevent one? Scientists from Columbia University Irving Medical Center and the Institute for Prevention Research conducted a study, with and without meditation, to find out.

The study, published in the Journal of Nuclear Cardiology, found that patients with coronary heart disease who included Transcendental Meditation (TM) with their cardiac rehabilitation regime increased blood flow to the heart by more than 20%.

Titled “Effects of cardiac rehabilitation with and without meditation on myocardial blood flow using quantitative positron emission tomography”, the pilot study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and conducted at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, in collaboration with the Institute for Prevention Research. The research involved 56 patients who had coronary heart disease, including recent heart attack, coronary artery bypass, or angina.

First study of its kind

The project was a groundbreaking proof-of-concept study, in that it was the first to combine Transcendental Meditation with other lifestyle treatment modalities, and the first to use positron emission tomography (PET) to measure the effect of lifestyle mind-body modification on cardiac function.

“This was the first study to show that the cardiovascular benefits of lifestyle modification such as structured exercise and dietary counseling may be enhanced by adding Transcendental Meditation in patients with heart disease,” said Robert Schneider, MD, FACC, co-director of the study and medical director of the Institute for Prevention Research. “It also found that the Transcendental Meditation technique alone was able to reverse the effects of coronary heart disease assessed by PET imaging.”

Considered a gold standard for measuring myocardial flow reserve non-invasively, cardiac PET has diagnostic and prognostic significance in coronary heart disease.

Randomized, controlled pilot study

The researchers randomly divided the subjects into four groups: cardiac rehabilitation, Transcendental Meditation, Transcendental Meditation plus cardiac rehabilitation, or usual care.

The results showed that of the 37 patients who completed posttesting, myocardial blood flow increased by 20.7% in the group that did both Transcendental Meditation and cardiac rehabilitation. Blood flow in the group that practiced Transcendental Meditation alone increased 12.8%. Cardiac rehabilitation by itself showed an improvement of 5.8%. And patients who received the usual treatment showed a decrease in blood flow of -10.3%. Also see graph of Changes in myocardial flow reserves for the combined TM and non-TM groups.

Stress reduction therapies in cardiac rehabilitation

“Although this is a preliminary study, it suggests that managing one’s mind-body connection with Transcendental Meditation can improve the function of the heart in cardiovascular patients,” said Dr. Schneider, who is also dean of Maharishi University of Management’s College of Integrative Medicine.

He said that psychosocial stress is known to be a risk factor for coronary heart disease but that stress reduction therapies aren’t usually included in cardiac rehabilitation.

“More research needs to be done, but this study and previous research strongly suggest that medical professionals should consider utilizing this simple yet effective mind-body intervention in their heart health treatment and prevention programs,” Dr. Schneider said.

Possible mechanism

While it’s not known precisely how Transcendental Meditation would increase blood flow, the researchers speculate that it’s a result of improved endothelial-mediated coronary and arteriolar vasomotor function. That is, reduced levels of stress hormones and possibly inflammation may result in improved function of the endothelial cells that line the coronary arteries. They cite research, which has found that modifying risk factors for cardiovascular disease improves blood flow in the heart.

Limitations of the study

While the study suggests that the Transcendental Meditation technique can increase blood flow in cardiovascular patients, carefully conducted clinical trials with larger sample sizes are needed to confirm the benefit.

“This was a first pilot study designed to determine the size of the effect and feasibility,” Dr. Schneider said. “Of the 56 original subjects, only 37 were available for the final posttesting of blood flow after the 12-week study period. In addition, compliance with cardiac rehabilitation was average, with attendance at exercise sessions about 60%. Also, the subjects practicing Transcendental Meditation may have received more attention than the rehabilitation group. This initial study paves the way for full scale clinical trials that will more rigorously evaluate these effects.”

Transcendental Meditation also reduces risk factors for heart disease

Earlier studies have shown that the Transcendental Meditation technique reduces risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as blood pressure, atherosclerosis, and insulin resistance. A 2012 study found a 48% reduction in heart attack, stroke, and death.

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Effects of cardiac rehabilitation with and without meditation on myocardial blood flow using quantitative positron emission tomography: A pilot study https://doi.org/10.1007/s12350-019-01884-9.

PubMed: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31529385.

Some News Coverage

Within 4 days of posting the press release there were well over 12,000 page views on EurekAlert! Some significant science news websites that reported on the study were HealthImaging: Meditation increases blood flow in the heart, PET scans show; and PsychCentral: Transcendental Meditation with Cardiac Rehab Can Increase Blood Flow to Heart.

Gary Null discussed the need for prevention on his show’s podcast and shared news of newly published natural approaches for improving heart health. He included MUM’s study at CUIMC from 26:28 to 27:10.

Related: New study shows Transcendental Meditation prevents abnormal enlargement of the heart, reduces chronic heart failure risk

January 24, 2020, Thrive Global published: 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.

The February 1, 2020 issue of Enjoy TM News published: New Study: TM Helps Patients Recover from Heart Disease. Groundbreaking study reports increased blood flow to heart.

The David Lynch Foundation Is Helping Transform Veteran PTSD With Transcendental Meditation

September 5, 2019

Thanks to Cliff Sloan of Phil and Company for this amazing interview: The David Lynch Foundation Tackles Veteran PTSD with Meditation. This is one of the best discussions I’ve heard on the topic! Humane! Inspiring!

Cliff interviews David Lynch Foundation (DLF) CEO and New York Times best-selling author Bob Roth, and retired US Army Ranger and Boulder Crest Retreat (BCR) Executive Director Dusty Baxley on the power of Transcendental Meditation (TM) to transform the lives of veterans suffering with PTSD, suicide, and depression.

Bob explains the uniqueness of TM, how it differs from other categories of meditation, and the research behind it. The Foundation creates star-studded events to raise the funds necessary to teach this effective stress-reduction technique. DLF has made TM available to over 1 million at-risk students around the world, veterans with PTSD and their families, battered women, and other traumatized groups.

Dusty gives a dramatic firsthand account of how TM saved his life. After learning to meditate he could finally sleep and stopped self-medicating. He cleaned up his act, went to a veterans reunion, and learned of fellow veteran suicides and lost lives. (Suicides are now up 30%!) They saw a huge change in him and asked him what he was doing. He told them about TM and they asked him to teach them. He became a certified TM teacher and has been teaching veterans to meditate and reclaim their lives. TM is at the core of BCR’s veteran and first-responders program to develop Posttraumatic Growth.

Listen to this powerful, and sometimes humorous, enlightening podcast.

Related: Celebrities Russell Brand @rustyrockets, @CameronDiaz, @katyperry, and War Veterans Praise #TranscendentalMeditation | #TranscendentalMeditation as good as or better than ‘gold standard’ when treating veterans with #PTSD | Veterans who learn TM find relief from PTSD. New study shows symptoms had reduced by 80% to below the clinical level in one month | Norwich University, oldest private U.S. military college, benefits from Transcendental Meditation.

Op-Ed recommends TM for student mental health

August 9, 2019

The Scarsdale Inquirer published an Op-Ed piece by Margo L. Baum, August 2, 2019. Margo and I graduated from the same masters program in education at MUM in Fairfield. She asked if I would share her article. I offered to post it on my blog and added hyperlinks. Here is her story. It is very timely advice given the growing mental health crisis in America!

TM: A simple technique could help Scarsdale student

After reading the article about teen mental health (“Helping teens in affluent communities cope with mental health,” Scarsdale Inquirer, July 26), I wonder, what is mental health? Is it simply the absence of anxiety, depression and stress?

As a Scarsdale High School graduate, I understand the pressure to achieve. However, in my teens I wanted more than aspiring to good grades, attending an Ivy League school and making six figures. I didn’t know what I wanted until I found something that transformed my life.

At age 17, I learned a simple mental technique called Transcendental Meditation, which I have now practiced for 45 years. TM became a source of inner development that created a solid foundation of inner strength and bliss within me. From this experience, I believe the missing component of mental health for teens is inner development. I credit TM for providing me with an inner sanctum of peace and saving my life. Due to my experience, I feel the desire to help others lessen the stress of daily life, especially our youth.

As an elementary school teacher, I have witnessed the stress on students of having to gain knowledge of subjects and yet not be taught how to gain inner fulfillment. We train the mind and intellect of our youth to get into better and better elementary, middle, high schools and colleges. But, having achieved all this, are the students balanced, happy, loving adults? More importantly, is the journey from child to adult filled with love, happiness and a balance of heart, mind and spirit? Or is it a path riddled with stress, anxiety and depression?

I have watched students battling anger, low self-esteem, social troubles and academic issues change through instruction in TM. Students around the world have learned this simple mental technique and have had their lives transformed.

Students at The Thacher School, the oldest coed private boarding school for high school students in California, face many of the same issues that impact students from affluent communities: the stress of standardized tests, the pressure to get into good colleges, massive amounts of homework due daily, the pressure to excel in sports, etc.

Thacher students learned TM and found positive results. Michael K. Mulligan, head of the school, said, “Students today are under more pressure than ever to succeed. Standardized testing and grades play increasingly important roles in secondary and college placement outcomes — and many of our youngsters and teens are showing signs of folding under the stress of homework, grades, testing and parental expectations. Our kids need a break, and Transcendental Meditation is one great answer to helping them find rest, peace and calm. Simple, easy and effective, TM has provided for our students … a critical time-out from the stresses of the day. Our students who learned this technique last year report more peace and silence in their day and more resilience in their activities. It has been a gift and a blessing in their lives.”

The use of meditation as an intervention may seem ridiculous to some. Yet, many of the greatest ideas and inventions of our times started out as seemingly insane. For example, my father, the late Dr. Gilbert Baum, was a pioneer in diagnostic ultrasound. The chief of staff at the Veterans Administration Hospital, where my father did his research, told my dad, “Baum, I thought you were certifiable to think you could use sound to see.” 

A new paradigm in imaging in the health field came about due to my father’s endless zeal to follow what he knew to be beneficial to the world. 

TM has been scientifically validated in more than 600 research studies to reduce stress, anxiety, anger and depression. The research also indicates a greater sense of inner calm develops and a stronger sense of self. In some cases insomnia is alleviated.

The David Lynch Foundation has given TM to veterans, domestic violence victims, and students in schools around the world, transforming the lives of individuals from darkness to light.

Why not give TM to SHS students to develop inner contentment? Why not create a new paradigm of mental health for our youth? When inner development and outer achievement go hand in hand, the result will be true mental health for Scarsdale students.

Margo L. Baum, of Brite Avenue, received her bachelor’s in education from Boston University and her master’s in education from Maharishi University of Management, an accredited university in Fairfield, Iowa. She has taught elementary school and creative writing workshops around the world.

What Transcendental Meditation does for Ringo

July 10, 2019

Sunday, July 7, 2019 was Ringo Starr’s 79th birthday. He asks everyone wherever they are at noon that day to make the peace sign and say “Peace and Love,” what he wishes for the whole world. Here he is on the cover of Parade Magazine on his birthday. I highlighted some Q&As that caught my attention. You can read the whole article here.

Ringo talks peace & love, sobriety, turning 79, drumming in The Beatles, plus, what he really thought of Yoko Ono, in this week’s cover story.

After answering a question about why he always flashes the peace sign, Ringo gives a brilliant and succinct description of Transcendental Meditation, what it does for him, and why he starts his day with it! He clearly describes transcending, which allows his busy thinking mind to settle down and experience the unbounded state of just being.

Why has the message of peace and love become so important to you? You’re rarely photographed without flashing the peace sign.

I loved the mid-’60s, when all this peace and love started. [The Beatles] went right along with it. The press used to give me a hard time: “Oh, he’s doing that peace and love thing again.” But I’m only peace-and-loving. And they still like to sh-t on me! It’s connected to the Maharishi [the Indian spiritual leader the Beatles famously visited in 1968]. If you think to do good, then the planet will support you. It’s like a pebble in the ocean; it’s rippling out. And it will get to shore. But you can’t be impatient [laughs].

The mindfulness aspect of your peace-and-love message connects to meditation, which has become a major part of your life. What does it do for you?

It gives me a break from myself. Some days there’s absolute peacefulness and a feeling that I’ve been somewhere away, and I only know that because I come back. It’s very important for me to “not think.” I do enough thinking. You can just “be.” It’s a transcendent feeling. That’s why they call it Transcendental Meditation!

How do you stay in such great shape?

I get up in the morning and I meditate. I go to the gym and I have a trainer, and I work out myself too, when I’m on the road. I’m a vegetarian. When we’re on tour, to get out of the hotel, I usually go to the local organic shop just to see what they’ve got. But I’m only a vegetarian, not a vegan. I eat goat cheese. A vegan is very hard, and they eat a lot of sugar. I’m careful about sugar.

Ringo is a humble guy. I thought this last quote from 10 Inspiring Ringo Starr Quotes About Peace, Love and the Beatles was very enlightening!

10. “I’ve never really done anything to create what has happened. It creates itself. I’m here because it happened. But I didn’t do anything to make it happen apart from saying ‘Yes.’”

If you’re interested in learning more about TM, now is the time. See Transcendental Meditation Turns 60.

Enjoy this in-depth interview between Ringo and TM teacher and CEO of the David Lynch Foundation, Bob Roth. It was recorded a few years ago for Bob’s Sirius XM radio show “Success Without Stress.” The Foundation had honored Ringo with a Lifetime of Peace and Love Award.

Ringo Starr discussed meeting Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, how he came to write the Beatles popular Octupus’s Garden song (years later made into a colorful children’s book), inspiring others to meditate, and bringing Transcendental Meditation into schools.

Of David Lynch and the global efforts of his Foundation, Ringo said, “My sense of David and his work is brilliant. The big one for me, of course, is bringing meditation to schools and how they know from the research that the violence goes down. How far-out is that? And the Foundation goes into tough schools. That is incredible. You have to support David for that.”

A month later: ‘Dear Prudence’ Bruns in Parade discusses world peace, the ’60s, and why kids love the Beatles. Feb 19, 2020: @ParadeMagazine asks @meditationbob what makes #TranscendentalMeditation so special.

Some Highlights of Bob Roth’s TM Tour in Canada

July 4, 2019

Bob Roth’s tour of Canada covered 3 cities: Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal. David Lynch joined Roth via Skype for live presentations on Consciousness & Creativity. Bob did a range of interviews for each city.

I have to say, as a Canadian living in the United States, I was equally impressed with the friendly hospitality of the Canadian interviewers, and the relaxed expertise of Bob Roth as he effortlessly delivered information-packed answers while keeping it light and fun. A pleasure to read and watch! Here are media highlights with descriptions and links.

The Vancouver Sun

On May 17, 2019: Dana Gee, a journalist for Postmedia Network Inc., posted an excellent article for the Vancouver Sun. She had interviewed Bob Roth ahead of his visit to Vancouver with David Lynch via video link. The Province, then other publications across Canada, also ran the article. Like the print editions, the online versions contain photos of Bob Roth and David Lynch, but also include a video of Ellen interviewing Bob on her show about his new book and what TM has done for her.

The actual title in the newspaper is MEDITATE ON THIS in large bold letters at the top, and underneath the subheading, Strength in Stillness is food for thought in battle against our own stress, which is the online article title. The second page has the bold heading: MEDICINE OF THE MIND, with the cover of Bob’s book, Strength in Stillness — The Power of Transcendental Meditation, and the rest of the well-written article.

Breakfast Television Vancouver

Breakfast Television Vancouver host Riaz Meghji with TM expert Bob Roth

On May 24, 2019: Bob was on Citytv’s Breakfast Television Vancouver with host Riaz Meghji. The two of them really hit it off. It was an excellent lively discussion! See: The Science Of Transcendental Meditation. In ‘Strength in Stillness’, Bob Roth breaks down the science behind Transcendental Meditation in a new, accessible way. He highlights how TM is an effective and efficient way to reduce stress, access inner power, and build resilience. Click to watch it in full-screen mode.

Morning Live in Vancouver

Bob Roth on CTV News Morning Live in Vancouver

Bob Roth also joined 3 newscasters at CTV News Morning Live in Vancouver to discuss TM and DLF in Canada, and that evening’s event with David Lynch. You can watch the lively discussion here.

CTV ETalk in Toronto

While in Toronto Bob taped an interview on CTV’s ETalk, Canada’s #1 Entertainment Show, which aired mid-June. See the short edited (1:39) info-visual-packed video: Stars can’t get enough of this meditation guru.

The Morning Show in Toronto

The Morning Show hosts Jeff McArthur and Carolyn MacKenzie with Bob Roth

Bob taped a 10-minute segment for the national half hour Global TV News The Morning Show, which aired July 4. Meditation guru to the stars @meditationbob stopped by to tell us about the power of Transcendental Meditation and how it’s transformed lives!

The delightful hosts Jeff McArthur and Carolyn MacKenzie asked practical questions about TM and the David Lynch Foundation, and enjoyed Bob’s informative answers. They closed the interview with a fun question about meditating with Ellen at her house, and why she wanted to learn.

Watch the setup, Serenity Now: Meditate Like A Celeb, a 10-second intro (12:54-13:04) with photos of Jerry Seinfeld, Hugh Jackman, and Katy Perry; followed by the 7-minute interview (13:10-20:10).

NOMAD Life TV in Montreal

NOMAD Life TV meditating host Jason Rodi asked Bob Roth great questions

On JUNE 2 Jason Rodi welcomed Bob Roth to NOMAD Life TV for an interview on Transcendental Meditation during his Montreal visit, the last leg of his Canadian TM Tour. The timing couldn’t be better for the release of La Force du Silence, the Québécois version of his best-selling book, Strength in Stillness, with an introduction by Dr. Guy-Paul Gagné.

The Natasha Hall Show in Montreal

On June 3 Bob was interviewed on Montreal’s popular CJAD radio morning program, The Natasha Hall Show. It was excellent! Unfortunately it hasn’t been archived yet to enjoy.

Dr. Schneider addresses doctors on the role of managing the mind to manage the aging process

June 11, 2019

Dr. Robert Schneider addressed medical doctors at a conference of the Age Management Medicine Group in Miami, Florida, April 2019. The Review spoke with Dr. Schneider about his presentation and published an article on page 2 of the May 15, 2019 issue (Vol. 34, #15, Maharishi University of Management). A video of his talk is embedded below.

Dr. Schneider Addresses Doctors on the Role of the Mind in Aging

Hundreds of medical doctors specializing in age-management medicine learned about the role of the mind in modulating the aging process thanks to a plenary address by Robert Schneider, MD, FACC, dean of the College of Integrative Medicine.

At a conference of the Age Management Medicine Group held last month in Miami, Dr. Schneider explained how stress, such as anxiety, depression, and social isolation, accelerates the aging process by causing physiological damage, including inflammation and free radicals. These in turn damage telomeres, parts of the DNA that protect cells from premature aging.

“The doctors were very interested to hear how the mind-body connection can speed up or slow down the aging process,” said Dr. Schneider. “I explained that one needs to manage the mind to manage the aging process.”

Dr. Schneider then spoke about the research on the Transcendental Meditation® technique showing that it mitigates a range of physiological conditions associated with aging.

For example, it reduces harmful free radicals, lowers blood pressure and other cardiovascular risk factors, and increases telomere repair. He then pointed out that indeed research shows reduced mortality rates in subjects who practice the Transcendental Meditation technique.

“The contribution of lifestyle to aging is becoming a major theme in contemporary medicine, so these physicians were fascinated to hear how Transcendental Meditation can modify aging,” Dr. Schneider said. “This was the only session to show research on how science supports the mind-body connection. My talk spoke to their desire for evidence-based recommendations in mind-management medicine.”

Medical doctors can now become certified in age-management medicine. The physicians at the conference received continuing medical education credit for participating in Dr. Schneider’s presentation.

A video of Dr. Schneider’s presentation, The Role of Stress & Stress Reduction in Age Management Medicine, is now available for viewing.

Takeaway: If doctors want to practice evidence-based age-management medicine they should learn TM and prescribe it for their patients.

See more about Dr. Robert Schneider on this blog.


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