Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

New book suggests how governments can use meditation to help defeat the virus of violence

June 20, 2020

Summary: While it is now accepted that Transcendental Meditation (TM) can create peace for the individual, can it do the same for society, and if so, what is the mechanism? In An Antidote to Violence: Evaluating the Evidence Barry Spivack and Patricia Saunders examine peer-reviewed research suggesting that Transcendental Meditation can influence the collective consciousness of society, leading to decreases in violent crime and war fatalities, and increases in quality of life and cooperation between nations. (Source: EurekAlert!)

An Antidote to Violence

The COVID-19 pandemic has put societies everywhere under extreme stress, and collective stress is often a precursor to outbreaks of violence. Striking features of this global health crisis have been the collective anxiety of the population, the wide variations in the way governments have responded, and the varying degree of their success.

While there is significant scientific research showing that meditation has a positive influence on the health and well being of individuals, is there any evidence that large-scale meditation can can also reduce stress and levels of violence in society?

“Yes” is the surprising inference from the authors of a new book. Published June 26, An Antidote to Violence provides evidence that the level of collective anxiety and tension in society, or incoherence in collective consciousness, is the key element, which determines the success or failure of a government in tackling crime, violence, social unrest and ill-health.

Written for the social scientist and the lay reader alike, An Antidote to Violence offers answers to key questions, including: does group meditation actually influence society? If so, how does it work? What is the evidence? What do skeptics say?

Weaving together psychology, sociology, philosophy, statistics, politics, physics and meditation, the book provides evidence that we have the knowledge to reduce all kinds of violence in society by creating coherence in collective consciousness and thereby neutralizing collective stress.

Barry Spivack and Patricia Saunders describe how a rise in collective tensions spills over into increased social unrest, crime, violence, accidental deaths and hospital emergencies. They examine 20 peer-reviewed studies from over four decades, indicating that it is possible to neutralize or reduce stress in collective consciousness through the practice of Transcendental Meditation (TM) and its advanced programs by a sufficient number of individuals, which is amplified in groups.

Evaluating the Evidence

During the experimental period, U.S. rates of homicides, motor vehicle fatalities, drug-related deaths, violent crime (homicides, aggravated assault, robbery and rape), fatalities due to other accidents and infant mortality, all decreased compared to the baseline period.

These findings are more relevant now than ever before at a time of pandemic, protest, and social unrest. — Barry Spivack

“These findings are more relevant now than ever before at a time of pandemic, protest, and social unrest,” says Spivack, and offers three examples from the studies cited in the book. Each of these experiments consisted of sufficient numbers either meditating on their own or together for a period of weeks or months, and in some cases, years, in societies wracked by violence: on 93 experimental days in Lebanon between 1983 and 1985, Cambodia between 1990 and 2008, and USA between 2007 and 2010 compared with the previous four years. In each case measured statistically, significant drops in violence occurred during the periods when the numbers meditating were above the predicted threshold.

Foreword by Bob Roth | Introduction by John Hagelin

In the Foreword to the book, Bob Roth, CEO of the David Lynch Foundation, and author of the NY Times bestseller, Strength in Stillness: The Power of Transcendental Meditation, writes: “Barry Spivack and Patricia Saunders have opened our eyes to an entirely new vision of possibilities about human potential that is both sweepingly grand but also immediate and practical.”

In the book’s Introduction, Dr. John Hagelin, quantum physicist and International Director of the Global Union of Scientists for Peace, suggests “the existing research, while compelling and rigorous, presents a direct challenge to established mainstream sociological paradigms and may be difficult for some to accept. Even more rigorous and repeated testing of the theories presented here is therefore essential to ensure widespread acceptance of this demonstrated sociological phenomenon.”

Just as we must explore every scientific means for beating COVID-19, so we must follow every lead for defeating the virus of violence. — Tim Ward, publisher Changemakers Books

Changemakers Books publisher Tim Ward was struck by the book’s thought-provoking premise and explained his reasons for publishing it. “While the evidence gathered in this book is striking, more research needs to be done to prove it true. And that’s why I chose to publish An Antidote to Violence. Too much is at stake to let this possibility slip through our fingers. Just as we must explore every scientific means for beating COVID-19, so we must follow every lead for defeating the virus of violence.” 

Barry Spivack was invited to speak about his new book to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Indian Traditional Sciences in the UK, Sunday, June 21, the International Day of Yoga 2020. Speakers will include High Commissioners and Members from both Houses of Parliament. Conference proceedings will be streamed via Zoom, 12 noon to 5 pm, London time (6 am to 11 am CST). Dr. Tony Nader will speak at 12:55 pm (6:55 am CST) and Barry Spivack at 2:45 pm UK time (8:45 am CST). It will also live stream on Facebook under Indian Traditional Sciences.

Research provides evidence consistent with a causal interpretation

The authors emphasize this is the first book that draws on all the peer-reviewed research and looks at the implications of the research as a whole rather than just individual papers. “Compiling so many consistent experimental results may indicate more than a statistical correlation; it justifies further research into a causal hypothesis.”

Establishing causality in the social sciences is difficult. “Nevertheless,” says Spivack, “there are at least 6 reasons why the research provides evidence for the hypothesis that Transcendental Meditation reduces conflict and divisions in society, and improves economic performance, which is consistent with a causal interpretation.”

1) Repetition: There are 20 peer-reviewed studies, which show statistically significant results.

2) There is a dosage effect—the bigger the group the larger the impact.

3) The independent variable—the numbers practicing Transcendental Meditation—often varies at random in these experiments so you get a repeat effect within the same experiment whenever the relevant threshold of numbers is passed within the same study.

4) Studies have controlled for other possible causes in social changes, such as population density, median years of education, per capita income, the ratio of police per population, weather, holidays, seasons, political events, percentages of people in the age range 15-29, of the unemployed, of those below the poverty line, and of people over 65.

5) Normally unconnected variables, such as crime, accidental deaths, infant mortality, deaths from opioids, all move in the same direction at the same time when the relevant threshold of people practicing Transcendental Meditation is surpassed.

6) The independent variable—the numbers practicing Transcendental Meditation and its advanced programs—changes before the dependent variables change, such as crime or war fatalities or the misery index.

What people are saying about An Antidote to Violence

I was initially skeptical that such a simple solution could be effective. However, after examining the evidence, I changed my mind. An Antidote to Violence is a serious and well-researched book that offers an unconventional but effective peaceful solution to violence and terrorism. Lieutenant General Clarence E. McKnight, Jr, Former Director of Command, Control and Communications Systems for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Washington DC

This book is especially good at discussing the evidence and the alternative explanations that have been advanced for the results. I can recommend the book to all readers with an open mind. Huw Dixon, Professor of Economics, Cardiff University

Barry Spivack and Patricia Saunders address the problems of preventing violence and war with a high level of professionalism, and, by examining a means to achieve sustainable peace supported by long-term research, have created a book that is hugely relevant. Most importantly, they highlight the interdependence of power, violence, security, and individual and collective consciousness. This book will be extremely useful for people of all nationalities, regardless of their status, different religious beliefs, personal preferences and life strategies. The theoretical and methodological principles outlined here deserve to be studied carefully and disseminated in the world. Lieutenant General Vasyl Krutov, former First Deputy Head of the Security Service of Ukraine and First Deputy Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine

My most sincere congratulations to the authors for their research and presentation of this book. I hope it will be read and applied by leaders of government and by all in general for the good of society and each person in particular. Lieutenant General José Martí Villamil de la Cadena, former Chief of Staff of the Army and Commander of Ground Theatre Operations, Chief of Staff of the Joint Command, Vice-Minister of Defence, and General Secretary of the National Security Council in Ecuador

Based on hard evidence corroborated by rigorous scientific studies, …the book compiles an array of incredible success stories from all over the world in an easily readable style for all those interested in addressing the monumental challenge of eradicating violence and conflict. Ved P. Nanda, Professor of Law, University of Denver

###

RELEASE DATE: June 26 in the UK and July 1 in the US 2020ISBN: 978-1-78904-258-0 | $24.95 | £15.99 EISBN: 978-1-78904-259-7 | $12.99 | £5.79

Changemakers Books is an imprint of John Hunt Publishing www.johnhuntpublishing.com.

EurekAlert: New book shows meditation can aid governmental efforts to bring peace and heal divisions

Updates: In his presentation on the International Day of Yoga, Barry Spivack gave the example of how Mozambique President Jaochim Chissano adopted the widespread use of Transcendental Meditation and what it did for his country. See Ken Wilber said meditation can change the world. Jaochim Chissano showed it could – Steve Taylor.

Yesterday, June 20, co-author and Fairfield resident Patricia Saunders received her doctorate in Maharishi Vedic Science from Maharishi International University. In addition she was honored as the Outstanding Doctoral Student in Maharishi Vedic Science.

On July 8, 2020, David W. Orme-Johnson posted a comprehensive review of the book on Amazon: A thoughtful and well documented account of the greatest scientific discovery of our time.

This section powerfully nutshells an underlying issue, which involves a paradigm shift in the understanding of reality.

The Maharishi Effect is not everyone’s cup of tea, and this is how it should be. Science advances through a dialectic between conservative forces that try to hold on to the prevailing worldview, and evolutionary forces that try to expand knowledge to a more comprehensive framework that encompasses more of reality into a consistent picture, in this case integrating our understanding of the physical universe with consciousness.

The August issue of Enjoy TM News published an article by Harbour Fraser Hodder reviewing the evidence for reducing collective stress in society in An Antidote to Violence: How the TM Program Helps to Bring Peace and Heal Divisions.

Meditation Basics by Doug Rexford is the best short video intro to #TranscendentalMeditation

June 3, 2020

Meditation has gone mainstream. Many celebrities, business executives, and health experts practice and recommend it. In his short (5-minute) comprehensive video, Meditation Basics, Douglas Rexford explains the essentials and benefits of meditation practice. He covers the main types of meditation, their differences, and impact on the brain.

This well-paced presentation includes a wide range of visuals with highlights from some of the hundreds of scientific research findings on Transcendental Meditation (TM), and its use in health, education, business, and rehabilitation settings, including veterans with PTSD. Rexford emphasizes the effortlessness and effectiveness of TM practice, which can be learned by people of all ages. Enjoy the video and share it.

Surprising and Amazing Final Performance to @GlblCizn One World #TogetherAtHome Concert

April 19, 2020

This surprising and amazing performance concluded and highlighted Saturday night’s Global Citizen One World Together At Home Concert. The 2-hour show aired in 175 countries, in the US on 3 major networks (ABC, CBS, NBC), the BBC, streamed on Twitter, Periscope, then YouTube. The full 8-hour program, One World: Together At Home Special to Celebrate COVID-19 Workers, and individual performances are available on Global Citizen’s YouTube channel. They raised around $128 million!

Two of these amazing artists had previously recorded this song, separately and together on their respective albums. Earlier performances are on YouTube (with lyrics). This more recent one: The Prayer – Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli, a duet with David Foster on piano, is from Andrea Bocelli’s album, Concerto, One Night in Central Park.

Wikipedia: The album was recorded September 15, 2011, during a concert at Central Park’s Great Lawn in New York City. Bocelli was accompanied by the New York Philharmonic, conducted by its music director Alan Gilbert, and the Westminster Symphonic Choir. He was joined on stage by singers Celine Dion, Tony Bennett, Bryn Terfel, Ana María Martínez and Pretty Yende, instrumentalists Chris Botti, Andrea Griminelli and Nicola Benedetti, and producer David Foster.

Wikipedia: “The Prayer” is a popular song written by David Foster, Carole Bayer Sager, Alberto Testa and Tony Renis. The song was originally recorded in two solo versions for the 1998 film Quest for Camelot, in English by Canadian singer Celine Dion and in Italian by Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli. A duet between Dion and Bocelli later appeared on their respective studio albums, These Are Special Times (1998) and Sogno (1999), and was released as an airplay single on 1 March 1999. The song won the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1999 and a Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals in 2000.

Global Citizen is a social action platform for a global generation that aims to solve the world’s biggest challenges. On their platform, you can learn about issues, take action on what matters most, and join a community committed to social change. They believe they can end extreme poverty because of the collective actions of Global Citizens across the world. To find out more visit https://www.globalcitizen.org.

#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.)

Pages: 1 2

#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

###

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).

###

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.

###

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.

###

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.


%d bloggers like this: