Posts Tagged ‘Alternative Medicine’

Veterans who learn TM find relief from PTSD. New study shows symptoms had reduced by 80% to below the clinical level in one month

January 11, 2018

SUMMARY: A study published in Military Medicine showed that after 30 days of practicing the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique, 80% of the 46 veterans and active-duty personnel no longer had PTSD. All participants had been clinically diagnosed with PTSD using a standard assessment. By comparison, standard treatments for PTSD—prolonged exposure therapy, cognitive processing therapy, and medication—are only partially successful: approximately two-thirds of patients receiving cognitive processing therapy or prolonged exposure still have PTSD after treatment.¹

PTSD Graph (figure 1)

Participants in the study went from an average PCL-5 pretest score of 51.52 (with a score of 33 or above indicating PTSD) to an average posttest score of 23.43 after 30 days of practicing Transcendental Meditation (TM).

Veterans of the war in Vietnam, the Gulf War, Somalia, Iraq, and Afghanistan suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) found significant relief from their symptoms as a result of practicing the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique, according to a new study published in Military Medicine. (PDF

The 41 veterans and 5 active-duty soldiers in the study had been diagnosed with clinical levels of PTSD, as measured by the PTSD Checklist-Civilian (PCL-5). After one month, 87% had a clinically significant decrease of more than 10 points. The reduction was so great that 37 participants (80%) had their symptoms reduced to below the clinical level, meaning that they were no longer considered to have a disorder.

The effect size, which is a measure of the magnitude of a treatment, was 1.91. This is unusually high, with a value of .8 considered to be a strong effect. In addition, the very low p-value (p < 0.0001) indicates these results were probably not due to chance. The study included a 90-day posttest; PTSD symptoms continued to improve.

“It’s remarkable that after just one month we would see such a pronounced decrease in symptoms, with four out of five veterans no longer considered to have a serious problem with PTSD,” said lead author Robert Herron.

More effective than standard treatment

By way of comparison, the standard treatment, which entails veterans attending counseling and re-experiencing their trauma as part of the therapy, is typically only partially successful, with approximately two-thirds still suffering from PTSD after being treated.

“Transcendental Meditation is very easy to do and results come quickly,” said James Grant, Director of Programs for TM for Veterans, which provided partial funding for this study. “TM promotes self sufficiency – it’s a tool that the veteran can use for life, on his or her own.”

In addition, research has shown that Transcendental Meditation has a positive benefit for many of the conditions associated with PTSD, such as high anxiety, insomnia, depression, and high blood pressure.

“Because it works on the neurophysiological level to reduce stress, it has broader impact than cognitively-based therapies,” he said.

Veterans able to help themselves

An interesting facet of the study was that the veterans were recruited through media advertising rather than through a veterans hospital.

“The importance of this study is that it shows that veterans are able to help themselves,” said lead author Robert Herron. “After learning about the opportunity to participate in the study, they went to local Transcendental Meditation centers to be instructed in the practice.”

Dr. Herron said that because of their huge caseload, the Veterans Administration hasn’t been able to help all veterans in a timely manner. And veterans are often in desperate need of help.

Veteran practicing Transcendental Meditation #1.png

Veteran practicing Transcendental Meditation

“The veterans involved were pleased that they were able to do this on their own, and no doubt the VA hospitals appreciate that there are therapeutic approaches that can be undertaken without the costly intensive care of a therapist that treatment typically entails,” he said.

Dr. Grant said some veterans are reluctant to go to counseling because of the perceived stigma, but that there’s no stigma associated with meditation, which is widely practiced by healthy people.

Practiced 20 minutes twice a day

The participants learned the standard Transcendental Meditation technique, which is practiced 20 minutes twice a day. The study found that the veterans who practiced twice a day as recommended had greater benefits than those who practiced once a day.

This approach to meditation, which was introduced in the West by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi beginning in the late 1950s, has been widely researched over the past 50 years, with over 400 peer-reviewed studies. It is unique in that it doesn’t entail contemplation or concentration and is easy to learn and effortless to practice.

“Researchers have been calling for new approaches to PTSD treatments, and Transcendental Meditation seems to be particularly effective,” Dr. Grant said. “Veterans who elect to learn Transcendental Meditation themselves can find significant reductions in PTSD. The results are promising and suggest that this is a treatment modality that deserves more rigorous study as a potential treatment for PTSD.”

DoD supports research on TM

The current study follows four previous studies on veterans that suggested a benefit for PTSD. Because of these promising findings, the U.S. Department of Defense has supported a randomized controlled trial involving 210 veterans that is now nearing completion.

“The evidence is mounting that Transcendental Meditation is an effective treatment for PTSD,” said Colonel Brian Rees, MD, coauthor of the current study. Dr. Rees was the lead researcher on two earlier studies on Congolese refugees suffering from PTSD, and found a significant benefit after just 10 days of TM practice.

Watch a video conference held at the US Institute of Peace on Dec 2016, Exploring the Science of Meditation on Trauma, Stress, and the Brain: Military Panel, where leading experts in the field of military and veteran health discussed the benefits of utilizing TM in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder.

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Funding for veterans to learn the Transcendental Meditation technique in this study was provided by Christopher H. Wege and the Wege Foundation of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

To hear veterans talk about the effect that practicing TM had on their lives, watch this video, Real PTS Relief for our Veterans, made by the David Lynch Foundation.

1. Steenkamp MM, Litz BT, Hoge CW, Marmar CR: Psychotherapy for military-related PTSD: A review of randomized clinical trials. Journal of the American Medical Association 2015; 314(5): 489–500. (PDF)

2. Robert E Herron, Ph.D., MBA, Brian Rees, M.D., MPH, MC, USAR (Ret.): The Transcendental Meditation Program’s Impact on the Symptoms of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder of Veterans: An Uncontrolled Pilot Study. Military Medicine, 29 December 2017.

Source: EurekAlert!: Veterans who learn Transcendental Meditation find relief from PTSD, new study shows.

 

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New study shows Transcendental Meditation reduces trauma symptoms in female prisoners

January 17, 2017

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The first study to specifically focus on reducing stress in female prisoners has found that Transcendental Meditation significantly reduces trauma symptoms. Women have become the fastest growing prison population in the U.S., and research shows they suffer from higher rates of mental and emotional trauma, and higher rates of sexual abuse than men. This randomized controlled trial, published in The Permanente Journal, follows a recent study on reduced trauma in male inmates through Transcendental Meditation.

Significant reduction in trauma

The results showed that after four months of practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique, the women inmates in the meditation group had significant reductions in total trauma symptoms, including intrusive thoughts and hyperarousal compared with controls. Trauma symptoms were measured using the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist-Civilian (PCL-C).

‘This study is a valuable addition to the research literature in women’s mental health, showing a natural and effortless alternative approach to reducing trauma symptoms,” said lead author Dr. Sanford Nidich, director of the Center for Social and Emotional Health at Maharishi University of Management. “It further replicates an earlier randomized controlled trial with Transcendental Meditation (TM) in male prison inmates suffering from high levels of trauma symptoms. Previous studies have shown reduced trauma in other populations, including veterans and African refugees with the TM program.”

Comments from the subjects

Those practicing Transcendental Meditation in their prison cells said they felt a lot better—less stressed, with a greater sense of inner freedom and resilience. Read some of the dramatic changes in their own words, and more details about this study in the press release.

The study was funded by the David Lynch Foundation.

Expanding preventive medicine to include mind-body approaches

In addition to the study on TM, the January 2017 issue of The Permanente Journal includes a companion editorial by Charles Elder, MD, MPH, FACP, titled, “Mind-Body Training for At-Risk Populations: Preventative Medicine at its Best.”

According to Charles Elder, MD, Kaiser Permanente, Northwest, “A principle advantage of the TM technique is a time-tested, standardized intervention protocol…. Once taught the Transcendental Meditation technique, an individual can use the skill for the duration of his or her life, as a stress management tool, providing ongoing benefits across a range of domains. In addition to helping the inmate cope with the stress of incarceration, there is a range of additional ‘side benefits,’ ranging from reduced recidivism to improved cardiovascular health.”

Related: See this recent study explaining how and why Transcendental Meditation is effortless, distinguishing it from other practices.

@MaharishiU’s Dr. Robert Schneider presents @TMmeditation research to @uiowa Hospitals and Clinics medical staff

January 9, 2014

Doctor touts health benefits of Transcendental Meditation
Written by Sara Agnew, Iowa City Press-Citizen
Jan. 7, 2014 8:55 PM

Dr. Francois Abboud, left, talks with Dr. Robert H. Schneider, who spoke with medical staff at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics Tuesday about how the practice of Transcendental Meditation can reduce the risk of heart disease and lower blood pressure. / Sara Agnew / Iowa City Press-Citizen

Dr. Francois Abboud, left, talks with Dr. Robert H. Schneider, who spoke with medical staff at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics Tuesday about how the practice of Transcendental Meditation can reduce the risk of heart disease and lower blood pressure. / Sara Agnew / Iowa City Press-Citizen

If you want to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and lower your blood pressure without taking medication, Dr. Robert H. Schneider has a suggestion: Transcendental Meditation.

Schneider says he has been involved in studies that show this type of meditation can reduce the rate of death from cardiovascular disease by 30 percent and from cancer by 40 percent.

The key is you need to know the “techniques” of Transcendental Meditation to experience the benefits — sitting with your eyes closed for 10 minutes won’t cut it.

That’s the message Schneider shared with about 40 hospital personnel Tuesday during an hourlong presentation called MIND-BODY-HEART: Evidence for Meditation in Hypertension and Cardiovascular Disease at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. It was his first visit with staff and doctors at UIHC.

“It was breakthrough,” he said of his visit.

Schneider is director of the Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention and dean of medical programs at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield. As a physician and scientist, Schneider has spent the past 30 years researching evidence-based natural approaches for treating heart disease, high blood pressure, stress and other cardiovascular factors. Over the past 20 years, he has received more than $20 million in research grants from the National Institutes of Health for his natural approaches to treating heart disease.

Much of his work centers on the benefits of Transcendental Meditation.

Schneider said TM is an effortless technique for “automatic self-transcending.” It allows your mind to settle inward beyond thought to experience the source of thought — pure awareness. This is the most silent and peaceful level of consciousness and what many who practice TM call your innermost self.

“It takes a technique that you learn in an eight-hour course,” Schneider said. “Once you have the technique, it happens quite easily.”

Schneider said humans have an “inborn ability” to practice this type of meditation.

“But we have lost this simple and natural technique,” he said.

Schneider said much of his research about the correlation between mind and body were affirmed last June when the American Heart Association announced that Transcendental Meditation is the only meditation practice that has shown to lower blood pressure. In addition, AHA reported lower blood pressure through TM is associated with substantially reduced rates of death, heart attack and stroke.

Ultimately, Schneider said the AHA recommended that TM be recommended for consideration as an alternative treatment for individuals with blood pressure greater than 120/80 mm Hg.

Schneider said he learned about TM 40 years ago as a college student.

“I was always interested in how we can tap into the body’s own cell repair and healing abilities,” he said. “I thought I’d try it and see if it works.”

He read the research and gave TM a try.

“I found I could study better and learn better and had more energy,” Schneider said.

Later, when he was a fellow in hypertension at the University of Michigan Medical School, Schneider took an interest in the connection between the brain and heart.

“I thought maybe we could use the brain to lower blood pressure,” he said.

Schneider believes his years of research on managing the mind-body connection is paying off as organizations such as the AHA begin recognizing the benefits of TM.

During his presentation at UIHC, Schneider highlighted a 2012 study that showed blacks with heart disease who practiced TM regularly were 48 percent less likely to have a heart attack, stroke or die from all causes compared with blacks who attended a health education class over more than five years.

Those practicing TM also “lowered their blood pressure and reported less stress and anger,” Schneider said.

Schneider is interested in researching how TM can be used to help military veterans recover from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Dr. Francois Abboud, the namesake of UI’s Cardiovascular Research Center, asked, “How will I know if I am meditating correctly?”

Linda Rainforth, a certified TM teacher from Iowa City, said people who are practicing TM reach a “deep, deep level of silence and stillness” in which they experience an “expansion of the mind.”

One listener wondered whether men or women followed through most consistently in practicing TM during research studies.

“Men and women both get results,” Schneider said. “But in some of our studies, there was slightly more compliance with the women.”

If you go

Learn more about Transcendental Meditation by attending one of the following presentations by certified teachers in TM. All presentations will be at the Iowa City Public Library, meeting room E.
• 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday.
• 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday.
• 6:30 p.m. Jan. 16.
TM sessions also can be by appointment by calling Iowa City Transcendental Meditation Program at 936-1986, 641-472-0827 or 641-919-7282. For more information, go to www.tm.org.

MUM's Dr. Robert Schneider presenting research at UIMC

Dr. Robert Schneider was also interviewed by Steve Smith on KMCD’s MUM Spotlight Show about the American Heart Association’s recommendation of Transcendental Meditation to lower high blood pressure. He also reported on his visit to UI’s Medical Center. Steve asked some great questions. It was a lively discussion. Listen here: http://fairfieldiowaradio.com/audio/spotlight%201-9.mp3. (20:45)

See Dr. Schneider on New Zealand Television’s Breakfast ONE News describing the value of TM for heart health. http://tvnz.co.nz/breakfast-news/meditating-your-heart-video-5602306

Cancer stories: Greg James restored balance with Maharishi Ayurveda and TM to enjoy his life again

October 28, 2012

FAIRFIELD — October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and The Ottumwa Courier asked cancer survivors and/or family members to share their stories. A few people wrote to tell of their experiences and their stories have been running often throughout this month. The editor thanks all the people who participated. Many said they wanted others to know about the experience and to always have hope. Here’s a story from a friend of mine, Greg James, in Fairfield. I never would have guessed he had been through so much, he seems so healthy to me.

Cancer stories: Restore balance and enjoy life

October 25, 2012

“No one has ever survived this kind of cancer,” the Harvard oncologist told me back in September 1988. “It is a rare and very fast-growing form of Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. Sloane Kettering in New York City has only seen 50 cases in the last 10 years, and no white male 37-year heterosexual has ever survived.  You are Stage 4 with complications (massive pleural effusions).”

“What are his chances of surviving?” asked my family, and the doctor would only cross his fingers.

It was very ironic that I got this cancer, as I was on a media team that was making Deepak Chopra and Maharishi Ayurveda household words. I had been in perfect vibrant health, an active hiker, then (and now).

My father was a hospital administrator and consultant. I grew up with mixed signals: the doctors were brilliant and great people, but their system limited them to drugs and they couldn’t think out of the box; they are brilliant technicians but lack training in vital areas of nutrition and bedside manner. So, I was, from the outset what Bernie Siegel (author of “Love, Medicine, and Miracles”) called a “difficult patient.” Dr. Siegel noted that the patients who take an active interest in their treatment, asking frequent questions and sometimes going against medical advice, were the ones that survive.

It was quickly found that I had a tumor the size of a fist in my throat choking me. That explained a lot! The CHOP protocol worked quickly, dissolving that tumor, and I got through tumor necrosis (the breaking up of the tumor and the spread of that material throughout the body). I was re-admitted to Mass General Hospital in Boston again for a total lack of white blood cells and put on a rescue remedy. Then, two months after my first treatment, I was in Intensive Care Unit for 12 days fighting for my life against pneumonia.

After that, consulting with various doctors outside of the cancer complex at Mass General, I decided to quit the chemo, brain radiation and spinal taps in favor of rebuilding my body with special herbs from India and a rejuvenation protocol (now offered at The Raj in Fairfield). I was totally devastated by the chemo and lack of sleep caused by the Prednizone, and couldn’t hold down food from nausea. My body was trying to throw off the “emergency medicine” and get back to some balance. The Ayurvedic treatments were designed not to cure disease but to promote good health, but they gave me what I needed most: vitality, strength and some hint of happiness.

Meanwhile, the oncologists were upset that I had taken a break from chemo, etc., and told me they had gotten approval for a bone marrow transplant from Dana Farber Institute, a procedure that would “bring me to the brink of death, and then we will re-inject your bone marrow” and I was prescribed three years of continuing chemo, etc. after the transplant. My oncologist quoted a published study and told me that three out of 23 patients had survived this type of bone marrow transplant, which angered me. “You want me to bet my life on one chance in eight? Who is on drugs here, doctor? (I didn’t continue, and saved the insurance company $300,000)”

Ten months after I started, I was back to walking without leg braces (after losing strength from the chemo), and loving life again. I was grateful to have the best of “emergency medicine” and the best of alternative medicine. For a few years after, everyone and their brother was calling me to ask me to talk to their wife or cousin or whomever about their cancer treatment. My answer included these points: realize that the surface condition of cancer is a symptom of an underlying imbalance in the mind-body connection and that this must be restored, and it could be. If your condition is terrible, by all means take allopathic medicines, but don’t be afraid to break from it to get much-needed vitality back through expert-prescribed herbs and rejuvenation therapies. Take “rasayanas,” herbal supplements that promote longevity. First of all, go to an established Maharishi Ayurveda clinic and take the rejuvenation therapy; it will promote your recovery very quickly. And practice verified techniques for improving health, namely Transcendental Meditation. Be honest about your feelings: of course you are scared, that is natural; if you aren’t scared, then somebody isn’t being honest.

People ask me, “So your cancer is in remission?” and I answer, “My health was in remission briefly, but that has been restored.” I change the emphasis because too many people fear the problem without re-defining it: cancer is an opportunity, a forced opportunity, to go deep inside, bring out the strength you need and restore balance to enjoy life.

Greg James

Fairfield

Reprinted with permission from the author

High Medical Costs Decrease 28% after 5 Years of Transcendental Meditation Practice

September 12, 2011

High Medical Costs Decrease 28 Percent after 5 Years of Transcendental Meditation Practice

According to a study published this week in the September/October 2011 issue of the American Journal of Health Promotion (Vol. 26, No. 1, pp. 56-60), people with consistently high health care costs experienced a 28 percent cumulative decrease in physician fees after an average of five years practicing the stress-reducing Transcendental Meditation technique compared with their baseline. Both between and within group comparisons were statistically significant. This study has major policy implications.

In most populations, a small fraction of people account for the majority of health care costs. In the U.S., the highest spending 10% in the general population incurred 60% to 70% of total medical expenditures annually. In the Medicare population, the highest spending 5% incurred 43% of total Medicare costs, and the highest spending 25% of seniors accounted for 85% of total expenses. A large number of these people have consistently high medical bills over many years. (References in article, available upon request.)

Chronic stress is the number one factor contributing to high medical expenses. Stress reduction may help reduce these costs.

This new study compared the changes in physician costs for 284 consistent high-cost participants—142 Transcendental Meditation practitioners with 142 non-practitioners, over five years in Quebec, Canada. The non-TM subjects were randomly selected from Quebec health insurance enrollees with the same age, sex, and region to match the TM participant profiles. The TM participants decided to begin the technique prior to choosing to enter the study. In the year before the intervention began, there were no significant differences between the groups in payments to physicians.

During the five-year assessment period, the TM group’s annual rate of change in payments declined significantly (p = 0.004), while the comparison group’s payments showed no significant changes. After the first year, the TM group decreased 11%, and after 5 years, their cumulative reduction was 28% (p = 0.001).

The primary measure for assessing the effectiveness of TM practice in decreasing medical costs was the fees paid by the Quebec health insurance agency to private physicians in all settings for treating study participants. In Canada and U.S., physician payments have been 20% of national health expenditures. This study’s results are important because doctors’ decisions determine most medical expenses: tests, prescription drugs, hospitalization, surgery, and other treatments.

The paper’s sole author, Robert E. Herron, Ph.D., is an independent researcher, and director of the Center for Health Systems Analysis. Dr. Herron was the first to describe the impact of the Transcendental Meditation technique on health care costs.

This chart shows the mean annual total per capita payments to physicians for treating consistent high-cost patients. The TM group’s physician expenses decreased by 28% over five years. The above trend lines show the general behavior of the physician fees for the two groups from the pre-intervention Baseline year through the 5 years of the study. All dollar values were adjusted for inflation and were expressed in constant 1992 Canadian dollars. P-values show the significance of the comparison of Baseline and Last Year for each group.

This study’s findings were similar to earlier ones. In a previous Canadian study, the TM group exhibited reduced medical expenses between 5% and 13% relative to comparison subjects each year for 6 consecutive years.

In a subsequent Canadian study of senior citizens, the TM group’s five-year cumulative reduction for people aged 65 years and older relative to comparison subjects was 70%. (See Meditation for Seniors May Lower Health Costs.)

In a sample of American health insurance enrollees, the TM participants had reduced rates of illness in all disease categories. An eleven-year, cross-sectional study in Iowa found that subjects age 45 and over who practiced the TM technique had 88% fewer hospital days compared with controls. Their medical expenditures were 60% below the norm.

Other studies, including randomized clinical trials, indicate the TM technique can improve physical and mental health, decrease tobacco use, reduce substance abuse, and decrease other unhealthy habits and risk factors that lead to chronic disease and costly treatments.

“This article has major policy significance for saving Medicare and Medicaid without cutting benefits or raising taxes,” said Herron. “Almost no intervention for cost containment has decreased medical expenditures by 28% over 5 years from a baseline. Now, it may be possible to rescue Medicare and Medicaid by adding coverage for learning the Transcendental Meditation technique.”

ADDENDUM

Americans are suffering from soaring levels of chronic stress due to economic problems, home foreclosures, high unemployment and underemployment, and lack of health insurance, which contributes to numerous health problems they cannot afford to treat.

The Huffington Post reported in May that U.S. health care costs per family more than doubled in nine years. Milliman, Inc., a premier global consulting and actuarial firm, released the results of their 2011 Milliman Medical Index, which measures the total cost of health care for a typical family of four covered by a preferred provider organization (PPO). The 2011 MMI cost is $19,393, an increase of 7.3% over 2010, which is the lowest annual rate of increase in more than a decade. Yet even though the rate of increase is the lowest in recent memory, the increase in total dollars—$1,319 in 2011—is the highest in the history of this study. Even with a historically low annual rate of increase, health care costs for American families reached $19,393 in 2011. In 2010, the average employee paid $8,008 for his family’s health care, up from $3,634 in 2002. To view the complete 2011 Milliman Medical Index, download the report.

At a time when health care costs are continuing to rise, the studies of Herron and his colleagues demonstrate that a natural preventative approach could help curb rising health care costs. Benjamin Franklin once said: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Another way of saying it today would be, “An ounce of prevention costs considerably less than a pound of cure!”

The Transcendental Meditation Program

The Transcendental Meditation technique is an effortless procedure practiced 10-20 minutes twice a day sitting comfortably with the eyes closed.

TM is a simple natural mind-body practice that does not involve changes in personal beliefs, philosophy or lifestyle.

Over 350 peer-reviewed research studies on the TM technique confirm a wide range of benefits for mind, body and behavior.

Several studies have compared the effects of different meditation practices and found that Transcendental Meditation provides deeper rest and relaxation, and is more effective at reducing anxiety, depression and hypertension than other forms of meditation and relaxation. In addition, no other meditation practice shows the widespread coherence throughout all areas of the brain that is seen with Transcendental Meditation.

The Transcendental Meditation technique is taught in the United States by a non-profit, educational organization.

More information can be obtained by calling 888-LEARN-TM or visiting www.tm.org or www.AskTheDoctors.com.

Source: EurekAlert!

Also see: PsychCentral: TM Can Reduce Health Care Costs | TM Blog: New study: TM Reduces Health Care Costs by 28%


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