Posts Tagged ‘anxiety’

Transcendental Meditation effective in reducing veterans’ PTSD, sleep difficulties, depression and anxiety symptoms by 50% in 3 months: new study

March 22, 2021

News Release 18-Mar-2021 | EurekAlert! Summary & Press Release

Veterans with PTSD who practiced the Transcendental Meditation technique showed significant reductions in PTSD symptom severity, according to a new study published today in Journal of Traumatic Stress. Fifty percent of the meditating veterans no longer met criteria for PTSD after three months compared to only 10 percent of controls. The randomized controlled study also showed significant reductions in veterans’ symptoms of depression and anxiety, and sleep difficulties.

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IMAGE: Fifty percent of veterans who practiced the Transcendental Meditation technique for three months no longer met criteria for PTSD compared to only 10 percent of controls. Meditating veterans also showed significant reductions in symptoms of depression and anxiety, and sleep difficulties. This figure shows the unadjusted mean change in PTSD symptoms, based on the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS), for the Transcendental Meditation group compared to the treatment-as-usual control group (all P values <.05) over the three-month intervention period. Credit: Maharishi International University Research Institute

Transcendental Meditation effective in reducing PTSD, sleep problems, depression symptoms

Veterans with PTSD who practiced the Transcendental Meditation technique showed significant reductions in PTSD symptom severity, according to a new study published today in Journal of Traumatic Stress. Fifty percent of the meditating veterans no longer met criteria for PTSD after three months compared to only 10 percent of controls. The randomized controlled study also showed significant reductions in veterans’ symptoms of depression and anxiety, and sleep difficulties.

“Transcendental Meditation is a non-trauma-focused, easy-to-learn technique that was found in this study to improve PTSD symptoms, likely through the experience of physical rest,” said Mayer Bellehsen, Ph.D., director of the Unified Behavioral Health Center for Military Veterans and their Families, Northwell Health, and study principal investigator. “In contrast to commonly administered therapies for PTSD that are trauma-focused and based on a patient’s recall of past traumatic experiences, this intervention does not require extensive review of traumatic history, which some individuals find difficult to engage in. This intervention may therefore be more tolerable for some individuals struggling with PTSD.”

The randomized controlled trial, conducted at Northwell Health in Bay Shore, New York, assigned 40 veterans with documented PTSD to either the Transcendental Meditation (TM) group or treatment as usual control group. The TM treatment provided 16 sessions over 12 weeks, with twice-a-day daily home practice. PTSD symptom severity was assessed with the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale for DSM-5 (CAPS-5), and patient self-report with the PTSD Checklist for DSM -5 (PCL-5).

The results showed large effect sizes, indicating a strong TM treatment impact in reducing trauma symptoms for both PTSD measures. Other factors associated with trauma, such as depression and anxiety symptoms and sleep problems, also showed a strong impact of TM treatment.

“This trial corroborates the findings of a large clinical trial published in The Lancet Psychiatry,” said Sanford Nidich, Ed.D., Director of the Center for Social-Emotional Health at Maharishi International University Research Institute, and study co-investigator. “The current study further supports the effectiveness of Transcendental Meditation as a first-line treatment for PTSD in veterans. The availability of an additional evidence-based therapy will benefit veterans, both by offering them a greater range of options and by serving as an alternative treatment strategy for those who don’t want to engage in trauma-focused treatment or who aren’t responding to a previous PTSD intervention.”

The authors point out in their research paper that TM may positively affect trauma symptom severity through the reduction of hyperarousal symptoms. Previous research has shown that TM practice decreases physiological responses to stressful stimuli. In addition, recent research indicates that TM may improve resilience and positive coping strategies, providing further benefit to both veterans and active military personnel.

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This study was supported by David Lynch Foundation. The article is titled, “A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial of Transcendental Meditation as Treatment for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Veterans.” Northwell Health, New York University, and Maharishi International University Research Institute collaborated on the trial. Preliminary results had been previously presented at the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies conference, November 2017 in Chicago, Illinois.

Source: EurekAlert!

Northwell Health posted their release on March 22, 2021: New study shows transcendental meditation effective for reducing veterans’ stress. The study, led by Mayer Bellehsen, PhD, showed that the technique resulted in significant reductions in symptom severity.

Many science and international news outlets posted the news, including this excellent report in Medical News Today (PDF). And Jim Dwyer MD produced and tweeted this 60-seconds MediBlurb: Transcendental Meditation for PTSD in Veterans, which airs on regional radio in Arizona.

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.

Transcendental Meditation reduced stress and trauma symptoms in male prisoners in 4 months

January 1, 2017

Prisoners have one of the highest rates of lifetime trauma of any segment of society, with recent surveys showing that 85% have been a victim of a crime-related event, such as robbery or home invasion, or physical or sexual abuse. Trauma is associated with higher rates of recidivism (returning to prison) and mental and physical health conditions, including cardiovascular disease.

A randomized controlled trial of 181 male Oregon state correctional inmates found that the Transcendental Meditation program significantly decreased total trauma symptoms, anxiety, depression, dissociation and sleep disturbance subscales, and perceived stress compared to controls over a four-month period. Trauma symptoms and perceived stress were assessed using the Trauma Symptoms Checklist and the Perceived Stress Scale.

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Within the TM group, a 47% reduction in total trauma symptoms was observed over the course of the four-month study. Further post-hoc analysis showed a 56% reduction within the TM group for those with the highest level of trauma symptoms above the mean in baseline trauma scores.

Compliance with TM practice was high. Of those randomized to learn the TM program, 88% completed the initial seven-step TM course (total of five sessions) and over 80% were regular with their daily TM practice over the course of the four-month study, which included weekly meetings to ensure continued correct effortless practice.

“To date this is the largest randomized controlled trial with the Transcendental Meditation program on trauma symptoms,” said Dr. Nidich, lead author of the study and director of Maharishi University of Management Center for Social and Emotional Health. “These findings, along with previous published research on veterans, active military personnel, international refugees, and other at-risk populations provide support for the value of the Transcendental Meditation program as an alternative treatment for posttraumatic stress.”

“I have watched inmates learn Transcendental Meditation and become more human after a long and isolating period of becoming less human,” said study co-author Dr. Tom O’Conner, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at Western Oregon University. “TM helps to awaken, deepen, and solidify the kind of transformational process that we so badly need in our overburdened and costly correctional system.”

The study, Reduced trauma symptoms and perceived stress in male prison inmates through the Transcendental Meditation program: A randomized controlled trial, was published in The Permanente Journal, and funded by the David Lynch Foundation

Read more valuable information about this study in the press release, from where this content was excerpted, on EurekAlert!/AAAS.

NCBI: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5101089/

Another study, this one done with female prisoners, also in Oregon, will be published later this month.

Great article on TM’s successful resurgence and supportive applications in health and education

April 28, 2015

FORBES: PHARMA & HEALTHCARE 4/27/2015 @ 11:20AM
Contributor Alice G. Walton covers health, medicine, psychology and neuroscience.

Transcendental Meditation Makes A Comeback, With The Aim Of Giving Back

Transcendental meditation (TM) has been having a renaissance in recent years: Celebrities, businesspeople, and regular folk are practicing it in record numbers. Last week, the David Lynch Foundation, the major non-profit champion of TM, hosted an event in New York City at which public figures like Arianna Huffington, Robin Roberts, and Cynthia McFadden discussed the transforming role of TM in their lives. They made compelling arguments for what the practice had done for them, as previously harried and stressed-to-the-max businesspeople – they may still be stressed, but at least they’re able to balance it with a sense of calm. But the Foundation has a larger goal: To bring TM to schoolchildren, domestic abuse survivors, veterans, and prison inmates to help give them tools to process their trauma and reclaim the capacity to live fulfilling lives. And that’s not a bad goal to have.

The TM movement itself has had some bumps in its past. Developed in the 1950s by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, it rose to popularity after The Beatles “discovered” and helped propagate it – by the late 70s, 4% of Americans were practicing TM, according to a Gallup poll. Then things started to get shaky – and TM began to be associated with some cultishness. But in the last decade or so, the practice has gained back the respect and indeed acclaim, as people – some very famous ones – began to flock to it for its simple and straightforward method to find inner peace.

The business-meets-meditation stories are everywhere these days. Huffington told the endearing but jarring story of when she’d awoken in a pool of her own blood in her office, having passed out from exhaustion; it was then, she said, that she realized that money and power were only two legs of a three-legged stool – self-care, including meditation, being the other critical leg. And the list of companies that encourage their employees to meditate – by teaching it to them and by providing meditation time and space – is growing. Google, Target, Nike, Aetna, and Goldman Sachs have integrated meditation into their cultures.

But the more pressing focus of the David Lynch Foundation is to give psychological support in the form of TM, at low or no cost, to those who need it most: Veterans, schoolchildren, prison inmates, and women and children who have survived domestic abuse. To be sure, TM isn’t the only meditative practice that’s been used to help these groups of people. Yoga, mindfulness, and other forms of meditation are other increasingly common tools in the “service” arena. But, says Bob Roth, CEO of the David Lynch Foundation, there’s something quite simple and powerful about TM which makes it particularly well-suited to touch people who have been through emotional turmoil, or worse. Perhaps its greatest benefit is that it’s relatively quick to learn and easy to master. No waiting weeks or months of practice before you see results: TM cuts right to the chase, taking only days – or for some, minutes – before one feels reprieve from their painful and overwhelming thoughts.

“With TM, you’re given a mantra – a word with no meaning – and taught how to use it,” says Roth. “The active thinking mind settles down to a state of inner calm without any effort. It’s not clearing your mind, as in focused awareness meditation, and not gently observing thoughts as in open monitoring (which is vipassana, or mindfulness). I can put it even more succinctly: TM uses sounds or mantra that has no meaning as a vehicle to experience a quieter, less agitated thought process.”

With the two classical forms of meditation – focused awareness (samatha) and open monitoring/mindfulness (vipassana) there’s generally more practice involved. With focused awareness, the practitioner uses a mantra or other object of concentration to bring a wandering mind back, again and again. With open monitoring/mindfulness, people observe their thoughts with curiosity and some detachment, so that they eventually lose their charge. Though the former is typically learned before the latter, they ultimately work in tandem and complement one another in practice.

To describe TM’s psychological effects, Roth often uses an ocean analogy: An agitated mind, he says, is like 30-foot surges at the surface of the ocean. Focused awareness tries to stop the waves at the top, he says, while open monitoring tries to observe them until they go away. TM, on the other hand, says Roth, has its practitioners plunge deep below the waves, to a quieter depth that’s perfectly still, and blissful. Roth adds that unlike the two classic forms of meditation, “the third form of meditation, TM, is self-transcending. It’s not concentration, and it’s not simply observing thought. TM creates a specific type of alpha brain waves, which is indicative of a unique state of ‘restful alertness.’”

The practice does seem to be helping a great number of people. Roth says the Foundation has helped bring meditation to half a million school children all over the world, and hopes to bring it to three million adults and children in the next five years. It’s also taught TM to 2,000 veterans and as many female victims of domestic abuse through Family Justice Centers across the country, where it’s offered free of charge. The Foundation has also just begun to teach the perpetrators of that abuse, Roth says. The Foundation can barely keep up with all the requests it has from school systems, family centers, and prisons to teach TM.

“There is no medicine, no wonder drug you can take to prevent trauma and toxic stress. And there is no pill you can take to treat or cure it,” says Roth, “Ambien and Xanax, while perhaps helpful to some, are often abused or mere Band-Aid solutions.” There is some relatively strong evidence that TM can affect the stress response, and much of the scientific support for TM comes from its effects on the cardiovascular system, and blood pressure reduction. “The problem of stress is not going away, it’s getting worse and worse,” says Roth. “TM can be an effective tool. It helps you navigate increasingly stressful times. I’m a skeptical person. There’s nothing to believe in. There’s no buy-in. It just works.”

Read the rest of the article here: http://onforb.es/1IfgdIl

How TM helped calm and center a young woman’s busy mind—inspiring article in new Irish magazine

October 11, 2013

A new magazine, Upside News, came out on Dublin’s north side in Ireland. Their website is still under construction, but here is a description on their Facebook page. They asked someone for an article on Transcendental Meditation.

John Burns

John Burns

Since Christine Ryan was the contact person, John Burns, Communications Director for TM in Ireland, persuaded her to write about her experience of the technique. John said he sent the editor an article he had written along with Christine’s TM experience and told him he thought what she had written was so good that he should use it instead if space was an issue. The editor got back to John and said that he would print Christine’s piece.

Good decision; it’s a fantastic personal account! When I asked John to tell me more about the author, he said, “Christine is training to be a school teacher. She is just someone who really appreciates her TM.” I asked John to send a picture of Christine, a PDF of the magazine article, and a link when it’s posted online, which I’ll add when they’re available. Here’s what she wrote:

“As a twenty-four year old trying to find your place in the world, weaving your way around the many forks in the road that separate all of the possible paths down which to venture, it can be hard to tease out your own true voice in an increasingly noisy world.

I am an introverted, intellectual, always-something-to-think-about child of the technological generation. It seems easy to assume I would have trouble turning my awareness away from words on a page, the lure of the internet, my mobile phone, the radio buzzing and the drilling noise vibrating from the neighbour’s house a few doors down where a posse of hard-working, bellowing construction workers are knocking down two walls in her house only to put six back up. But TM is natural and it is effortless, when you learn how to do it.

What TM gives me is stillness and silence. For twenty minutes twice a day, I go to a place of silence that already exists within me. It happens effortlessly and spontaneously. As a helpless analyser of all things, this initially seemed impossible for me to swallow but I very quickly discovered its truth. The noise of the world disappears and I arrive at a place of beautiful quiet.

TM is like diving into a pool of light that washes away dirt and darkness, and emerging fresh and invigorated. During my TM practice, I feel my body settle into a deep state of rest and an overwhelming sense of calm and stillness pervades it. I feel free from the shackles of stress and exhaustion. I experience a sense of unity and peace. Without any resolve to do so, this sense of wholeness and calm lingers on when my meditation has ended; the effects of my TM practice spontaneously ripple forward into my activity.

Almost seven months into my second year of practising TM, I feel greater clarity in my thinking; as a busy thinker this has been such a profound change that TM has brought me. My relationships are infused with a sense of ease now. My thinking is sharper, ideas flow more easily, and my energy is lasting and productive. I feel less uncertain about decisions to be made and a greater vibrancy in my creative endeavours.

As I continue to meditate, the effects grow stronger. My wonderful TM teacher, Ann, put it simply: “It’s like going to the gym,” she said. “You feel great for the first few weeks that you’re going, but if you stop going, you’ll lose the benefits bit by bit.” I may not get to the gym (or exercise for that matter!) every day, but sitting in a chair in my sweats, with messy un-brushed hair, allowing my mind to simply settle down to a place of profound stillness and emerging twenty minutes later energised and renewed—now that I can do!

I was never one to easily identify with, or apply, the principle of “go with the flow,” but as I continue to practise TM I edge all the more closer to fully understanding exactly what that means. TM has resigned stress and anxiety to a state out of tune with the natural rhythm and flow of my body and mind. It puts things into perspective. To connect with that constant centre of calm and stillness that lies within me, regardless of what is happening in my life, and to find that stillness lingering during activity has been one of the greatest joys of learning TM.

Visionary filmmaker, veteran meditator, and prolific speaker and activist for TM, David Lynch, said it best when he said: “TM is for human beings.” The truth of his words find significance in the shared experiences of the benefits of TM by meditators around the globe, young and old, from all religions and all walks of life, from those behind bars to those raised high on a platform called “celebrity.”

In the monthly group meditation meetings I meet meditators of all ages: veterans to novices, students to retirees and everything in between. In a world that breeds so much disconnection and discord, it is a joy to practice a simple technique that allows for an awareness of the integral similarity between us all.

TM recharges me mentally and physically. My morning and evening TM practice have become the pillars onto which I anchor my day. I can hear my own inner voice more clearly again and those forks in the road don’t loom quite so ominously now.”

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

December 14, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 11, 2012

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

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

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

Stressful times affect health and happiness

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

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

Transcendental Meditation—a simple effective solution

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related posts on this topic

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

PsychCentral reviews Norman Rosenthal’s book Transcendence: Transcendental Meditation: What Is It and How Does It Work?

Dr. Catherine Ulbricht interviews psychiatrist and author Dr. Norman Rosenthal for Natural Standard

A Transcendental Cure for Post-Traumatic Stress by David Lynch and Norman E. Rosenthal

Additional information on Norman Rosenthal, Transcendence and Winter Blues are listed below and available in his Press Kit.

(more…)

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

July 10, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

Uploaded by on Jul 10, 2012

Some excerpts from the video:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PsychCentral reviews Norman Rosenthal’s book Transcendence: Transcendental Meditation: What Is It and How Does It Work?

September 16, 2011

Transcendental Meditation: What Is It and How Does It Work?

By Therese Borchard

Transcendental Meditation: What Is It and How Does It Work?Being that my job is to feature and review books on psychology, spirituality, and especially the intersection between the two, I receive my share of books on meditation. And as a person who has been trying to meditate for two years, but who just can’t seem to get the hang of it, I always open the cover a tad sinister, looking for a magic bullet.

The book Transcendence: Healing and Transformation Through Transcendental Meditation was on my decline stack until I read the short bio on Norman Rosenthal, M.D. and became intrigued. He’s a clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown Medical School. He conducted research at the National Institute of Mental Health. And he was the one who first described and diagnosed seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Ironically, I knew of him through my good friend Michelle, who had been one of the case studies for him on SAD.

So, with those credentials I opened the book and began to read stories that inspired me and gave me hope that one day I might be a meditator too.

Rosenthal won my trust in that he clearly states in the introduction that Transcendental Meditation is not a stand-alone treatment for emotional disorders, especially when effective treatments are available and work (if not full proof). He writes, “The fact is that no single treatment works every time for any given set of symptoms. We often have to try several different medications or treatment approaches before we find the right mix. I am suggesting that TM should be part of that mix, especially when conventional approaches prove unsatisfactory.” Rosenthal would in no way advise a person to go off his meds and try this type of meditation. However, he believes that practicing it can be the difference between a life of coping and a life of living.

Before reading Rosenthal’s book, I was unaware of the ways different kinds of meditations activate neurons in distinct regions of the brain. For example, Mindful Meditation increases the activity of neurons not only in certain emotional areas of the brain, but also in frontal regions, which are responsible for decision making and other functions. In Transcendental Meditation, there is a more global effect. Characteristic brain wave patterns are seen in many different parts of the brain, so the meditator has a better chance of experiencing the effects of meditation long past the meditation session.

What, exactly, is this Transcendental Meditation? Rosenthal writes:

Transcendental Meditation is always taught one-on-one, at least initially, by a teacher who is a longtime meditator trained not only to instruct new students and provide follow-up, but also to customize the approach for each student. Initial instruction has seven steps: two lectures and a personal interview with a certified teacher, then four teaching sessions on four consecutive days. Each session lasts about ninety minutes. Ideally, the fledgling meditator then follows up with the teacher, perhaps weekly for the first month and monthly thereafter. These thirty-minute “checking” sessions give students a chance to ask questions and make sure their technique is still on track, so they will derive the maximum benefit.

Basically, TM is a nonreligious practice that involves sitting comfortably for twenty minutes twice a day, while using a silent mantra, or nonverbal sound, to attain a profound state of aware relaxation. And just like yoga or martial arts, says Rosenthal, in order to learn it correctly, you need ongoing guidance with a teacher.

A profound gift of TM is that regular practice increases brain wave coherence, meaning that the frequencies of brain waves in different parts of the brain work together as a result of TM. In seasoned meditators, brain wave coherence can be found throughout the day, not only during meditation. Electroencephalograms (EEG) indicate that TM calms the brain while organizing the prefrontal brain regions so that meditators can improve their focus, decision-making, and job performance.

Especially enlightening to me were Rosenthal’s chapters on how TM can help treat acute anxiety, major depression, and bipolar disorder. This psychiatrist and some of his colleagues obtained a grant to study TM in a group of bipolar patients. In the study, eleven people received immediate TM training, while fourteen people were placed on a wait list. Both groups continued with their previous medical treatments. A few from the TM group reported a drop in manic symptoms, however, depressive symptoms were especially relieved, as stated in the patient reports but also upon inspecting the results of TM by Rosenthal and his team. Explains Rosenthal:

Several patients reported increased calmness, improved focus, and improved ability to stay organized and set priorities–no surprise, given TM’s known effects on the prefrontal cortex. TM helped bipolar patients improve their executive function, just as it did for people with anxiety disorders and ADHD… All in all … our study study suggests that TM might be very helpful for bipolar patients. In fact, all the clinicians who worked on the study are now referring certain of their bipolar patients, particularly those with residual depression, for TM training–along with their other treatments.

Check out Rosenthal’s book, Transcendence, for more information on the science and benefits of Transcendental Meditation.

Therese J. Borchard is Associate Editor at Psych Central, where she regularly contributes to World of Psychology. She also writes the daily blog, Beyond Blue, on

Beliefnet.com. Therese is the author of Beyond Blue: Surviving Depression & Anxiety and Making the Most of Bad Genes and The Pocket Therapist. Subscribe to her RSS feed on Psych Central or Beliefnet. Visit her website or follow her on Twitter @thereseborchard.

APA Reference
Borchard, T. (2011). Transcendental Meditation: What Is It and How Does It Work?. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 14, 2011, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/2011/transcendental-meditation-what-is-it-and-how-does-it-work/

Scientifically Reviewed
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 13 Jul 2011
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.

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Also listen to an excellent interview with Norman Rosenthal and Jenny Crwys-Williams on South Africa’s 702 Talk Radio. Click to download Podcast. It’s mentioned in this post: Meditation for Health, Happiness and Spirituality.

A Transcendental Cure for Post-Traumatic Stress by David Lynch and Norman E. Rosenthal

July 13, 2011
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL OPINION JULY 13, 2011
A Transcendental Cure for Post-Traumatic Stress
One study of soldiers showed a 50% reduction in symptoms after eight weeks of meditation.

By DAVID LYNCH and NORMAN E. ROSENTHAL

War wounds come in many forms. Some are obvious, such as scars, gashes and amputations. Others, the psychological ones, are less visible but equally devastating. The numbers in this second group are staggering: The military’s latest mental health survey of combat troops in Afghanistan found that 20%—one in five—suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

People with combat-related PTSD often suffer from periods of emotional numbness and depression that may coexist or alternate with intense anxiety and delusional thinking. Their days may be afflicted by flashbacks to traumatic situations. Their nights are often disrupted by sleeplessness and nightmares, from which they awake drenched in sweat as though back on the battlefield.

Yet most veterans with PTSD do not receive adequate treatment for various reasons, including fear of stigma, a dearth of effective treatments, and insufficient government resources. Gen. Peter Chiarelli, vice chief of staff of the U.S. Army, recently acknowledged that, “The therapies used for treatment of brain injuries lag behind the advanced medical science employed for treating mechanical injuries.”

Clearly, there is a need for new, creative approaches: Transcendental Meditation, better known as TM, is a promising candidate. An ancient Vedic technique developed in India, TM was brought to the West in the late 1950s by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. It involves sitting comfortably with eyes closed for 20 minutes twice a day while thinking a mantra. It does not require adherence to any religious belief system or ritual practices. Yet to date there are over 340 peer-reviewed papers describing the beneficial effects of TM on the mind and body.

lynch

The David Lynch Foundation recently hosted an event to help raise funds to teach TM to our wounded warriors returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan. We heard from veterans of three wars: Jerry Yellin, a fighter pilot in World War II who flew 19 missions over Japan; Dan Burks, who served in Vietnam; and David George, a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Despite differences in age and wartime experiences, these men had two things in common: All suffered terribly from PTSD, and all experienced tremendous relief from TM. Life became once again peaceful and even joyful for them.

What was clear from these men’s stories was how great a toll their symptoms took on their families, as well as on themselves. In a poignant video, Mr. George’s mother described the transformation of her son from a courteous young man into a hard-drinking, depressed and deeply disturbed veteran, who she feared would take his own life or someone else’s.

All that changed when Mr. George began to meditate on a regular basis. According to Ms. George, TM saved her son’s life.

In a study of Vietnam vets conducted by James S. Brooks and Thomas Scarano and published in the Journal of Counseling and Development in November 1985, TM outperformed the conventional psychotherapy of the day. More recently, a pilot study of five Iraq and Afghanistan veterans published in the June 2011 issue of Military Medicine showed a 50% reduction in PTSD symptoms after just eight weeks of practicing TM.

There is a scientific basis for the observed benefits of TM for combat-related PTSD. In several studies, TM has been shown to buffer fight-or-flight responses, which are thought to be overactive in people with PTSD, as evidenced by their hypervigilance, anxiety and exaggerated startle responses.

In addition, TM has been found to reduce blood pressure and decrease the risk of heart attacks and strokes—other conditions in which an overactive fight-or-flight response may play a role. In a similar manner, TM may modulate nervous system responses, thereby allowing affected veterans to relax and leave behind the traumas of war.

Regardless of how TM helps, the mounting evidence leads to one conclusion: If a simple, low-cost technique like TM can substantially alleviate the suffering of even some of the thousands of veterans afflicted with PTSD, how can we afford not to give it a try?

Mr. Lynch is a filmmaker and the founder of the David Lynch Foundation. Dr. Rosenthal is a clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University Medical School and the author of “Transcendence: Healing and Transformation Through Transcendental Meditation” (Tarcher-Penguin, 2011).

Photo credit: Associated Press
Link to article: http://on.wsj.com/rg8tYC

WSJ: LETTERS: VA Meditating on Good Therapies, July 22, 2011

In “A Transcendental Cure for Post-Traumatic Stress” (op-ed, July 13) David Lynch and Norman E. Rosenthal pose a challenge for the federal agency entrusted with caring for our nation’s 23 million veterans: “If a simple, low-cost technique like TM can substantially alleviate the suffering of even some of the thousands of veterans afflicted with PTSD, how can we afford not to give it a try?” In fact, Transcendental Meditation has received substantial attention at the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Defense and the National Institutes of Health. Indeed, meditation and other forms of complementary and alternative medicine are already used at VA to help veterans suffering from PTSD. We have embarked on a series of clinical investigations to evaluate all forms of meditation, TM among them, in order to determine whether this promising technique can produce results consistently for our patients, and which kind of meditation, from among several practiced widely today, would be most helpful to them. VA is beginning demonstration projects across the country in different care settings. We are looking for a simple, natural, culturally neutral and repeatable technique that can augment existing PTSD treatments. These studies require us to be open to new techniques for prevention and treatment, as well as structured in our approach to determining their value and efficacy. The studies already conducted, and those currently underway, are listed at http://tinyurl.com/3gx74o3.

The promising personal experiences mentioned in the article and the dedicated efforts of our VA, DoD and NIH team offer us all hope for finding more effective treatments for PTSD. We can’t afford not to.

W. Scott Gould

Deputy Secretary

DVA

Robert A. Petzel, M.D.

Under Secretary for Health

DVA

Washington


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