Posts Tagged ‘insomnia’

Effects of TM Practice on Trait Anxiety: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials

October 10, 2013

A new meta-analysis published today (Oct 9, 2013) in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (2013;19(10):1-12)1 found the Transcendental Meditation® technique (TM) has a large effect on reducing trait anxiety for people with high anxiety. Trait anxiety is a measure of how anxious a person usually is, as opposed to state anxiety, which refers to how anxious we are at the moment. A meta-analysis is an objective means to draw conclusions from all the research in a field.

This meta-analysis covered 16 randomized controlled trials, the gold standard in medical research, and included 1295 subjects from various walks of life, age groups, and life situations. TM was compared with various control groups, including treatment-as-usual, individual and group psychotherapy, and various relaxation techniques. Studies on high stress groups, such as veterans suffering from PTSD and prison inmates, showed dramatic reductions in anxiety from TM practice, whereas studies of groups with only moderately elevated anxiety levels, such as normal adults and college students, showed more modest changes.

A chart shows that studies of individuals with anxiety levels in the 90th percentile (higher than 90% of the rest of the adult population) showed dramatic reductions in anxiety down to the 57th percentile from TM practice. This is just a little higher than the average anxiety level, which is the 50th percentile. Study groups that started in the 60th percentile, a little above average, showed more modest reductions, to the 48th percentile, a little below average.

Lead author on the meta-analysis, Dr. David Orme-Johnson, an independent research consultant, commented: “It makes sense that if you are not anxious to begin with, that TM practice is not going to reduce your anxiety that much. Groups with elevated anxiety received significant relief from TM, and that reduction occurred rapidly in the first few weeks of practice.”

TM was also found to produce significant improvements in other areas worsened by anxiety, such as blood pressure, insomnia, emotional numbness, family problems, employment status, and drug and alcohol abuse.

This chart shows that studies of individuals with anxiety levels in the 90th percentile (higher than 90 percent of the rest of the adult population) showed dramatic reductions in anxiety down to the 57th percentile from TM practice. This is just a little higher than the average anxiety level, which is the 50th percentile. Study groups that started in the 60th percentile, a little above average, showed more modest reductions, to the 48th percentile, a little below average. (Photo Credit: Dr. David Orme-Johnson)

Co-author Dr. Vernon Barnes of the Georgia Prevention Center, Georgia Regents University, Augusta, Georgia explains what happens with control groups in these studies. “Control groups who received usual treatment did not show dramatic reductions in anxiety. In fact, control groups that were highly anxious to begin with, if anything, tended to become more anxious over time.”

When asked about the effect of other approaches to reduce anxiety, he added, “However, progressive muscle relaxation was also effective in reducing anxiety. But, it did not have the other side benefits of TM, such as increasing overall mental health, and increasing the rate of recovery of the physiology from stressors.”

Dr. Orme-Johnson answered a commonly asked question about placebo effects. He said: “Since anxiety is a self-reported measure, one might wonder whether the effects of TM practice or any other treatment program were a placebo effect. Placebos are great. If you give a person a sugar pill and tell them that it will reduce anxiety, it probably will, but only for a little while before the effect wears off. But the effects of TM were shown to be lasting and include objective benefits. For example a recent study showed that TM reduces heart attacks, strokes, and death over a ten-year period. So we know its effects are real and are not just due to a placebo.”

The meta-analysis also examined the issue of bias with TM studies on anxiety. There was no evidence of missing studies and studies conducted by scientists who were in any way associated with Maharishi University of Management or any of its sister universities did not have stronger effects than research conducted at independent universities.

Two previous meta-analyses on TM have found that it is highly effective in reducing trait anxiety, and is more effective than other meditation and relaxation techniques, including mindfulness meditation.2,3

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Background Information on Transcendental Meditation

The Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique is a simple, natural, effortless procedure practiced 20 minutes twice each day while sitting comfortably with the eyes closed. It is not a religion, philosophy, or lifestyle. It is the most widely practiced, most researched, and most effective method of self-development. For more information visit: http://www.tm.org.

Background information on anxiety

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health problem in the United States, affecting 40 million adults (about 18% of the population) and costing more than $42 billion a year.4,5 Anxiety is considered a negative mood disturbance that results from failure to predict, control, and obtain desired goals6 and is associated with dysfunctional cognition, behavior, and physiologic over-activity.7 Anxiety further impairs health by motivating increased use of tobacco and alcohol8 and predisposes the individual to chronic diseases such as coronary heart disease.7,8

  1. Orme-Johnson DW, Barnes VA. Effects of the Transcendental Meditation technique on Trait Anxiety: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. J Altern Complement Med 2013;19(10):1-12. http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/acm.2013.0204
  2. Eppley K, Abrams AI, Shear J. Differential effects of relaxation techniques on trait anxiety: A meta-analysis. J Clin Psychol 1989;45(6):957-974.
  3. Sedlmeier P, Eberth J, Schwarz M, et al. The psychological effects of meditation: A meta-analysis. Psychol Bull 2012;138(6):1139-1171.
  4. ADAA. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America. 2013; http://www.adaa.org/about-adaa. Accessed January 10, 2013.
  5. Greenberg PE, Sisitsky T, Kessler RC, et al. The economic burden of anxiety disorders in the 1990′s. J Clin Psychiatry 1999;60(7):472-435.
  6. Barlow DH. Unraveling the mysteries of anxiety and its disorders from the prespective of emotion theory. Am Psychol 2000;55:1247-1263.
  7. Kolzet JA, Inra M. Anxiety. In: Allan R, Fisher J, eds. Heart and Mind: The Practice of Cardiac Psychology. 2nd ed. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association; 2012.
  8. Sawchuk CN, Olatunji BO. Anxiety, health risk factors, and chronic disease. Am J Lifestyle Med 2011;5(6):531-541.
Source: EurekAlert! and Maharishi University of Management.
Posted on Science Codex, Medical News Today, Helio: Psychiatric Annals, PubMed, and many other science and medical news sites. Also on the TM Blog: New Research on TM and Anxiety. Here is a PDF of the paper made available by Renncap.

Training from the Inside: Treating PTSD with TM

November 11, 2012

Training from the Inside: Treating PTSD with Transcendental Meditation

“I deal with pain every day. I have nerve problems in my leg and the PTSD that the doctors diagnosed me with…functioning becomes impossible, lack of sleep, your work ethic sucks, you can’t focus at work, you can’t do anything, everybody pisses you off…it’s different for everybody. Memories saturate your mind…for me every day is a constant reminder — you relive the same crap over and over and over.” – Sgt James Thrasher, USMC

“I myself have been deployed eight times and been to combat four times. I was diagnosed with PTSD, depression, insomnia. We fight through whatever problems we have, we suck it up, and I did that for many many years. The trauma that I’ve seen the situations that I’ve been through…you take all of that stuff and you put it in a bag and we keep filling up our bag with all these problems rather than dealing with them. – GySgt Richard Wilson, USMC

“What peaked my interest in TM was all the research that’s been done and how incredibly effective it is for trauma, stress…the evidence now is that in combat stress the trauma actually changes the brain so that the ability to self-regulate isn’t there. Meditation helps with information processing, helps with self-regulation. Here we have another tool that is fabulous and they can do for themselves.” – Anna Benson, PhD, Clinical Psychologist

“I was interested in the TM program but I was skeptical at the same time. The power of the TM meditation…it really came out fast and it was surprising to me. Having that inner peace after meditation really really emboldened me to deal with things that I’d been just kind of stuffing away. So to be able to have relief from agitation, have relief from anger, frustration, sleeplessness, alcoholism, drug addiction…that’s huge.” – Sgt James Thrasher, USMC

Uploaded by on Aug 28, 2012

See updated article with photos by Mario Orsatti posted on the TM Blog December 13, 2012: U.S. Marines Talk About the Effect of TM on PTSD.

For more information on the David Lynch Foundation’s Operation Warrior Wellness program please visit http://operationwarriorwellness.org.

For more information on the Transcendental Meditation technique please visit http://tm.org.

Since 2005 the David Lynch Foundation has shared Transcendental Meditation with our most stressed populations. The David Lynch Foundation runs entirely on donations and there is a long list of veterans and sufferers of post-traumatic stress eager to participate.

If you were inspired by this video and would like to make a donation please visit: http://www.operationwarriorwellness.org/how-to-help. Your donations will be used in 3 ways—to help active duty military and veterans suffering from PTS, cadets in training and activated soldiers, and family members of retired and active service personnel. Thank you!

Related news: Soledad O’Brien interviews Russell Simmons and Bob Roth of the David Lynch Foundation on TM for Vets with PTS on CNN’s Starting Point | Military Leaders to Promote Meditation at Iowa Summit to Help Reduce Veteran Suicide EpidemicMatt Kelley of Radio Iowa interviews Jerry Yellin about an Iowa Veterans Summit solution to PTSD | See video highlights of the Iowa Veterans Summit – PTSD and Transcendental Meditation | KTVO News: How one soldier regained his life with help from WWII veteran and TM for PTSDFairfield and Ames war veterans team up to bring meditation (TM) to fellow Iowa vets with PTSD | Mark Newman: Courier: Iowa soldier seeks peace of mind through meditation and medicationMilitary veterans speak on need to increase resiliency: by Diane Vance, Fairfield Ledger | Story County Veteran Once Suicidal Finds Relief from PTSD with Transcendental Meditation: AmesPatch article by Jessica Miller | Veterans speak out on post-traumatic stress, offer a proven way to heal PTSD | Healing the Hidden Wounds of War: open forum for Iowa veterans and their families affected by PTSD, sponsored by Operation Warrior Wellness | Post Traumatic Stress and How Transcendental Meditation Can Help [Infographic] | Meditation Improves Performance at Military University | Meditation Saves A Veteran From PTSD and SuicideDr. Oz on the Benefits of the TM Technique

The 8.15 train to Nirvana: How you can meditate your stresses away… even on the daily commute

May 23, 2012
The 8.15 train to Nirvana: How you can meditate your stresses away… even on the daily commute

By Marianne Power
12 May 12, 2012

Last summer I bumped into an old colleague. We hadn’t seen each other for years and it transpired that in the previous 18 months, her mother had died of cancer, her father had moved in with her and she had been made redundant.

Yet she seemed remarkably calm. How on earth was she coping? After joking about the healing power of gin, she admitted her secret: she had learned how to meditate.

We have all read about the healing powers of meditation. Medical research has found that it can reduce the risk of everything from heart disease to strokes, depression and insomnia – but this was the first time I had seen its benefits up close.

Down time: Marianne Power meditates as she waits for a Tube train in London

Soon I was meditating twice a day, too, even learning to fit it into train journeys to work or sneaking a few quiet minutes in a bathroom cubicle at the office.

Before I bumped into my colleague I was running on empty. By day I was stressed by silly things that made me snap at people.

By night I would try to unwind with too many hours of television and too many glasses of wine before lying awake in bed stewing over all my worries.

I was run-down, got every cold going and at my very lowest points was prescribed antidepressants. My friend recommended Transcendental Meditation, which is different from other forms of meditation.

Instead of focusing on your breathing, you are given a Sanskrit word, known as a mantra, that you repeat in your head. The idea is that the repetition of the sound calms your mind.

The practice was made famous by The Beatles, who became devotees after meeting its founder, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, in the Sixties. Since then everyone from Clint Eastwood to William Hague and Nick Clegg has become a fan.

Latest research from Oxford University’s Department of Psychiatry has shown that meditation brings about neurological changes. After  a few months of meditation, the parts of the brain with a tendency to worry are switched off.

Clinical trials have proved that as a standalone treatment it can  prevent relapse of depression and is effective alongside medication.

But I was most interested in its effects in counteracting stress. And I can say that learning to meditate has changed my life.

At my first lesson I was given my mantra, which you don’t share with anyone, and told to close my eyes and repeat it again and again in my head. Straight away I was hooked.

There’s something about the sound vibration of the mantra going over and over in your mind that lulls you into a kind of trance. The repetition of the sound is like a lullaby.

You go into your own world and yet you are still aware of your surroundings. You’re neither awake, nor asleep, nor dreaming – just beautifully relaxed. It’s like a warm bath for your brain.

After that first lesson, I felt calm and focused and that night I enjoyed a longer, deeper sleep than I’ve had since I was a child. And I’ve been sleeping well ever since.

The more I meditate, the less I seem to be bothered by things. Situations that would once have sent me into a tailspin no longer have the same effect.

My heart doesn’t race in the way it once did; I have become more calm and rational; my concentration at work has also improved.

I think this is primarily because I am better rested and less stressed, but scans have shown that meditation actually increases the size of your hippocampus – the part of the brain associated with memory and learning. I also feel healthier.

I have had only one cold in the past seven months. And then there are the less tangible changes, the ones to your personality and relationships.

Friends have commented on the fact that I seem more relaxed. I  certainly feel more content, less inclined to snap or overreact.

So is this a miracle? Am I now the perfect person? Hardly. Like most of the good things in life, it takes work. Like going to the gym or eating well, you have to keep doing it even on days when you tell yourself you are too busy.

I meditate for 20 minutes morning and night. After breakfast, and then at 4pm – and on days when that’s not possible, on the train or in a taxi. Every little helps. It doesn’t matter whether I close my eyes for two minutes or 20, when I open them I feel better.

I have yet to experience the so-called ‘bliss’ that devotees talk about but I’m just so happy that I’ve found a tool that helps me perform well in the day and sleep better at night.

I wish I’d been taught this at school – it’s the best life skill I’ve ever learnt. But it’s not cheap.

When I turned up for the first open evening at my local TM centre (they’re all over the country), I was told that fees were charged according to income. I would have to  pay £490.

But I did it – and it was the best money I’ve ever spent.

uk.tm.org

Published by Associated Newspapers Ltd, part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group. Also published in Independent Online: The 8.15 train to Nirvana.

Here is a related article, Transcendental Meditation, by Julie Eagleton, another British journalist who also learned to meditate and wrote about it. Julie has covered arts & culture, fashion, food, health & beauty and travel. Find out more at http://www.julieeagleton.com.

Also see this article by Julie: Meditation Creativity Peace: A Documentary of David Lynch’s 16 Country Tour.


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