Posts Tagged ‘mental health’

‘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.

Study suggests meditation may help prevent PTSD—Boston Globe article by Bryan Bender

December 3, 2012

Study suggests meditation may help prevent PTSD

By Bryan Bender | Globe Staff | December 02, 2012

Norwich Rooks Meditate after classes

Lance Ostby, Rob Wetmore, Matt Miller, Aaron McDuffie, and Jeremy Ward practiced meditation following afternoon classes. Kayana Szymczak for the Boston Globe

NORTHFIELD, Vt. — It is part of a highly regimented daily routine at Norwich University, the nation’s oldest private military academy and a cultivator of battlefield leaders for nearly two centuries.

Dressed in combat fatigues and boots, a platoon of first-year cadets — “Rooks” — are up early in their barracks. On the orders of their instructor, the young men and women take their places. At 0800 sharp, they sit on wooden chairs in a circle and begin — to meditate.

The first-of-its-kind training is part of a long-term study to determine whether regular brief periods of silent, peaceful consciousness can improve troops’ performance. Ultimately, researchers hope the transcendental meditation training might be made available across all branches of the military to help inoculate troops against acute post-traumatic stress disorder, which has reached epidemic proportions and is blamed for a record number of suicides in the ranks.

For an institution that demands that incoming cadets exhibit physical and mental toughness, meditation training is a radical approach. The broader military culture had long associated meditation with a leftist, antiwar philosophy. Known by its shorthand, TM was widely introduced to the West by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the Hindu leader who once served as the spiritual guru to the Beatles.

“I was very skeptical at first,” said Norwich president Richard W. Schneider, a retired Coast Guard admiral who is among several university officials who have also been trained in the technique. “I’m not a touchy-feely guy.”

But the preliminary results of the study, now in its second year, surprised even its lead researchers. They have been methodically tracking the dozens of participants and several control groups of non-meditating cadets through detailed questionnaires as well as brain wave and eye scans to measure levels of stress, anxiety, and depression.

“All those things decreased significantly,” said Dr. Carole Bandy, a Norwich psychology professor overseeing the project. “In fact, they decreased very significantly.”

Positive traits such as critical thinking and mental resilience improved, according to preliminary findings shared with the Globe that Bandy and her team plan to publish next year.

The project has garnered high-level attention from the Army.

“Becoming more psychologically fit is just like becoming physically fit. It is better to do it before you are injured,” said retired Brigadier General Rhonda Cornum, a surgeon who until recently ran the Army’s Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Program and visited Norwich three times to be briefed on the work. “There seems to be no question that meditation is, frankly, good for you. I am very encouraged by the Norwich University study.”

(more…)

Meditation could slash the risk of heart attack and stroke (and make you less angry) — Daily Mail

November 13, 2012

Meditation could slash the risk of heart attack and stroke (and make you less angry)

  • Twice daily mantra meditation, where a sound is made repeatedly, may also reduce blood pressure

By Anna Hodgekiss

PUBLISHED: 15:03 EST, 13 November 2012 | UPDATED: 15:03 EST, 13 November 2012

Twice daily mantra meditation, which involves making a sound repeatedly, lowers death rates from heart attack and strokes

Meditation helps reduce the risk of suffering a heart attack or a stroke, according to a new study.

Researchers found that Transcendental Meditation, made popular by the Beatles during the flower power era of the 1960s, could cut heart attack rates by half.

This type of meditation, which involves making a sound repeatedly, lowers death rates from heart attack and strokes.

In the new study, researchers found that people with heart disease who practised transcendental meditation for 20 minutes twice a day were 48 per cent less likely to have a heart attack, stroke or die from all causes compared with those who attended a health education class over more than five years.

Those practicing meditation also lowered their blood pressure and reported less stress and anger.

And the more regularly patients meditated, the greater their survival, said researchers who conducted the study at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Lead researcher Dr Robert Schneider, director of the Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention in Iowa, said: ‘We hypothesised that reducing stress by managing the mind-body connection would help improve rates of this epidemic disease.

‘It appears that transcendental meditation is a technique that turns on the body’s own pharmacy – to repair and maintain itself.’

For the study, researchers randomly assigned 201 people – with an average age of 59 – to participate in a transcendental meditation stress-reducing programme or a health education class about lifestyle modification for diet and exercise.

Transcendental Meditation was made popular by the Beatles during the flower power era of the 1960s

The average BMI of the people involved was 32 – classed as obese.

Both groups showed beneficial changes in exercise and alcohol consumption, and the meditation group showed a trend towards reduced smoking.

Although there were no significant differences between the groups in weight, exercise or diet, regular meditation was correlated with reduced death, heart attack and stroke.

Dr Schneider added: ‘Transcendental meditation may reduce heart disease risks for both healthy people and those with diagnosed heart conditions.

‘The research on transcendental meditation and cardiovascular disease is established well enough that doctors may safely and routinely prescribe stress reduction for their patients with this easy to implement, standardised and practical programme.’

The findings were published in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

More news coverage: Transcendental Meditation May Lower Heart Risk: WebMD Heart Disease Health Center and Transcendental Meditation may reduce death, heart attack and stroke in heart patients—AHA and Science Codex: Meditation may reduce death, heart attack and stroke in heart patients

The Daily Mail does not explain Transcendental Meditation properly. We do not repeatedly make a sound. It is a silent mental practice of experiencing the thought process at more refined levels until the mind transcends thought and arrives at an inner state of restful alertness. This natural level of deep rest releases stress and allows the body to repair itself resulting in improved health.

Transcendental Meditation may reduce death, heart attack and stroke in heart patients—AHA

November 13, 2012

Meditation may reduce death, heart attack and stroke in heart patients

November 13, 2012

Study Highlights:

  • Twice-a-day Transcendental Meditation helped African Americans with heart disease reduce risk of death, heart attack and stroke.
  • Meditation helped patients lower their blood pressure, stress and anger compared with patients who attended a health education class.
  • Regular Transcendental Meditation may improve long-term heart health.

DALLAS, Nov. 13, 2012 — African Americans with heart disease who practiced Transcendental Meditation regularly were 48 percent less likely to have a heart attack, stroke or die from all causes compared with African Americans who attended a health education class over more than five years, according to new research published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

Those practicing meditation also lowered their blood pressure and reported less stress and anger. And the more regularly patients meditated, the greater their survival, said researchers who conducted the study at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.

Robert Schneider, M.D., director of the Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention and dean of Maharishi College of Perfect Health in Fairfield, Iowa. Courtesy MAPI

“We hypothesized that reducing stress by managing the mind-body connection would help improve rates of this epidemic disease,” said Robert Schneider, M.D., lead researcher and director of the Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention in Fairfield, Iowa. “It appears that Transcendental Meditation is a technique that turns on the body’s own pharmacy — to repair and maintain itself.”

For the study, researchers randomly assigned 201 people to participate in a Transcendental Meditation stress-reducing program or a health education class about lifestyle modification for diet and exercise.

  • Forty-two percent of the participants were women, average age 59, and half reported earning less than $10,000 per year.
  • Average body mass index was about 32, which is clinically obese.
  • Nearly 60 percent in both treatment groups took cholesterol-lowering drugs; 41 percent of the meditation group and 31 percent of the health education group took aspirin; and 38 percent of the meditation group and 43 percent of the health education group smoked.

Those in the meditation program sat with eyes closed for about 20 minutes twice a day practicing the technique, allowing their minds and bodies to rest deeply while remaining alert.

 Participants in the health education group were advised, under the instruction of professional health educators, to spend at least 20 minutes a day at home practicing heart-healthy behaviors such as exercise, healthy meal preparation and nonspecific relaxation.
Researchers evaluated participants at the start of the study, at three months and every six months thereafter for body mass index, diet, program adherence, blood pressure and cardiovascular hospitalizations. They found:
  • There were 52 primary end point events, which included death, heart attack or stroke. Of these, 20 events occurred in the meditation group and 32 in the health education group.
  • Blood pressure was reduced by 5 mm Hg and anger decreased significantly among Transcendental Meditation participants compared to controls.
  • Both groups showed beneficial changes in exercise and alcohol consumption, and the meditation group showed a trend towards reduced smoking. Although, there were no significant differences between the groups in weight, exercise or diet.
  • Regular meditation was correlated with reduced death, heart attack and stroke.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. Death from heart disease is about 50 percent higher in black adults compared to whites in the United States. Researchers focused on African Americans because of health disparities in America.

“Transcendental Meditation may reduce heart disease risks for both healthy people and those with diagnosed heart conditions,” said Schneider, who is also dean of Maharishi College of Perfect Health in Fairfield, Iowa.

“The research on Transcendental Meditation and cardiovascular disease is established well enough that physicians may safely and routinely prescribe stress reduction for their patients with this easy to implement, standardized and practical program,”he said.

Co-authors are: Theodore Kotchen, M.D.; John W. Salerno, Ph.D.; Clarence E. Grim, M.D.; Sanford I. Nidich, Ed.D.; Jane Morley Kotchen, M.D., M.P.H.; Maxwell V. Rainforth, Ph.D.; Carolyn Gaylord-King, Ph.D.; and Charles N. Alexander, Ph.D. Author disclosures are available on the manuscript.

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute funded the study.

Follow @HeartNews on Twitter for the latest heart and stroke news.

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Statements and conclusions of study authors published in American Heart Association scientific journals are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect the association’s policy or position. The association makes no representation or guarantee as to their accuracy or reliability. The association receives funding primarily from individuals; foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific association programs and events. The association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and device corporations are available at www.heart.org/corporatefunding .

Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. 2012; 5: 750-758. Published online before print November 13, 2012, doi: 10.1161/ CIRCOUTCOMES.112.967406. November 2012 issue. Stress Reduction in the Secondary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease: Randomized, Controlled Trial of Transcendental Meditation and Health Education in Blacks. Abstract | Full Text | PDF | Figures Only

Also posted on EurekAlert! http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-11/aha-mmr110812.php

Also see: Transcendental Meditation May Lower Heart Risk: WebMD Heart Disease Health Center

Science Codex: Meditation may reduce death, heart attack and stroke in heart patients

Meditation could slash the risk of heart attack and stroke (and make you less angry) — Daily Mail

TIME Strongest Study Yet Shows Meditation Can Lower Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke

Excellent article by Tom Jacobs on Meditation: Strong Preventative Medicine for Heart Patients

AHA Newsletter: News from the Heart: Update from CEO Nancy Brown for AHA Volunteers (11/15/12) features Dr. Schneider’s study, “meditation reduces cardiovascular risk”

And many major articles around the world, including reports by CNN, CBS, ABC, and NBC.

I also included a review of some of the global news coverage and the report in our university paper the Review: New Study Shows Reduced Mortality, Heart Attack, Stroke (Vol. 28, #6, November 28, 2012). You can also read it in this news post: Results of American Heart Association publishing landmark TM study.

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

Prevention’s Mandy Oaklander Asks Presidential Debate Moderator Candy Crowley 10 Questions

October 21, 2012

Here are some TM-related highlights from this excellent interview in Prevention. Click on the title to go to the complete article where you will see answers to other questions, like what Candy was anticipating from Romney and Obama, what her tactic would be to get them to give her answers, how her moderating style was going to be different from Jim Lehrer’s, what it means to her being the first female moderator of a presidential debate, and how she has the confidence to not be intimidated by men.

10 Questions for Candy Crowley, Presidential Debate Moderator

How Transcendental Meditation, a vegetarian diet, and a serious ability to kick ass keeps Candy Crowley sane

By Mandy Oaklander

It was a 1 a.m. dinner of pretzels and Twizzlers in a 7-Eleven parking lot that made Candy Crowley realize it was time for a change. That’s when Crowley, CNN’s chief political correspondent, decided she needed to ask herself some serious questions: about her diet and her stress levels, about how well she was managing both. Within the year, she’d gone vegetarian, her exercise regime, and most importantly, her ability to manage stress. Thank God, because she’s about to take on the night of her life.

At 63, Crowley is best known for her political reporting on CNN and as host of that network’s show State of the Union. But one of her greatest honors comes tomorrow, when she’ll become the first woman in 20 years to moderate a presidential debate. How does she plan to stay zen? Crowley’s secret weapon is Transcendental Meditation (TM). “It’s the only thing I won’t go a day without doing,” she says. Make that half a day; Crowley practices every morning and night. Prevention caught up with the meditating vegetarian days before the debate to talk TM, politics, and the Year of Candy.

PVN: How did you get into Transcendental Meditation?

CC: My TM [Transcendental Meditation] experience started right after the last election. Campaigns are just so hard on everything. You’re on the bus, you’re off the bus, you’re on the plane, you’re in a hotel. And that’s really your life: You think you’re not going to eat and then you eat too much, or you think you are going to eat and you don’t eat enough. You’re just so stressed out and tired.

When the 2008 campaign was over, I said, “How about if I promise myself that I will spend a year concentrating on getting healthy and doing the right things? If I hate it and it’s horrible, at the end of the year I’ll just go back and eat crazy.” My friends called it The Year of Candy. I had a friend who said, “You oughta try Transcendental Meditation.”

PVN: What’s your TM routine?

CC: It’s a relaxation technique.  A TM teacher once said to me, “You know when you have a really wavy day on a boat, and you’re getting tossed around and there’s white caps everywhere? That’s kind of where we spend most of our time: on top of the waves.” But if you jump into the water and can get down to the bottom, it’s so still and quiet. That’s where TM is. I just sit in a chair in my room. I meditate in the airport. I meditate in my office in the afternoon. It doesn’t require a special place or even a lack of people.

PVN: How do you feel now, compared to your life before the Year of Candy?

CC: I feel better. Sustaining a Year of Candy can be difficult in election years, I’ve found. It’s still too easy for me to go, “If I could just have that extra hour of sleep, I’d be really happy.” I’m not good at coming home at 8 o’clock at night and running on the treadmill. I say this all the time to a guy that I work out with: “I want to love this, but I just can’t.  I just don’t!” And he says to me all the time, “Just love how it makes you feel afterward. Just keep your mind on that.” That’s the only thing that’s ever going to get you out of bed.

PVN: Do you think that meditation has made you a better journalist?

CC: I think that it has made my thought process more ordered. When your stress level is lower, you make better decisions and you have a better thought process.

Do I still get angry? I do. Do I still get frustrated? I do. Do I still have stress? Yes. I don’t think that’s the point; the point is for you to be able to handle the stress. The point is that I don’t hang onto my anger nearly as long as I used to.  It just takes the harsh edges of life and softens them up in a way that you can cope with them.

PVN: It’s the night before the debate. What’s tonight going to look like for you?

CC: Knowing me, I think I’ll be sitting in my hotel room with a stack of papers, making sure I’m up to date on what the last thing everyone has said about things. I’ll meditate, and then I’ll read some more papers, and then I’ll go to bed.

I’m hoping that it will be really mellow. By the way, all my kids are going to be in town, so it’s going to be a huge lesson in restraint for me not to want to go out and party with them.

PVN: Do you have a moderating mantra?

CC: Five minutes before I get on a show, I take deep breaths and settle in. I just say, “Listen,” because that’s the most important part that most people forget. You’ve got to listen to the answers. Otherwise, you’re not having a conversation. And that’s about the last thing I tell myself before I go on air.

Related stories: Daily Mail: Debate moderator Candy Crowley’s secret of success? Transcendental Meditation | Politico: Candy Crowley on Transcendental Meditation | HuffPost Healthy Living: Transcendental Meditation: Candy Crowley And Other Celebrity Followers | New York Times: Candy Crowley’s Debate Prep| Glamour: 6 Things to Know About Candy Crowley, Including Why She’s Causing So Much Controversy Before Tonight’s Presidential Debate| Access Hollywood: Healthy Hollywood: Wellness Wednesday – Candy Crowley’s Calming Secret!

Other related news: CNN anchor Candy Crowley gives Commencement Address at Maharishi University of Management | Candy Crowley visits KRUU-FM before delivering Commencement Address at Maharishi University | CNN’s Candy Crowley to give Commencement Address at Maharishi University of Management | Fairfield Ledger: Crowley speaks to M.U.M. grads | Los Angeles Times: CNN’s Candy Crowley has taken up Transcendental Meditation

Hard evidence grows for including meditation in government-sponsored health programs

October 17, 2012

Hard evidence grows for including meditation in government-sponsored health programs was released on EurekAlert! October 17, 2012.

More people still die from cardiovascular disease than any other illness. Dubbed the number one killer and the silent killer, modern medicine has been researching and incorporating complementary and alternative approaches to help treat and in some cases reverse and hopefully prevent this health problem at an earlier stage of the disease. One of those modalities is meditation.

A new research review paper on the effects of the stress-reducing Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique on the prevention and treatment of heart disease among youth and adults provides the hard evidence needed to include such evidence-based alternative approaches into private- and government-sponsored wellness programs aimed at preventing and treating cardiovascular disease.

The paper, “Prevention and Treatment of Cardiovascular Disease in Adolescents and Adults through the Transcendental Meditation® Program: A Research Review Update” is published in Current Hypertension Reviews, 2012, Vol. 8, No. 3.

• In teens, the TM technique has been found to reduce blood pressure, improve heart structure and improve school behavior. According to the paper, the technique has been shown to be a safe alternative. The NIH-sponsored clinical trials conducted with TM mentioned in this review did not observe any adverse effects from TM practice.

• In adults the technique reduced stress hormones and other physiological measures of stress and produced more rapid recovery from stress, decreased blood pressure and use of blood pressure medication, decreased heart pain in angina patients, cleared the arteries, reducing the risk of stroke, improved distance walked in patients with congestive heart failure, and decreased alcohol and tobacco use, anxiety, depression, and medical care usage and expenditures. The technique also decreased risk of death from heart disease, cancer, and all causes.

“These findings have important implications for inclusion of the Transcendental Meditation program in medical efforts to prevent and treat cardiovascular disease,” says Dr. Vernon Barnes, lead author and research scientist at Georgia Health Sciences University, in Augusta, Georgia.

“This review is potentially more important than individual research papers because it shows that TM has an integrated, holistic effect on all levels of cardiovascular disease,” says co-author, Dr. David Orme-Johnson.

Orme-Johnson says that no other meditation technique has been shown to produce this constellation of changes, especially when it comes to hard measures of cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Barnes said it was important to start preventing heart disease with adolescents before the disease sets. “Adding Transcendental Meditation at a young age could prevent future cardiovascular disease and save many lives, not to mention reduce the national medical bill by billions of dollars.”

This model shows how regular practice of the Transcendental Meditation Program may reduce chronic stress, which in turn reduces CVD risk factors and improves stress reactivity, thereby decreasing cardiovascular disease, and consequential morbidity and mortality.

Uniqueness of the Transcendental Meditation technique

The uniqueness of the outcomes of the TM technique may have something to do with the mechanics of the practice of the technique itself says Dr. Barnes. “Meditation practices are different from each other and therefore produce different results. And this is a very important consideration when evaluating the application of meditation as an alternative and complementary medical approach.”

A paper in Consciousness and Cognition discusses three categories to organize and better understand meditation. See Are all meditation techniques the same?

The two common categories are focused attention, concentrating on an object or an emotion, like compassion; and open monitoring, being mindful of one’s breath or thoughts, either contemplating the meaning of them, or just observing them.

Transcendental Meditation uses a different approach and comes under the third category of automatic self-transcending, meditations that transcend their own activity.

The TM technique does not employ any active form of concentration or contemplation, but allows the mind to effortlessly experience the thought process at more refined levels until thinking comes to a quiet settled state without any mental activity. The mind is awake inside and the body is resting deeply, a level of rest much deeper than deep sleep. It is this state of restful alertness that allows the body to make the necessary repairs to rebalance its normal functioning. This cumulative process resets the physiology and shows up as reduced symptoms of cardiovascular disease and improved health.

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The EurekAlert! press release was publicized by other medical and science websites like Science Codex, PhysOrg, and PsychCentral: Meditation Technique Lowers Stress, Improves Cardiovascular Health. Medical News Today reported: Evidence Suggests That Meditation Should Be Included In Government-Sponsored Health Programs and embedded the video of Dr. Oz talking about TM. Holistic Future: Evidence shows Transcendental Meditation prevents heart disease

For a clear comprehensive understanding see Transcendental Meditation Visualized [Infographic].

Matt Kelley of Radio Iowa interviews Jerry Yellin about an Iowa Veterans Summit solution to PTSD

October 11, 2012

Veteran shares story in hopes of helping others deal with impact of war

October 11, 2012 By

Jerry Yellin

A study finds more veterans die by suicide every year than are killed annually in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A World War Two fighter pilot from southeast Iowa is telling his story today at an Iowa Veterans Summit in hopes more veterans can be saved and find peace.

Eighty-eight-year-old Jerry Yellin, of Fairfield, says he joined the service as an 18-year-old in February of 1942 and, in his words, “I learned how to kill.”

“I flew P-51s in combat over Japan,” Yellin says. “I flew with 16 guys who didn’t come back. One day, I had a pure purpose of living and the next day the war was over and I had no purpose of living. I came home and I was an empty soul. I had no ambition, no direction.”

Yellin says he “wandered for 30 years” and suffered from addiction until he learned Transcendental Meditation in 1975 and “got my life back.”

“It was just as easy as that,” Yellin says. “A very simple technique, not a philosophy, not a belief. Not what you think but how you think. It puts you into the zone of life, twice a day, 20 minutes a day.” Yellin is now the national co-chairman of Operation Warrior Wellness and he’s among the featured speakers at the summit in West Des Moines.

He says more veterans and their families are turning to meditation to ease the trauma of combat and to pave the way to a healthier life. “It’s a very inexpensive modality to remove stress,” Yellin says.

“It’s a 5,000-year-old traditional warrior’s way of learning to cope with stress.” Yellin says he suffered from “shell shock” for three decades after the end of World War Two, but it wasn’t something that was considered “manly” to discuss. Today, the condition is known as PTSD.

“Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a civilian term,” Yellin says. “I would like to see it changed to Post-Combat Stress Injury because it is a mental injury.” He says PTSD is now blamed for 18 veterans’ suicides daily. The Iowa Veterans Summit and luncheon begins at noon at the West Des Moines Marriott.

A release says it will present the research and clinical applications of Transcendental Meditation for reducing stress, PTSD, substance abuse and suicide, depression and enhancing resilience and performance.

Learn more by calling 866-962-0108 or visit: www.operationwarriorwellness.org.

Audio: Radio Iowa’s Matt Kelley interviews Jerry Yellin 5:36.

See Military Leaders to Promote Meditation at Iowa Summit to Help Reduce Veteran Suicide Epidemic.

See video highlights of the Iowa Veterans Summit – PTSD and Transcendental Meditation.

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…)

First international article on TM in Education: Meditation helps students, by Dana Micucci

August 7, 2012

International Education: Meditation helps students

By Dana Micucci

Published: Tuesday, February 15, 2005

NEW YORK — New research appears to be strengthening the case for teaching Transcendental Meditation in U.S. schools, showing it to be a means to improve the concentration of students and a way to enhance their physical and mental well-being.

Proponents say that students who meditate daily are calmer, less distracted and less stressed and less prone to violent behavior.

A study conducted at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, Georgia, which will be published in the April issue of the American Journal of Hypertension, found that Transcendental Meditation reduced high blood pressure in African-American teenagers. The study tracked 156 inner-city black adolescents in Augusta, Georgia, with elevated blood pressures. Those who practiced 15 minutes of Transcendental Meditation twice daily steadily lowered their daytime blood pressures over four months compared to non-meditating teens who participated in health education classes and experienced no significant change.

The technique was developed 50 years ago by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and consists of silently repeating a mantra for about 20 minutes a day. It found its way into classrooms 30 years ago after Robert Keith Wallace, a medical researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles, published the first study on its positive physiological effects.

Since then, studies at universities like Harvard, Stanford and UCLA have shown that Transcendental Meditation can ease stress and enhance both physical and mental health and behavior.

Bolstered by these studies, groups of educators, parents and physicians across the United States have turned to Transcendental Meditation as a possible antidote to rising anxiety, violence and depression among students. Committees for Stress-Free Schools were established last year in New York, Washington, Los Angeles, Chicago and other cities. These committees serve as information resources about the potential benefits of meditation for students and teachers.

Transcendental Meditation is a simple mental technique that can have profound physiological effects,” says Gary Kaplan, a neurologist and clinical associate professor of neurology at New York University School of Medicine and chairman of the New York Committee for Stress-Free Schools. “It produces a state of restful alertness that provides the body with deep, rejuvenating rest and allows the mind to reach higher levels of creativity, clarity and intelligence.”

However, initial efforts to introduce the teaching of Transcendental Meditation in schools were controversial. Opponents criticized it as a religious practice and in the mid-1970s a group of citizens brought a lawsuit against several New Jersey high schools, forcing them to withdraw their programs. At the time, a New Jersey court ruled that Transcendental Meditation had religious overtones and therefore could not be offered in a public school.

“The challenge lies in educating people that although Transcendental Meditation is rooted in the Indian Vedic spiritual tradition, it is not a religious practice,” says Kaplan.

At the Fletcher-Johnson School, an elementary and junior high school in a rough Washington neighborhood, meditation has been reported to help to improve student performance and reduce fighting. George Rutherford, the principal who introduced Transcendental Meditation 10 years ago, said, “We saw immediate results.”

He added, “There was a lot of violent crime around the school. But after we trained our students in Transcendental Meditation, they were calmer. There was less fighting, and attendance increased. Students scored better on standardized tests. Transcendental Meditation helped to remove a lot of their stress.”

Now, as principal at Ideal Academy (Public Charter School) in Washington, Rutherford is training teachers in Transcendental Meditation to combat teacher burnout.

At the Nataki Talibah Schoolhouse in Detroit, an elementary and middle school, students and teachers have been practicing Transcendental Meditation twice daily for the past seven years. Carmen N’Namdi, co-founder and principal of the school, says that “given the enormous stresses of today’s world, children, like adults, need to learn how to rest and relieve tension.”

Recent research spearheaded by Rita Benn, director of education at the Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the University of Michigan, found that meditating students at Nataki Talibah Schoolhouse were happier, handled stress better, had higher self-esteem and got along better with their peers than non-meditating students at another Detroit school.

In addition to improving the emotional and social development of children, meditation can also be effective in treating brain disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, according to a study conducted in April 2004 at Chelsea School in Silver Spring, Maryland, a private school for children with learning disabilities.

“We compared students before and after they learned Transcendental Meditation,” said the principal investigator, Sarina Grosswald, president of S J Grosswald & Associates, a consulting firm in medical education in Alexandria, Virginia. “Kids who practiced Transcendental Meditation for 10 minutes twice each day for three months reported being calmer, less distracted, less stressed, and better able to control their anger and frustration.”

This New York Times article was first published earlier that day by the Paris editor of the International Herald Tribune. Click on Meditation helps some students to download a PDF of this groundbreaking article on the front page of the Tribune’s Education section.

Around that time in early 2005, the David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace had been established to provide Transcendental Meditation to at-risk students around the world. Today many educational institutions have successfully implemented this Quiet Time program in their schools.

The David Lynch Foundation has since gone on to provide scholarships for TM instruction for other at-risk populations: Native American Indians, the homeless, prisoners, girls and women victims of abuse, and veterans from all wars and their families suffering from post-traumatic stress.

For more information and videos on these programs, visit www.davidlynchfoundation.org.

For veterans, visit www.operationwarriorwellness.org.

For a short overview see these Excerpts From David Lynch Foundation Videos: Changing Lives With Transcendental Meditation.

Search for more DLF and OWW articles and videos posted on this blog.


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