Posts Tagged ‘Sandy Nidich’

Physician recommends wider use of evidence-based mind-body interventions for prisoners

February 1, 2017

Medical doctor calls for mind-body approaches to help prisoners reduce stress, trauma, and recidivism

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A group of female inmates practicing Transcendental Meditation experienced significant reductions in trauma symptoms compared to a control group. Photo credit: The Oregon Department of Corrections*

A randomized study published online January 17, 2017 in The Permanente Journal on 22 female prisoners found that those practicing Transcendental Meditation for four months had significant reductions in total trauma symptoms compared with a control group. And a similar study in the same journal published October 7, 2016, involving 181 male prisoners found a 47% reduction in total trauma symptoms compared to a non-meditating control group.

In an editorial, published February 1, 2017 to accompany the two studies on Transcendental Meditation in their Winter 2017 print edition, Charles Elder, MD, MPH, FACP, a clinician and researcher with Kaiser Permanente, called for wider use of evidence-based mind-body interventions for prisoners.

Advantages of mind-body interventions for prisoners

Dr. Elder cited many of the advantages of these interventions.

Charles Elder, MD, MPH, FACP

Charles Elder, MD, MPH, FACP

“Mind-body interventions can provide the patient with a simple self-help tool that can effectively reduce anxiety, help treat substance abuse, reduce inmate recidivism, and help address a range of medical conditions,” he wrote, citing research on Transcendental Meditation that supports these benefits.

In addition to these benefits, he points out that a mind-body intervention can be cost-effective. Since Transcendental Meditation has been shown to reduce recidivism — the percentage of inmates returning to prison after their release — it can save money that would otherwise be spent on incarceration. And, he points out, a prisoner who becomes a productive member of society provides an economic benefit, instead of a deficit.

Rebecca Pak of The Women’s Prison Association agrees with Dr. Elder, “The results inside correctional facilities and schools with Transcendental Meditation have been simply astounding. If we shifted our focus from punitive responses to interventions designed to improve mental and physical health, we would have much greater impact.”

Convenience of mind-body interventions

Dr. Elder also describes the convenience of mind-body approaches.

“Once taught the technique, an individual can use the skill for the duration of his or her life, as a stress management tool, providing ongoing benefits across a range of domains…. In addition to helping the inmate cope with the stress of incarceration, there is a range of additional ‘side benefits,’ ranging from reduced recidivism to improved cardiovascular health.”

He says a trained instructor can take Transcendental Meditation directly to the prisoners, rather than their going to a clinic or meditation center. And direct personal instruction is better than trying to learn a mind-body intervention online, since many may be unable or unwilling to engage an online format.

Effectiveness of Transcendental Meditation

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Sanford Nidich, EdD, lead author

Led by Sanford Nidich, EdD, Director of the Maharishi University of Management Center for Social and Emotional Health, the two recent studies published by The Permanente Journal were conducted at three prisons in Oregon. The hypothesis was that Transcendental Meditation would help prisoners deal with serious trauma and stress. Surveys have shown that prisoners have one of the highest rates of lifetime trauma of any segment of society, with 85% having been a victim of a crime-related event, such as robbery or home invasion, or physical or sexual abuse.

This trauma leads to stress and poor lifestyle choices, including crime and substance abuse. In addition to these recent studies, earlier ones have found that Transcendental Meditation helps inmates deal with trauma and stress and reduces recidivism. Here is a sampling, with some listed in the editorial:

• 2017 — the study described above that found reduced trauma in female prisoners in Oregon

• 2016 — the study mentioned above that found a 47% reduction in total trauma symptoms in male prisoners in Oregon over the course of the four-month study, including a reduction in anxiety, depression, dissociation, and sleep disturbance, as well as a significant decrease in perceived stress

• 2003 — A study of 17 subjects at La Tuna federal penitentiary in Texas showed a reduction on the MMPI psychasthenia scale, suggesting a reduction in obsessive–compulsive behavior, and a decrease in social introversion.

• 2003 — A retrospective followup on 152 inmates who had learned Transcendental Meditation at Walpole prison in Massachusetts found that these inmates were 33% less likely to have returned to prison after 30 days compared to a control group that participated in counseling, drug rehabilitation and religious activities, and 47% less likely compared to all non-meditating control subjects.

• 2003 — A retrospective analysis of 248 inmates at Folsom State Prison used Cox regression analysis to calculate that prisoners who learn Transcendental Meditation are 43.5% less likely to return to prison.

• 1987 — A study of 259 inmates who had learned Transcendental Meditation at several different prisons in California found that they were 40% less likely to have returned to prison one year after release compared to matched controls, and 30% less likely after six years.

• 1978 — A study of 115 inmates at Folsom Prison in California found a reduction in anxiety, negativism, and suspicions, as well as improved sleep.

“The overall body of research suggests that Transcendental Meditation could be used more widely to help prisoners deal with trauma and stress,” said Dr. Nidich, lead author of the recent studies conducted at Oregon prisons.

Source: Mind-Body Training for At-Risk Populations: Preventive Medicine at its Best. [PDF]

About the Transcendental Meditation Technique

Transcendental Meditation® (TM®) is a simple, natural technique practiced 20 minutes twice each day while sitting comfortably with the eyes closed. The TM technique is easy to learn and enjoyable to practice, and is not a religion, philosophy, or lifestyle. Unlike other forms of meditation, TM practice involves no concentration, no control of the mind, no contemplation, no monitoring of thoughts. It automatically and effortlessly allows the active thinking mind to settle down to a state of deep inner calm. For more information visit www.tm.org.

*Photo: The Coffee Creek Correctional Facility in Wilsonville, Oregon.

MarketWired: Medical doctor calls for mind-body approaches to help prisoners reduce stress, trauma, and recidivism

Related posts: New study shows Transcendental Meditation reduces trauma symptoms in female prisoners and Transcendental Meditation reduced stress and trauma symptoms in male prisoners in 4 months

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Excellent article on Transcendental Meditation written by Sarah Klein in Prevention Magazine

February 14, 2016

Preface: Electrical Analogies

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Norman Rosenthal

I find it fascinating that Norman Rosenthal and Jerry Seinfeld have come up with their own opposite electrical analogies to describe how Transcendental Meditation works — as both a surge protector and a battery charger!

People exposed to continual stressful trauma suffer from PTSD. Dr. Norman E. Rosenthal says Transcendental Meditation is like a surge protector against stress. First it calms the amygdala; it turns down that alarm bell where there no longer is a fire.

Jerry Seinfeld

Jerry Seinfeld

And equally important, TM acts as a buffer against future stressful reactions. The nervous system becomes more resilient to stressful stimuli; they’re no longer interpreted as such. The individuals have normalized.

Jerry Seinfeld compares TM to a phone charger for your whole body and mind. He reminds us how we charge our cellphones and then use them throughout the whole day. That’s what TM does for him. It sets him up for his day fully charged until his next TM session to recharge.

Prevention Magazine article on Transcendental Meditation

Bob Roth

Bob Roth

Rosenthal was interviewed and Seinfeld mentioned in an excellent article for Prevention Magazine by staff writer Sarah Klein. It’s nicely designed with graphics, photos and relevant links to cited studies and video clips.

Others interviewed were Bob Roth, executive director for the David Lynch Foundation, and Sandy Nidich, professor and researcher at Maharishi University of Management. Others referenced and linked to are Ellen Degeneres, Jim Carrey, and Oprah Winfrey.

Klein seems to understand her subject even though she probably has not experienced it. Her writing is clear and objective. She’s done her homework when it comes to the science, and integrates her interviewees remarks to full advantage. It’s a pleasure to read a TM article like this when someone gets it right!

Enjoy reading This Is Your Brain On Transcendental Meditation.

For information on Transcendental Meditation visit www.tm.org.

Transcendental Meditation at Prevention R3 Summit

A month before the Prevention Magazine article, Bob Roth was invited to give a talk on Transcendental Meditation at the 3rd annual Prevention R3 Summit. He spoke January 15, 2016, the opening night of the Summit, at ACL Live in The Moody Theater in Austin, Texas. Check the DavidLynchFoundation YouTube Channel for a description of his talk. Austin Art Examiner writer Nicolette Mallow was there and interviewed Bob Roth for her article on this self-transcending form of meditation that can transform people’s lives for the better.

In related news, read about The first Transcendental Meditation elective course offered at a major US medical school.

Jennie Gritz explored the use of TM in education in her article for The Atlantic: Quiet Time Brings Transcendental Meditation to Public Schools.

New study out on Transcendental Meditation shows reduced teacher stress and burnout

February 3, 2014

Transcendental Meditation Reduces Teacher Stress and Burnout, New Research Shows

Effect of Transcendental Meditation on Employee Stress, Depression, and Burnout: A Randomized Controlled Study

This graph shows the average level of change in total burnout, as measured by the Maslach Burnout Inventory, in the Transcendental Meditation group compared to controls. The graph displays a marked reduction in burnout symptoms in the TM group, with the control group showing a small increase in burnout over the duration of the study.

This graph shows the average level of change in total burnout, as measured by the Maslach Burnout Inventory, in the Transcendental Meditation group compared to controls. The graph displays a marked reduction in burnout symptoms in the TM group, with the control group showing a small increase in burnout over the duration of the study.

A new study published in The Permanente Journal (Vol. 18, No.1) on health showed the introduction of the Transcendental Meditation® technique substantially decreased teacher stress and burnout.

Research indicates that stress and burnout are pervasive problems among employees, with teachers being especially vulnerable to feeling frequent stress from their jobs. Burnout, a syndrome of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and job dissatisfaction, has been found to contribute to lower teacher classroom performance and higher absenteeism and job turnover rates.

This current study sought to determine whether practice of the Transcendental Meditation (TM) program results in lower psychological distress and decreased burnout in teachers and support staff at the Bennington School in Vermont, a special in-residence school for students with behavioral problems.

This graph shows the average level of change in perceived stress, as measured by the Perceived Stress Scale, in the Transcendental Meditation group compared to controls. The graph displays a marked reduction in perceived stress in the TM group, with the control group showing a small increase in stress over the duration of the study.

This graph shows the average level of change in perceived stress, as measured by the Perceived Stress Scale, in the Transcendental Meditation group compared to controls. The graph displays a marked reduction in perceived stress in the TM group, with the control group showing a small increase in stress over the duration of the study.

According to Dr. Charles Elder, MD, MPH, lead author of the study and a Senior Physician in the Department of Internal Medicine at Kaiser Permanente Northwest, “The results of this randomized controlled trial are very striking and demonstrate the utility of introducing a stress reduction program for teachers and other public and private employees. The four-month study found significant and clinically important decreases in perceived stress, emotional exhaustion associated with teacher burnout, and depressive symptoms in those practicing the TM program compared to a wait-list control group.”

“Burnout and other psychological distress factors have been linked to negative health behaviors, obesity, and hypertension, all of which are major contributors to cardiovascular disease,” emphasized Dr. Sanford Nidich, EdD, study principal investigator and Professor of Education at Maharishi University of Management. “Prior medical research has found that practice of the TM program is effective in reducing both risk factors for heart disease and cardiovascular events. Taken as a whole, this present study and prior research provide evidence for the value of the TM program for enhancing mental and physical health and well-being, explained Dr. Nidich.”

This graph shows the average level of change in decreased depression symptoms, as measured by the Mental Health Inventory-5, in the Transcendental Meditation group compared to controls. The graph displays a marked reduction in depression symptoms in the TM group, with the control group showing a small decrease in depression over the duration of the study.

This graph shows the average level of change in decreased depression symptoms, as measured by the Mental Health Inventory-5, in the Transcendental Meditation group compared to controls. The graph displays a marked reduction in depression symptoms in the TM group, with the control group showing a small decrease in depression over the duration of the study.

The study included 40 teachers and support staff measured at baseline and then randomly assigned to either immediate start of the TM program or delayed start (wait-list control group). Compliance with practice of the TM technique throughout the four-month intervention period was high; 100% of the participants assigned to the TM group meditated at least once a day. Of those, 56% meditated regularly at home twice a day.

This is the first study to investigate the effects of Transcendental Meditation on teacher burnout. Recent published studies have shown a positive impact of this program on student graduation rates, academic achievement, and psychological distress. Transcendental Meditation has seen widespread implementation in secondary schools across the country within the context of school-wide Quiet Time programs.

The study was funded by the Nine East Network and David Lynch Foundation.

About the Transcendental Meditation technique

The TM technique is a simple, natural, effortless procedure practiced 20 minutes twice each day while sitting comfortably with the eyes closed. Extensive peer-reviewed research studies have found that TM reduces psychological distress, including anxiety and depression, and promotes overall mental and physical health.

The TM technique is available in the USA through Maharishi Foundation USA, a federally recognized non-profit educational organization. Through partnerships with other non-profit organizations and foundations, full TM scholarships have been given to more than 250,000 at-risk children, school teachers, veterans suffering from PTSD, homeless people, and others. Visit http://www.tm.org for more information.

About Maharishi University of Management

Maharishi University of Management is an accredited university offering bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in the arts, sciences, humanities, and business, where Transcendental Meditation is also practiced by both professors and students. Visit http://www.mum.edu for more information.

Source: EurekAlert!


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