Posts Tagged ‘South Africa’

New study shows Transcendental Meditation reduces PTSD in South African college students

February 20, 2019

Tues, Feb 19, 2019: A study published in Psychological Reports showed that after 3.5 months of practicing Transcendental Meditation (TM), most of the 34 tertiary-level students at Maharishi Institute (MI)—all of whom were initially diagnosed with PTSD by mental health professionals—went below clinical thresholds as measured by standard assessments. Students also experienced relief from depression. A comparison group from University of Johannesburg (UJ) with the same diagnosis received no treatment and showed no change in their symptoms.

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College students diagnosed with PTSD at Maharishi Institute (MI) and University of Johannesburg (UJ) were tested at 15, 60 and 105 days. After 3.5 months, the MI group practicing Transcendental Meditation (TM) went below clinical thresholds, while controls at UJ showed no change.

A very high percentage of young people in South Africa suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression. A college that offers the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique to its students found this approach helped reduce their symptoms.

A study published today in Psychological Reports showed that after 3.5 months of practicing Transcendental Meditation (TM), most of the 34 tertiary-level students at Maharishi Institute (MI)—all of whom were initially diagnosed with PTSD by mental health professionals—went below clinical thresholds as measured by standard assessments. The students also experienced relief from depression.

A comparison group of 34 students from the University of Johannesburg (UJ) suffering from PTSD and depression received no treatment and continued to show no change in their symptoms throughout the study.

High levels of PTSD

An international research team of seven scientists and psychologists conducted the study. At the start, students at MI and UJ had a score of 44 or more on their PCL-C test and a clinician’s verification of PTSD. A score above 44 indicates likely PTSD and below 34 indicates that one is below the PTSD threshold.

Symptoms included nightmares, flashbacks to traumatic events, anxiety, fear, and hyper-vigilance. They also reported emotional numbness, anger, and violent behavior, as well as abuse of drugs and alcohol. PTSD is a chronic, debilitating condition that may last a lifetime if not treated effectively.

The study showed a rapid and significant reduction of symptoms in the test group, according to lead author Dr. Carole Bandy, professor of psychology at Norwich University, America’s oldest military college. Results were stable over time.

“A high percentage of young people in South Africa, especially those living in the townships, suffer from PTSD,” said co-author Michael Dillbeck, researcher in the Institute for Science, Technology, and Public Policy at Maharishi University of Management, Fairfield, Iowa. “To become successful students and productive members of society, they absolutely need help dealing with the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Our study shows, that after 3 months of meditation, this group, on average, was out of PTSD. It offers a way for others to effectively deal with this problem.”

Our study shows, that after 3 months of meditation (TM), this group, on average, was out of PTSD. It offers a way for others to effectively deal with this problem.”

High levels of PTSD are prevalent in South Africa

Up to 25% of the population in South Africa suffers from PTSD, according to Dr. Eugene Allers, past-president of the South African Society of Psychiatrists. Estimates put the same figure in the USA at 8%.

Several recent scientific studies show that adolescents and children in South Africa may be exposed to relatively high levels of traumatic experiences, particularly witnessing or experiencing violence of a criminal or domestic nature, associated in turn with estimates of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) ranging from 8% to 38% (Ensink, Robertson, Zissis & Leger, 1997; Pelzer, 1999; Seedat, van Nood, Vythilingum, Stein & Kaminer, 2000; Suliman, Kaminer, Seedat & Stein, 2005).

UJ students assessed by expert NGO

The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG), the largest mental health NGO in SA, which assists more than 180,000 people each year, interviewed and tested UJ students suffering from PTSD. They were also tested for depression, since it often accompanies PTSD and can in fact be considered a component of PTSD.

Students were only invited to join the study if they met two criteria for having PTSD: a score indicating PTSD on the PCL-C paper test and the opinion of a trained psychologist. Re-testing was 15, 60 and 105 days after baseline testing.

MI students find relief

At 15 days into the study, Maharishi Institute students showed a significant drop of more than 10 points in their PTSD symptoms after learning Transcendental Meditation. They also found relief from depression, judged by Beck Depression Index scores.

Re-testing was also carried out at 60 days and 105 days of their TM practice. By 105 days, the average group score for the MI students was below the PTSD threshold of 34, according to the paper tests. The UJ students showed no significant reduction in symptoms—neither depression nor PTSD. They received no support of any kind.

A binary logistical regression analysis for the effect of TM practice on PTSD PCL-C diagnosis 105 days after instruction was also highly significant, with 7 likely PTSD and 27 unlikely for the experimental group and 30 likely and 4 unlikely for the comparison group.

First study of its kind

This is the first study of its kind to show how Transcendental Meditation can reduce PTSD in college students. “This study shows that there are new tools available for professionals to add to their tool bag,” says Zane Wilson, Founder and Chairman of SADAG.

This is the first study of its kind to show how Transcendental Meditation can reduce PTSD in college students.

Thirteen previous studies utilizing Transcendental Meditation showed reductions in PTSD on Congolese war refugees, US war veterans, and male and female prisoners.

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About the Transcendental Meditation Technique

Transcendental Meditation® is a simple, natural technique practiced 20 minutes twice each day while sitting comfortably with the eyes closed. It is easily learned, and is not a religion, philosophy, or lifestyle. It doesn’t involve concentration, control of the mind, contemplation, or monitoring of thoughts or breathing. The practice allows the active thinking mind to settle down to a state of inner calm. For more information visit https://www.tm.org.

Funding for the study was provided by David Lynch Foundation and PTSD Relief Now Corporation (African PTSD Relief), two US 501c3 charities.

Ref: Bandy, C, Dillbeck, M., Sezibera, V., Taljaard, L., de Reuck, J., Wilks, M., Shapiro, D., Peycke, R. (Psychological Reports. on-line: February, 2019) Reduction of PTSD in South African University Students Using Transcendental Meditation Practice. DOI: 10.1177/0033294119828036 | US National Library of Medicine & National Institutes of Health: PubMed

EurekAlert! | ZME Science | Medical News Today | PsychCentral | OMTimes: New Hope for Trauma Victims by David H Shapiro | many more

MGFC reviewed this new study, including previous research in this area, and interviewed co-authors, research coordinator David Shapiro, and Maharishi Institute chairman Richard Peycke: 80% of Students Free of PTSD in 105 Days with Transcendental Meditation.

See this recent study: #TranscendentalMeditation as good as or better than ‘gold standard’ when treating veterans with #PTSD. See other TM studies and articles on PTSD posted on this blog.

Filmmaker David Lynch to Give Commencement Address at Maharishi University of Management

June 8, 2016

Over 350 to Graduate from Maharishi University, June 18

Over 350 (366) students representing 50 (53) countries will graduate from Maharishi University of Management at the 2016 commencement ceremony at 1:00 p.m., on Saturday, June 18, in the Maharishi Patanjali Golden Dome. The public is invited to attend.

Noted filmmaker David Lynch will offer the 2016 commencement address. He is famous for films such as The Elephant Man, Mulholland Drive, and Blue Velvet. His many awards include a Golden Globe for Best TV Series for his 1990–1991 show Twin Peaks. He recently finished filming a new season of Twin Peaks that will air in 2017.

Graduates include 37 in South Africa

Those receiving diplomas include 74 undergraduates in Fairfield, 37 undergraduates in South Africa, 160 students in the MS in computer science, and 80 students in other graduate programs. About 160 are expected to participate in the ceremony. Those in South Africa attend the Maharishi Institute in Johannesburg for their first two years of college, and then enroll at MUM via distance education for their third and fourth years of study toward a degree in business.

David Lynch to receive honorary doctorate

David Lynch-Adam Bordow

David Lynch photo by Adam Bordow

David Lynch’s preferred method for public speaking is to take questions from the audience; so four students on stage will ask him questions about life-oriented topics that commencement speakers traditionally address.

As part of the commencement ceremony, the university will present Mr. Lynch with a Doctor of World Peace honoris causa degree, “In recognition of the enormous role he has played in promoting Maharishi’s knowledge throughout the world, transforming people’s lives through the work of the David Lynch Foundation, and laying the foundation for a truly peaceful world,” said Dr. Bevan Morris, president of Maharishi University of Management.

His David Lynch Foundation, started in 2005, raises funds to support bringing the Transcendental Meditation technique to those most in need: underserved inner-city students, veterans with PTSD and their families, and women and children who are survivors of violence and abuse. As a result of the Foundation’s activities, hundreds of thousands of people have learned and benefitted from the Transcendental Meditation technique.

“Not only is David transforming lives through his Foundation, he has made countless people aware of the Transcendental Meditation technique throughout the U.S. and around the world,” said Craig Pearson, executive vice-president of MUM. “Many well-known thought leaders in the U.S. have adopted the practice and have publicly endorsed it at events sponsored by his Foundation.”

Lynch’s activities on campus

Lynch has long been an important member of the MUM family, as a member of the Board of Trustees and in lending his name to the David Lynch MFA in Film program. He has connected with the film students via Skype, has spoken in person to a class, and has hosted the students at his studio in Los Angeles.

He has been practicing Transcendental Meditation since 1973, and has spent time on campus on a number of occasions. In 2006, he offered the first of three annual “David Lynch Weekends,” which brought hundreds of visitors to campus to learn about consciousness, creativity, and the brain.

Nominated for 4 Academy Awards

Lynch has been nominated for an Academy Award 4 times: three times as Best Director and once for Best Screenplay. The French government awarded him the Legion of Honor, the country’s top civilian honor, as a Chevalier in 2002 and then an Officier in 2007. He has won France’s César Award for Best Foreign Film two times, as well as the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and a Golden Lion award for lifetime achievement at the Venice Film Festival. Mr. Lynch has been described as “the most important director of this era” by The Guardian as well as “the Renaissance man of modern American filmmaking” by Allmovie.

About Maharishi University

Maharishi University of Management (MUM) in Fairfield, IA is a private university featuring Consciousness-Based Education. The accredited traditional curriculum offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in the arts, sciences, humanities, and business, but also integrates self-development programs. Innovative aspects include the Transcendental Meditation program, one course at a time, and organic vegetarian meals. Visitors’ weekends are held throughout the year. For more information, call the Admissions Office at 800-369-6480 or visit http://www.mum.edu.

Contact: Ken Chawkin, kchawkin@mum.edu, (641) 472-1314

Editor’s note: Check back here for graduation publicity.

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Capetown’s Shafiq Morton interviews David Leffler on a solution to the violence in Kiev

February 20, 2014

The VoicThe Voice of the Capee of the Cape’s after five Drivetime Show has a national and international flavor focusing on issues making news where the biggest story of the day or week is analyzed. South African host Shafiq Morton interviewed American Dr. David Leffler this week, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, on a unique solution to the growing violence in Kiev.

Dr-David-LefflerDavid R. Leffler, Ph.D. is the Executive Director of the Center for Advanced Military Science (CAMS) at the Institute of Science, Technology and Public Policy, in Fairfield, Iowa, USA. He spoke on IDT, Invincible Defense Technology, as a viable solution to the rising crisis. Dr. Leffler explained how increasing stress levels erupt into opposing factions, violence and war, and how group practice of Transcendental Meditation and its advanced procedures can defuse such collective stress and prevent war, softening the atmosphere for people and groups to more harmoniously discuss solutions to their problems without resorting to violence.

Listen to the 20-minute interview on 91.3 FM http://iono.fm/e/74837.

I was so impressed by Morton’s questions and responses to Leffler’s informative answers, I posted this comment:

When Marconi said we could communicate through the airwaves they thought he was crazy. He was just using a technology that was able to take advantage of the electromagnetic field that was already there. Invincible Defense Technology similarly uses an advanced procedure to allow our minds to collectively enliven the all-powerful, all-nourishing Unified Field, the source of all the force and matter fields, the home of all the laws of nature, for the good of society, and the world, depending on the size of the group. Thank you for exposing your listeners to this hopeful and intelligent out-of-the-box proven approach to creating world peace!

The editorial piece referred to in the interview was co-authored by Dr. Leffler and Dr. Mykola Didukh, National Director for TM in Ukraine. Titled, “Proven Strategy to Prevent Turmoil in Ukraine,” how Invincible Defense Technology could be implemented to solve the crisis, the Op-Ed was published earlier this month in a number of locations: NEPAL: Review Nepal; WORLD SERVICE: The Common Ills; UNITED STATES & CANADA: Times of Earth; INDONESIA: Sigma News; and UKRAINE: Evening Lugansk, which was also published in Russian and Ukrainian.

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MUM’s Executive VP Craig Pearson’s visit to South Africa coincided with Nelson Mandela’s funeral

January 13, 2014

Fairfield man guest speaker in South Africa
Craig Pearson’s visit coincided with Nelson Mandela’s funeral
By ANDY HALLMAN | Jan 13, 2014 | The Fairfield Ledger
Photos: Courtesy of CRAIG PEARSON

Courtesy of: CRAIG PEARSON People deliver flowers, candles and cards to the home of former president Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, South Africa, after his death Dec. 5. Maharishi University of Management’s executive vice president Craig Pearson was in the country at the time of Mandela’s death and witnessed how the public responded with kind gestures to the man they admired so much.

People deliver flowers, candles and cards to the home of former president Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, South Africa, after his death Dec. 5. Maharishi University of Management’s executive vice president Craig Pearson was in the country at the time of Mandela’s death and witnessed how the public responded with kind gestures to the man they admired so much.

Pearson was in South Africa on official business to give the commencement address at Maharishi Institute in Johannesburg. The institute is a sister organization of M.U.M. and the students who graduated from it received M.U.M. degrees. (Courtesy of: CRAIG PEARSON)

Pearson was in South Africa on official business to give the commencement address at Maharishi Institute in Johannesburg. The institute is a sister organization of M.U.M. and the students who graduated from it received M.U.M. degrees.

The students pictured are the first graduating class of Maharishi Institute in Johannesburg, South Africa. Maharishi University of Management’s executive vice president Craig Pearson, far right in second row, delivered the commencement address at the institute’s graduation ceremony in December. (Courtesy of: CRAIG PEARSON)

The students pictured are the first graduating class of Maharishi Institute in Johannesburg, South Africa. Maharishi University of Management’s executive vice president Craig Pearson, far right in second row, delivered the commencement address at the institute’s graduation ceremony in December.

Maharishi University of Management’s executive vice president Craig Pearson received quite the honor in December when he was asked to give a college commencement address in South Africa.

Pearson just so happened to be in Johannesburg when all eyes were on the country after the death of former president Nelson Mandela on Dec. 5. Pearson was able to witness first-hand the outpouring of support and admiration the locals had for the man who symbolized the nation’s struggle against racial separation.

Upon his arrival in the country Dec. 2, the M.U.M. vice president learned he was staying a mere five blocks from Mandela’s home. Pearson planned to walk by the home to take photos, which would not be too difficult since it was normally a quiet street. Within a few days, the street outside Mandela’s home was packed full of people dropping off flowers and singing songs in honor of their fallen leader.

On the morning of Mandela’s death, Pearson opened his laptop to check the news. He saw a headline that read, “The World Mourns,” and he knew right away what it was about.

“When I went down to take photos outside his home, instead of empty streets there were hundreds and hundreds of people,” he said. “People of every age and skin color were standing there. Singing spontaneously came from this epicenter of the crowd and it rang out until everyone joined in.”

Pearson saw a “mountain range of flowers and hand-written notes” placed on the gate outside Mandela’s home.

“Some of the notes were from children who expressed how they felt about their leader with quotes from ‘Madiba,’ as they called him, which is his tribal name,” Pearson said. “He was also referred to as ‘tata,’ which means ‘father.’”

The Associated Press dubbed Mandela a “master of forgiveness” for his insistence on a peaceful cessation to the state-enforced racial separation known as “apartheid.” Mandela brought apartheid to an end after he became president of the country in 1994. Mandela became the country’s first black president after spending 27 years in prison for championing equality against the white-minority government.

“The significance of what he accomplished goes far beyond the borders of the country,” Pearson said.

After the memorial service for Mandela at a large soccer stadium, South Africans approached Pearson to tell him they were touched by the words of President Barack Obama, who spoke during the service.

Maharishi Institute in Johannesburg held an assembly the day after Mandela died. Pearson was asked to speak at the assembly, and he said it was clear from the other speakers how much Mandela meant to everyone.

“It’s extraordinary to see a leader be so beloved by the people these days,” he said. “Mandela was not without opposition for a long time, but once he became president and people saw he was a harmonizing force, then there was full support for him. I told the students they have a leadership role to play by building on his legacy.”

Pearson said when he visited Mandela’s home he was only able to see the roof because the rest was obscured by a wall. He said that was not unusual and that nearly every house in the city has a wall around it topped with barbed wire.

“They’re beautiful walls and the city has beautiful tree-lined streets,” he said. “Johannesburg claims to have the largest man-made forest, and it really is a forest of a city. When you go on a hill you can see all the trees covering the streets.”

Pearson said Mandela lived in a well-off neighborhood but his house did not seem any more extravagant than his neighbors.

Maharishi Institute, where Pearson gave his commencement address, began in 2006 and is affiliated with M.U.M. in Fairfield. In fact, the students at the institute are actually earning degrees from M.U.M.. In some cases their instruction is provided online and in other cases a professor from M.U.M. travels to South Africa to teach a class in person. The 27 students who received their diplomas in December are the first to graduate from the institute. Pearson said the institute hopes to expand in the near future by adding 1,000 students in February.

Despite the end of state-sanctioned racial discrimination in 1994, blacks still lag far behind whites in educational attainment. Pearson said the institute was founded in Johannesburg to correct for the lack of higher education for blacks.

Students at the institute receive 1.5 years of free education and then begin a work-study program. One form work-study takes is to work at a call center in the same building as the school. Students who don’t work in the call center work as janitors or some other occupation that maintains the school.

“People living in the shanties may get an education through high school but their opportunities for college education are pretty miniscule,” he said. “Maharishi Institute takes the students who are ready for college and gives them a college education at no cost. One student told me he might be in a gang if not for the institute.”

Reprinted with permission from The Fairfield Ledger. The Monday Ledger ran this front page story five columns across with all three photos, two from South Africa, plus one of Craig Pearson. Dr. Pearson also spoke at the graduation of several managers at Neotel, one of the top communications companies in South Africa, who received MBA degrees from MUM.

Also see MUM Executive Vice President Comments on Nelson Mandela and more photos at  link.mum.edu/Mandela.


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