Posts Tagged ‘TM’

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 | PubMed

EurekAlert! | ZME Science | Medical News Today | PsychCentral and more

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.

College life can be destructive to student health. Panel of experts offer evidence-based solutions.

February 3, 2019

VIEW EMAIL ANNOUNCEMENT WITH ALL IMAGES

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Is College Bad For Your Brain?
How the epidemic of stress on college campuses
is destructive to student health–and what can be done about it
 

LIVE EVENT 
Friday February 8th • 7:30 pm CT 
Dalby Hall, MUM Campus, Fairfield, Iowa
 

GLOBAL WEBCAST 
Wednesday, February 13th • 4:00 pm ET

Webcast link: https://www.mum.edu/changemakers-event-2019

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Mental health challenges, substance abuse and poor lifestyle choices undermine student learning outcomes and successful college experiences. This webinar will explore disruptive solutions and highlight a unique university that is reversing this trend by placing stress-busting meditation at the core of its curriculum.

The statistics are sobering: 75% of college students report feeling stressed and 39% of college freshmen report symptoms of anxiety or depression.  Suicidal ideation in students has doubled over the last 10 years, 40% of college students binge drink, and there is a 30% rise in requests for mental health support.

Is there an antidote to this potentially lethal epidemic on college campuses? The David Lynch Foundation (DLF) and Maharishi University of Management (MUM) are cohosting a major conference, “Is College Bad For Your Brain?” to offer evidence-based, disruptive solutions to college students and educators alike on Friday, February 8 on the MUM campus in Fairfield, Iowa. The conference will be then webcast on Wednesday, February 13. A distinguished panel of thought-leaders—neuroscientists, educators, psychologists and students–will convene to explore the destructive impact of college stress on mental and physical health and what can be done about it.

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Gregory Gruener MD, Vice Dean for Education and neurology professor at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, has developed a cutting-edge wellness program in the highly stressful environment of medical school. “A lot of studies show that as many as 50 percent of medical students and residents exhibit symptoms from stress that can develop into burnout, so we’re trying to help students focus on wellness for themselves by teaching skills that they can take with them, skills they will need to be effective physicians.”

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To counteract this trend and help students better manage their stress, Dr. Gruener and Adjunct professor at Loyola Stritch, Carla Brown EdD, established the first elective course in Transcendental Meditation (TM) to be offered at a major medical school. Drs. Gruener and Brown will speak (via Skype) about the benefits medical students have been experiencing in their program since it’s inception in 2014.

Young girl touching her face with hands, like a treeClinical neuropsychologist William Stixrud, Ph.D. will also address the conference. Author of The Self-Driven Child, Stixrud has worked closely with students to help them manage their stress and become more proactive in creating success in college and in life.  Stixrud commented on the problem in his recent New York Times op-ed, When a College Student Comes Home to Stay.

“As we see it, there are two critical issues at hand.  First, college life is a highly deregulated environment with inconsistent sleep patterns and diets, little structure, and an abundance of binge-drinking, pot-smoking, and abuse of stimulants like Adderall.  Second, students haven’t been given control of their own lives until way too late.  It may be just too much to ask students to go from parental control to near-total freedom.”  In addition to healthy lifestyle changes, the most effective antidote that Dr. Stixrud has found to relieve the problem is the regular practice of the stress-reducing Transcendental Meditation technique.

Young girl touching her face with hands, like a treeHeart transplant specialist and Chief Informatics Officer for the U.S. Navy, Hassan Tetteh, M.D., brings a unique medical perspective to the issue.  After two tours of duty in Iraq, and as Command Surgeon for the National Defense University, which trains the elite officers in the military, Tetteh saw firsthand the effects of stress in these high-stakes, life-and-death environments.  But after several personal life-altering experiences in the military, he found a calling to heal others, in particular, by helping them to cultivate a deeper mind-body connection.  His favorite John Steinbeck quote captured this feeling, “A sad soul can kill you quicker than a germ;” and added, “Identifying the goals, beliefs and human connections that enrich our souls can be just as essential to healthy living as any medical treatment.”

2019_01_changemakers-2_travisMUM neuroscientist Fred Travis, Ph.D., will report on new research showing that meditating students display a “brain signature” indicating greater resiliency, adaptability and coherence in the face of stress. MUM offers students a Brain Integration Progress Report using a Brain Integration Scale to begin to assess the effects of their college experience on brain functioning. Dr. Travis will conduct a live EEG demonstration at the conference highlighting the differences between a brain under stress and a brain during TM.

Young girl touching her face with hands, like a tree“As experts search for a solution to the effects of stress on learning, one common theme seems to emerge: mind-body practices such as Transcendental Meditation work,” says MUM Dean of Faculty and co-founder of the Institute for Research on Consciousness and Human Development, Vicki Alexander Herriott. “MUM is already a global leader in the field because its educational curriculum and campus culture has made Transcendental Meditation (TM) central to the life of the student—and teacher. This conference will showcase why.”

MUM Student Body President, T. Chevonne added, “The best thing in my life is my TM practice.  It has helped me see past doubts and fears into the infinite realm of possibilities.  I am more confident and outspoken than I’ve ever been, and anxiety is a distant memory to me.”

For more information and a list of speakers and panelists visit: https://www.mum.edu/changemakers-event-2019.

Organizer Michael Sternfeld wrote an excellent article on this second Changemakers event published in the February issue of The Iowa Source Magazine: Is College Bad For Your Brain? MUM also posted this short video promo.

Watch Changemakers: Is College Bad For Your Brain? • Part 1Part 2.

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Related: The first Transcendental Meditation elective course offered at a major US medical school | Catholic Health World reports on medical students learning Transcendental Meditation to counter stress, promote physician wellness

 

Michael Braunstein shares his fascinating story of how he learned #TranscendentalMeditation

January 15, 2019

Michael Braunstein wrote a great article for The Reader’s Heartland Healing Magazine in Omaha on Jan 13, 2019. It’s a fascinating story of how he learned about Transcendental Meditation when he worked as a recording engineer in a studio where famous musicians like Paul McCartney and George Harrison showed up. But more specifically from a meditating musician some of you may remember from the early days at MIU. Enjoy reading Meditate. Your Mind Wants To.

Let’s get something straight right out of the box: You do not have to sit funny in order to meditate. All that is necessary to meditate is to learn it correctly then apply it. Since learning Transcendental Meditation in 1984, I have meditated in airports, hospital waiting rooms, sitting in the stands at soccer games, in the lobby of a busy Manhattan office building, on mountain tops and in quiet, darkened spaces wafting with incense, all with unequivocal success. Meditation doesn’t require special needs. Look, meditation is a natural state of mind that the mind craves. It’s healing. It’s transformative. And it’s easy. All you have to do is learn it correctly.

All About the Bass. You can’t start a tracking session without the bass player and the bass player was late. So I was on my knees in the studio dressing cables and doing busywork as we waited. A bass guitar case plopped on the floor right in front of me. I looked up. I stammered, “You must be the…  bass… player.” The hesitations came because the “bass player” was Paul McCartney.

It was back in my LA days as a recording engineer. During the next 14-plus hours of cutting a track, McCartney’s demeanor impressed me. Accustomed to over-amped and often crazy rock ‘n’ rollers in those days, I will never forget his gentle presence and the restrained command he offered the session. The details of the recording session are unimportant but the impression he made on me as a person remained powerful. A few months later, working on a different record with George Harrison, I observed the same sense of centered-ness and clarity.

Another musician I worked with had a similar demeanor in the studio. Readers wouldn’t recognize his name but he, Harrison and McCartney share a common link. This third musician had an even deeper effect on my life. He was the ultimate catalyst that made me decide I wanted to learn how to meditate.

My Two Cents. Ron Altbach was executive producer of a major live concert album and television broadcast I engineered. It starred the Beach Boys, America, Ringo, Hank Williams, Jr., Julio Iglesias, Three Dog Night and a host of others. It was a complex project and required a lot of technical expertise both on the day of recording and in post-production. Some of the problem-solving techniques of the day included me standing around in the control room with my techie assistants mulling solutions. As we geniuses would banter about which way to proceed, on more than one occasion, from the back of the room came a quiet and unassuming comment, usually along the lines of, “What if you…? Would that work?” The speaker was Ron. And each time he was right.

After two or three of his successful suggestions, I said to him, “Ron, you’re not an engineer or tech. How are you coming up with these solutions? Where’s that coming from? You seem to see things in a clear overview.” His answer was simple: “I think because I meditate, I’m able to assess situations more clearly.”

We talked about the meditation he learned, Transcendental Meditation, and it stuck with me. Three months later I learned TM at the Beverly Hills TM Center on 3rd Street. It took four sessions over 5 days and was easy. It wasn’t free or even cheap to learn. But it may go down as the most valuable thing I ever spent money on. Extrapolated over the 34 years since, it’s worked out to about two cents a day. And it’s becoming a better deal everyday.

Read the rest of this article in Heartland Healing at The Reader.

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#TranscendentalMeditation as good as or better than ‘gold standard’ when treating veterans with #PTSD

November 19, 2018

Associated Press reported on a DoD-funded TM study published November 15, 2018 in The Lancet Psychiatry. The AP report, Meditation helps vets with post-traumatic stress disorder, broke the news. It was picked up in hundreds of news outlets across the country and around the world. It’s the kind of promising good news the press like to report. The Washington Post published this story about the ground-breaking study. So did The New York Times. The Sun published a picture of Maharishi with The Beatles: Meditation techniques used by Beatles in 1960s could benefit veterans with PTSD. The Military Times, Army Times, Marine Times all published the AP story.

Other news services also published encouraging reports. AFP: Meditation helps conflict veterans with PTSD: study, which includes a personal testimonial from one of the subjects. The Hans India and Deccan Chronicle ran the AFP report. The London Economic, TLE: Transcendental meditation ‘could combat post traumatic stress disorder in war veterans’. Helio: Transcendental Meditation as effective as prolonged exposure therapy for PTSD. MedicalResearch.com interviewed Dr. Nidich: Transcendental Meditation May Help Veterans with Resistant PTSD. Will continue to update with other major news reports.

The Lancet Psychiatry included an accompanying editorial by Vernon A Barnes: Transcendental Meditation and treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.

Medscape Medical News reported on the study and quoted from the Barnes editorial: Meditation May Best Gold Standard Therapy for PTSD.

This Graph by Alliance for PTSD Recovery shows the results of the study.Image-Graphs of The Lancet Psychiatry TM-PTSD Study

They also interviewed study co-author Dr. Maxwell Rainforth on how it was put together and the outcomes.

On Jan 3, 2019, APA’s Psychiatric News published this study under Clinical and Research News: Transcendental Meditation May Be as Effective as Exposure Therapy for PTSD.

In the National Center for PTSD, on page 2 of their December 2018 issue of Clinician’s Trauma Update, there is a report on this study: Transcendental Meditation for PTSD, and another one.

MUM Achievements posted this review in their January 27, 2019 • ISSUE 463: New Study on TM and PTSD Published in The Lancet Psychiatry.

Check out this infographic comparing different meditation techniques.

David Orme-Johnson summarized the study on his Facebook page.

Dear Friends,

Today the best study to date on the effects of the Transcendental Meditation technique (TM) on PTSD was published in The Lancet Psychiatry, a leading journal in the field. The study compared TM with prolonged exposure therapy (PE), which is the current treatment of choice for treating PTSD. PE involves having the veterans re-experiencing their trauma through remembering and engaging with situations that remind them of it, in the hope that repeated experiencing of the stimuli associated with the trauma will eventually diminish the patients stress responses to them. PE is very painful for the Vets to go through.

The study was a “non-inferiority clinical trial”, meaning that the objective was to see if TM was at least as good as PE. TM was at least as good. Both TM and PE were significantly better than a Health Education (HE) for PTSD patients, with TM more significantly so (TM, p=.0009; PE, p=.041). 61% of those receiving TM showed clinically significant improvements compared to 42% of those receiving PE and 32% of those receiving HE.

Below is a link to an abstract on the journal website.

All the best,
David Orme-Johnson

Nidich, S., Mills, P. J., Rainforth, M., Heppner, P., Schneider, R. H., Rosenthal, N. E., Salerno, J., Gaylord-King, C., Rutledge, T. (2018). Non-trauma-focused meditation versus exposure therapy in veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder: a randomised controlled trial. The Lancet Psychiatry, Online First

 

Elizabeth Heinź of Coast Connections interviews Don Arney on his fire-fighting @Bambi_Bucket invention and use of #TranscendentalMeditation

October 21, 2018

About a year and a half ago, Don Arney was inducted into the Inventors Hall Of Fame for his invention of the Bambi Bucket. Some of you may have seen my blog post about it, which contained a video profile of Don and his invention, the induction ceremony, and acceptance speech in which he extolled the benefits of his lifelong TM practice.

Inventor Don Arney describes Bambi Bucket uses

Yesterday, Don sent us an interview posted Oct 19, 2018 by Shaw Community TV Spotlight. Coast Connections (Nanaimo) Host and Community Producer Elizabeth Heinź interviewed Don Arney about how this big orange bucket became a brand name synonymous with helicopter firefighting not only in British Columbia but worldwide. See Fighting Wildfires with Don Arney, Inventor of the Bambi Bucket.

I was impressed with Elizabeth’s questions, how Don came up with the invention, the way it works, and the various conditions in which it’s used. Viewers are shown video footage and still photos of what the Bambi Bucket looks like and it’s different applications, from forest fires to various disaster relief efforts. Invented in 1981, it is now used in 115 countries, where 90% of all forest fires are fought from the air.

Elizabeth seemed to also know a lot about TM research and asked Don to describe his experiences as a meditating inventor. At 18:03, she asks: “So Don, where did this idea for the Bambi Bucket come from? I know that you practice Transcendental Meditation, and you know how to quiet the mind and receive ideas, and it’s an inspiration.”

Helicopters carry water-filled Bambi Buckets to help put out forest fires copy

Don answers her two-part question by describing how the idea first came to him and how he developed it. When he was ready to launch the Bambi Bucket in the marketplace, Don found out that the Canadian Forestry Service had identified 12 requirements but didn’t know how to improve on what they were using. When they saw Don’s product in action they said it fulfilled all 12 plus 2 more they hadn’t even thought of.

He also told Elizabeth about the value of his regular TM practice over 48 years. “It takes you to a very special place that I feel is totally necessary for anyone who wants to be creative, anyone who wants to be productive.”

“It (TM) takes you to a very special place that I feel is totally necessary for anyone who wants to be creative, anyone who wants to be productive.”

Don then asks the question of where do ideas come from? From the deepest part of ourselves, he answers. He then asks how do you get there, and explains that you have to transcend from here to get to that special place where all those qualities come from—more creativity, more intelligence, more organizing power, more compassion—that exist within us in their infinite value at the source of thought, our own inner Being, which modern science equates with the Unified Field.

Elizabeth reviews the main idea very clearly. Don then explains how the very deep rest gained during TM removes deeply rooted stresses. He uses a simple analogy to make this point. Like getting a car’s brakes unstuck and recalibrated so you can drive more smoothly, TM allows us to then access those deeper ideas within us, to use more of our human potential. Enjoy this wonderful conversation.

Elizabeth seemed to understand and appreciate the value of TM so well I wondered if she was a meditator. I emailed Don, and he replied: “Liz Heinz learned TM as a result of the show! She said she was so ready!!! She loves it.” I was happy to find this out! Thanks to Don I was able to connect with Elizabeth to thank her for the interview. She sent a nice reply saying she enjoyed reading the blog and thanked me for posting it.

“Thoroughly enjoying the TM discovery for myself! So simple, so accessible and so satisfying.”

As for her meditation, Elizabeth said she is “thoroughly enjoying the TM discovery for herself!” She added, “So simple, so accessible and so satisfying.” Those three phrases succinctly and poetically say it all!!! Best description of TM I ever heard!

For more related information visit DonArney.com and SEI Industries. For TM in USA, visit https://www.tm.org; in Canada, visit https://ca.tm.org.

Update: #1 trending video on Shaw in Canada!

It’s been almost a month since the show aired and we were recently informed that it’s the top video of all nine Shaw TV major markets across Canada. Not sure what metrics they use but they said it has been holding at number one since it started to air and posted on YouTube.

@TVJillianParker reports on the health benefits of Transcendental Meditation for @SPECNewsROC

October 16, 2018

Jillian Parker interviews TM Teacher Peggy Birx for Spectrum News

Jillian Parker (rt) interviews TM Teacher Peggy Birx for Spectrum News

Here is another positive TV News report on Transcendental Meditation. This one aired yesterday on Spectrum News in Rochester, NY. Reporter Jillian Parker cited the scientific research and interviewed meditator Jessica Cowie to learn how TM significantly improved her health. Jillian also interviewed TM teacher Peggy Brix who told her why people come to learn. They used clips from the DLF Change Begins Within video. This was so well done it felt like a free TM infomercial! Click on the title below to watch this news piece on their website.

How This Effortless Meditation Technique Improves Overall Health

By Jillian Parker  |  October 15, 2018 @2:22 PM

There’s a 20 minute meditation technique improving sleep patterns, reducing stress and improving overall health.

Transcendental Meditation (TM) is a technique that was introduced to the United States in the 1950’s. It’s being called one of the most effective techniques to help people sleep, settle the mind, relieve stress, anxiety, and depression.

Jessica Cowie once suffered from anxiety, depression and addiction. She says this technique has been life changing.

Jessica Cowie describes her health benefits from TM

“I’m much calmer, I don’t have as much of an anxious disposition and wasn’t suffering as many anxiety attacks anymore,” Cowie said. “I also was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and suffered with severe chronic migraines. My pain has significantly lowered. I’m off of all my medications for those illnesses. I literally take nothing.”

Young people spend more than six hours a day stressed out according to a mental health study released this year. Practicing TM is known to reduce the stress hormone by 30 percent and it’s the main reason Peggy Birx says people walk into a session for the first time.

“We’re just living in this crazy, high pressured time where people are on call 24/7. They’re connected all the time and expected to be performing constantly. I think so many people have become disconnected with their quiet inner self,” said Birx, Rochester Transcendental Meditation teacher.

In 20 minutes of meditation, someone can gain as much rest that’s required from six to eight hours of deep sleep.

“I used to need to take something to sleep. I don’t need anything to sleep anymore. My dreams are more vivid, I wake up refreshed. My mind is more alert and I don’t have brain fog as much,” said Cowie.

TM is a practice that the American Heart Association has endorsed as the only technique proven to help heart disease reducing the chances of heart attack, stroke and death by 48 percent.

Teachers are based all over the country, including Rochester.

For more on costs and locations visit this website.

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Other cables TV news stations that reported on the health benefits of TM this year are: WTNH New Haven 8 and WXYZ Detroit 7.

Catholic Health World reports on medical students learning Transcendental Meditation to counter stress, promote physician wellness

October 16, 2018

In the spirit of “Physician, heal thyself,” Catholic Health World reported on Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine offering Transcendental Meditation (TM) as an elective course to students during the past 4 years to help them avoid burnout and develop wellness, preparing them to become more effective physicians. The Uncarved Blog originally helped break the news of the early success of this program. Here is a PDF of the Catholic Health World article.

Medical students learn meditation to counter stress, promote physician wellness

October 15, 2018 (Volume 34, Number 18)
By Patricia Corrigan

Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine is believed to be the first major medical school in the country to offer Transcendental Meditation, or TM, as an elective course. Since 2014, the class has been offered to help medical students manage stress.

“A lot of studies show that as many as 50 percent of medical students and residents exhibit symptoms from stress that can develop into burnout, so we’re trying to help students focus on wellness for themselves by teaching skills that they can take with them, skills they will need to be effective physicians,” said Dr. Gregory Gruener, vice dean for education and a neurology professor at Stritch.

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Gruener

In addition to learning the meditation technique, the class reviews the neurophysiology of TM and includes a live demonstration of the brain wave patterns that occur during the practice. Students may attend five lectures over two semesters or view the lectures online. Stritch has even set aside meditation rooms for students.

Gruener counts the TM training as a success. “We don’t push it — it’s one technique — but a significant chunk of the students, about a third of each class, sign up for it, and almost 300 have enrolled since it started.” This year, 66 of the 165 first-year students have signed up so far, and Gruener expects another 10 to 20 to enroll.

Most students who have taken the class have reported the training has “a significant and fundamental impact” on their lives, Gruener said. Danielle Terrell, a resident in pediatric neurosurgery, is one of them.

“Going to medical school — well, that’s not a path to stress relief,” said Terrell. She first took the TM class three years ago and still meditates. “Right after the first meditation class, I instantly felt so much better. The initial benefits are still present, and TM is a great tool to have in my pocket for those days when I am overwhelmed.”

TM uses meditation skills similar to those found in the Catholic, Jesuit traditions of contemplative care. Deans in the admissions offices, the counseling faculty and the clinical physician supervisors at Stritch would agree. They also have learned the meditation technique, which was first taught in India in 1955 and introduced in the U.S. in 1959. An article about the TM class, published in Chicago Medicine magazine in January 2016, is now made available to all students who apply to Stritch.

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Brown

“Two students told us they chose Loyola because of the TM elective,” said Carla L. Brown, who teaches the course at Stritch. She co-directs the Center for Leadership Performance in Chicago with her husband, Duncan Brown, who also teaches TM at Stritch on an adjunct basis.

“TM changes the brain — that has been documented scientifically,” Carla Brown said. “It taps into our innate capacity to experience restful alertness, and that refines the functioning of our physiology.” The website for the meditation method notes that some 380 published, peer-reviewed research studies have found that TM “markedly reduces stress, anxiety, and fatigue, improves learning ability and promotes balanced functioning of mind and body.”

The medical school is keeping track of whether former students still practice TM. “We haven’t received all the information yet, but even those that are meditating once a day now say they do still notice a benefit,” Gruener said. “Our real concern is how they do away from the support system that was in place for them here, and we will continue to keep in touch.”

Also, as part of a student’s PhD thesis, some faculty members have had MRI scans before and after meditating to determine whether there are changes in the brain that have to do with “anxiety or stress or emotionality.” The study is complete, but Gruener said the data from the thesis is not yet available.

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Dr. Danielle Terrell, a resident in pediatric neurosurgery at Louisiana State University — Shreveport, practices stress-busting meditation techniques she learned as a medical student at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

The TM class includes outside speakers, among them retired Col. Brian Rees, a physician who talks about the use of meditation in his work with individuals in the military related to building resiliency and the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. “Students in medical school want to know about the science supporting TM, and they want to meet physicians who research and also practice it,” Gruener said.

The decision to add the meditation technique to the curriculum was serendipitous. “As we were trying to build a broader menu into our wellness program, we heard from a former medical student who had dropped out of school because of anxiety,” Gruener said. “He saw a billboard advertising TM, took the class and found it had a dramatic impact on his life — and he provided the money to begin a pilot program here.”

That program commenced in the fall of 2013. Later, it was modified and the decision was made to offer the course as an elective, with a more flexible schedule. Gruener noted that one reason some students do not enroll is because of the time required to take the five classes and the need to find 20 minutes twice a day to meditate.

“Some students view that as time taken away from studying, even though we try to let them know that if you take care of yourself now, there is a big payback later,” Gruener said. Laughing, he added, “Also, physicians tend to be hardheaded if something isn’t in pill form or can’t be injected. Carla and I have joked that if we had a pill to relieve stress that cost $1,000, all the students would want to take it.”

Gruener said he practices TM, and he openly credits it with reducing his own stress. “You have to embrace wellness and you have to find the time to take control of your own life,” he said. “Once you begin TM, that gets easier.”

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Permission granted by Catholic Health World, October 15, 2018.
Copyright © 2018 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States.
I added all hyperlinks except the SSOM-LUC in the opening sentence.
Article URL: https://www.chausa.org/publications/catholic-health-world/archives/issues/october-15-2018/medical-students-learn-meditation-to-counter-stress-promote-physician-wellness

The Hawk Eye interviewed Fairfield native Cameron Mullenneaux on her Emmy nomination, competing against news giants ABC and CBS

September 18, 2018

The 70th Primetime Emmy Awards, honoring the best and brightest in the world of television, was held Monday night at the Microsoft Theater at L.A. Live in Los Angeles. The 39th Annual News and Documentary Emmy® Awards will be held Monday, October 1, in a ceremony at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall in the Time Warner Complex at Columbus Circle in New York City. The event will be attended by more than 1,000 television and news media industry executives, news and documentary producers and journalists. It will be webcast live at 7:30pm ET on emmyonline.tv.

A short film directed and produced by Fairfield native Cameron Mullenneaux will be in the running. Condé Nast Inc. funded “Angelique” for Glamour Magazine, posted it online last November, and submitted it to The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) for an Outstanding Feature Story in a Newsmagazine. Angelique’s story, the adversities she had to overcome, and the way Cameron captured it is truly inspirational. The film will be competing against ABC’s 20/20 and CBS’s 60 Minutes!!

Bob Saar interviewed Cameron on her nomination and filed this report for The Hawk Eye’s Sunday edition: Fairfield native pitted against CBS, ABC.

The entertainment business is rarely looked upon by Americans as “business” because they’re attracted to the Hollywood glamour and gossip.

You might hear some guy say, “Those guys are artists, not businessmen.”

Two problems here: They aren’t all guys, guys. And those who succeed are, indeed, business-men or -women.

Southeast Iowa filmmaker Cameron Mullenneaux is an artist and businesswoman, and this week, she’s in New York at the Emmy awards. Director-producer Mullenneaux is up for an Emmy against giants ABC and CBS — and their big guns Diane Sawyer and Leslie Stahl.

Cameron Mulleanneaux

Cameron Mullenneaux, producer/director of “Angelique”, is competing against news giants ABC’s 20/20 and CBS’s 60 Minutes for an Emmy for Outstanding Feature Story in a Newsmagazine.

Mullenneaux, formerly Bargerstock — she married in June — is a Fairfield native, the daughter of Betty and Andy Bargerstock, a professor at Maharishi University of Management. Mullenneaux, who now lives in California, wrote, produced and directed “Angelique,” a film about a straight-A homeless high school student in Asheville, North Carolina.

“I was looking for a bright, creative, and resilient young person who didn’t let their difficult life circumstances hold them back from pursuing their dreams,” Mullenneaux said. “I met her through Asheville High School social worker Pam Pauly.”

Mullenneaux attended Maharishi School and graduated Warren Wilson College before earning an MFA in Documentary Filmmaking at Wake Forest University.

Here’s a brief synopsis distilled from a description submitted by Condé Nast to the Television Academy: ‘Angelique’ is a short documentary following the life of a homeless high school girl who battles the odds to stay in school, get good grades, and go to college despite the challenges of living with a mother who suffers from bipolar disorder and an absentee father.

Excellent interview with @DAVID_LYNCH about #TranscendentalMeditation & @LynchFoundation

September 16, 2018

Huffington Post writer/interviewer Marianne Schnall produced this wonderful, comprehensive Interview With David Lynch: His Mission to Change the World Through Meditation. It was posted December 9, 2014 and updated February 8, 2015.

I can remember being absolutely hooked and engrossed into the surreal world of the cutting-edge television series Twin Peaks back in the ’90s. That was when series creator and director David Lynch became a household name and the show developed a massive and passionate cult following (which the show still has — there was much excitement over the recent announcement that Twin Peaks will return as a limited series with new episodes written, directed, and produced by Lynch to air on Showtime in 2016). In addition to receiving numerous Emmy nominations for his work on Twin Peaks, Lynch has also received three Academy Award nominations for Best Director and Best Screenplay for iconic films like The Elephant Man, Blue Velvet, and Mulholland Drive. All these years later, I found myself playing my own cameo in a seemingly surreal scene: hanging out with David Lynch in a hotel cafe in NYC, sipping lattes and talking about topics such as meditation, consciousness, the Unified Field, and “positivity moving at the speed of light in all directions.” What I experienced during our inspiring and thought-provoking time together is that while he is an explosive force of nature creatively, in person he is a gentle, soft-spoken, thoughtful, and deeply caring and compassionate soul. In addition to being a consummate artist in a variety of mediums (as well as being a film and television director and writer, he is also a musician, actor, author, and visual artist), David has one passion that is especially dear to his heart: the David Lynch Foundation, a non-profit founded by the legendary filmmaker to help people overcome trauma and transform their lives through the Transcendental Meditation technique. It began when he first experienced how dramatically TM transformed his own personal life experience, which he says granted him “access to unlimited reserves of energy, creativity, and happiness deep within.” But he says, “I had no idea how powerful and profound this technique could be until I saw firsthand how it was being practiced by young children in inner-city schools, veterans who suffer the living hell of post-traumatic stress disorder, and women and girls who are victims of terrible violence.” The organization was founded in 2005 as the David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace to ensure that every child anywhere in the world who wanted to learn to meditate could do so. Now, the foundation has expanded and is actively teaching TM to adults and children in countries everywhere and offers a variety of pioneering campaigns and programs, including many innovative initiatives aimed at youth and a variety of at-risk communities. The positive effects of the organization’s work is backed up by measurable results and emerging scientific data and research, as well as support from celebrities and fellow TM practitioners such as Russell Brand, Howard Stern, Jerry Seinfeld, Ringo Starr, Ellen Degeneres, Lena Dunham, and Katy Perry. In the following interview, David Lynch shares the story of his own personal transformation and his belief in the power of meditation to not only positively affect one’s own enjoyment of life, creativity, and ability to cope with stress and trauma but also transform our “collective consciousness.” As he told me, “The human being is like a light bulb. If a human being is super stressed, depressed, and filled with negativity, this is what that human being radiates out into the world. On the other hand, if a human being is filled with happiness and positivity, this is what they radiate out into the world. We each affect our environment and that collective consciousness. The more people who are diving within and transcending and are getting that happiness and positivity, the better the world will be.”

Marianne Schnall: Tell me a little about your journey that led you to found the David Lynch Foundation and just in general how you wound up at this place, your own experience with Transcendental Meditation.

David Lynch: I started Transcendental Meditation as taught by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in 1973 in Los Angeles, California, on July 1st on a beautiful Sunday morning, about 11:00. I loved my experience with Transcendental Meditation. I loved my experience, I just loved it. And I’ve been meditating twice a day for 41 years now, never missed a meditation in those 41 years. I went to Fairfield, Iowa, one time to visit a high school where the entire school’s teachers and students practiced Transcendental Meditation. While I was there on a cold and raining night, I was invited to a high school play and I thought maybe it would be one of the most boring nights of my life. I went to a little theater that was packed with people. Then on the stage came students, high school students, and they put on a play that blew me away.

A lot of things about the play impressed me so much, but the main thing was a glow on every face — this glow of consciousness, of intelligence, of happiness. None of them were actors. They were high school students. They weren’t going into acting, but they were so beyond good and the timing of everything was so good, the humor of everything, where it was supposed to be humorous, was so good. It was tight. And it was performed so beautifully. There was some kind of extra thing coming off them that was thrilling. After that, I thought every actor, every actress, should learn Transcendental Meditation. It’s that thing, that charisma, that magic thing that was coming off the high school students.

Around this time, I started hearing about different schools around the country. I started hearing about students bringing guns to school and then more and more through the years, about more and more violence in schools, metal detectors, no learning, fights in the school, a lot of depression, a lot of pharmaceutical drugs, a lot of illegal drugs — the whole thing that by now everybody’s heard about. And I thought, Wouldn’t it be great if students knew about Transcendental Meditation? And one thing led to another and this foundation got born in 2005.

(more…)

How #TranscendentalMeditation is helping lifestyle writer/editor @Tara_Gardner_ @glam

September 8, 2018

I was so impressed with this article I shared it via Twitter and my newsletter. It’s so good I decided to post it on my blog. Tara Gardner‘s experience and understanding of what makes TM unique among other meditations is impressive. She nails it! I like her style and highlighted two key sentences. Here it is without visuals or links, except mine. Click on Glam to see the original published August 27, 2018.

How Transcendental Meditation Gives Me Mental Clarity Like Nothing Else

It hit me, quite literally, after endless months of going to sleep wired, waking up tired, and spending my days drifting through a murky brain fog. I stepped out onto the Chicago streets one morning, absent-mindedly looking in the British direction, and got clipped by a car. Something had to give.

Living in a new city and forging a new career as a freelance editor with a bazillion deadlines, I didn’t really give my head time to acclimatize. I just jumped right in and expected my brain and body to follow behind. To alleviate the low energy, I dosed myself on coffee and copious amounts of Diet Coke, riding the caffeine highs until the crashes became too much. After the car accident, I realized that I needed to find a way to give my head a break from the cranial quicksand of daily life. So, like any editor, I hit the trends — from cleanses to self-care — hard. Then, I tried elimination diets. I felt better physically, but the mental cloud still hadn’t cleared. (And, no, it wasn’t jet-lag, as many suggested; I’d been in the U.S. for six months at that point.)

Back in London, I had done several mindfulness meditation courses. I always felt a little superficially smug about doing them, too — like you do after you’ve just finished a three-day juice cleanse and everyone in the office is asking you how amazing you feel, but secretly all it made you want to do is eat a bucket of fried chicken. Truth was, I never actually noticed a huge shift in anything. Perhaps I wasn’t doing it properly. Perhaps my brain was immune to it. Perhaps (and most likely) I was sleeping through it. Obviously, mindfulness works for a lot of people, and I’m not saying it isn’t a method worth trying — we’re all wired differently. In fact, it’s one of the most popular forms of meditation, really hitting the mainstream in recent years thanks to a multitude of apps and YouTube videos.

But the main sticking point for me was its rigidity. Clear your mind. Clear the thoughts of clearing your mind. Self-observe but don’t think about those observations as you meditate. Focus on your breathing, but don’t think thoughts about your breathing. It all felt too, well, mindful. That said, I did enjoy the fact that it helped me be more present in my daily life, to take a moment, breathe and notice the more mundane daily activities, rather than rushing through every moment thinking about dinner, my next Instagram post, or a fight on The Real Housewives.

However, this practice didn’t travel with me to Chicago. I readily gave myself excuses, which I mindfully accepted: “I’m too busy teaching my cat to sit to take 12 minutes for meditation,” I would tell myself. It wasn’t until I started getting dragged down the rabbit hole of Twin Peaks season three (episode 8 anyone?) that I found myself looking up David Lynch interviews for clues as to what the heck was actually going on. I stumbled upon a video of him talking about Transcendental Meditation, or TM as it’s commonly called.

Anything that could open up my brain to the levels of Lynch-imagination was worth investigating. Oh, and add that Katy Perry, Lena Dunham, Kate Hudson, Ellen DeGeneres, Jennifer Aniston, Gwyneth Paltrow (okay, not that surprising), and Oprah all reportedly practice it, my pack-mentality told me there’s got to be something to this. Also, having long been a Seinfeld fan, the fact that the uber cynical Jerry Seinfeld was also a major advocate of the practice, gave me the green light. “You know how your phone has a charger?” he said during an appearance on Good Morning America. “TM is like having a charger for your mind and body.” I was sold.

Hippy-dippy, cultish connotations aside, TM is actually one of the most scientifically studied, evidence-backed forms of meditation out there. Studies have reported that it can increase and improve actual grey matter (brain cells), along with supporting all manner of issues, including PTSD, depression, ADHD, high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s, and more. “Transcendental Meditation doesn’t focus on breathing or chanting like other forms of meditation,” the official TM website reads. “Instead, it encourages a restful state of mind beyond thinking.” And, as I started researching it more, I found myself really drawn not just to the science but also the technique.

Unlike mindfulness or other meditations, it’s not about trying to empty the mind or monitor thoughts. In fact, concentration or trying to control thoughts couldn’t be further from the practice, making it ideal for a brain full of jumping beans like mine. What TM is at its core is getting to a place of deep relaxation, deeper than any other meditation practice, to the point where it doesn’t matter what you’re thinking about or if you’re having thoughts at all.

What TM is at its core is getting to a place of deep relaxation, deeper than any other meditation practice, to the point where it doesn’t matter what you’re thinking about or if you’re having thoughts at all.

With the thick soup of emotions, activities, actions, and lack of sleep that makes up modern life, many of us find ourselves in a constant state of stress — whether we realize it or not. Our fight or flight responses are jacked up, leaving us in a pickle of confused cortisols and befuddled coping mechanisms, which really just mask the inner noise. This is where TM practice can really help, putting the body into a deep, regular state of relaxation, in which to heal and restore.

Think of the brain like an ocean, the practice says. The surface of the ocean is the conscious or thinking mind, and the waves are like the thoughts. Mindfulness remains on or slightly below this surface, but no deeper. TM is about effortlessly sinking as low into consciousness as possible — to the bottom of that ocean. Now, that’s not to say you’ll start levitating or have some out of body experience; it’s more that you’ll experience the relaxing and precious feeling you get just before sleep when you’re still sort of awake. That’s the “transcendence,” or as some call it, the “bliss” state.

But what is it that brings you down to this level? No guided words of wisdom or philosophical outlooks on life. It’s actually super simple and has been practiced this way for 5,000 years, originating in India. To anchor down into this state, your TM teacher gives you a word, a Transcendental Meditation mantra that is unique to you, which you silently repeat until it just becomes an intuitive and effortless act. The word is deliberately meaningless and more of a sound.  Yes, I did try Googling it to no avail, and you can’t say it out loud or share it with anyone else out of respect for the practice.

Quite aside from stereotypical views of sitting cross-legged or lotus with a straight back and Om position, you’re encouraged to find a comfortable spot to sit and relax into the meditation. Sitting for 20 minutes while repeating the mantra, you’ll find that over time everything just slows down, breathing becomes deep but quiet, and the mantra starts to fade to the back of your mind, while thoughts that were whizzing around at the forefront kind of just drift away.

I can honestly say, it’s a feeling quite like no other. After my first round of Transcendental Meditation mantras, it felt like I woke up out of a trance. The more I started practicing — with the four-session TM course and then on my own twice a day — the deeper I was lulled by its resulting calmness. I’ll admit that I was at first daunted by the idea that I’d need to do this twice a day, for 20 minutes each, but once the practice started, it actually became like a treat I’d look forward to, totally the opposite of previous meditations. I mean who wouldn’t want to escape Twitter shouting matches, Facebook political fights, and the constant ping of work emails for a deep, serene journey into the mind cave? Also, all cat-training went out the window.

I’ll admit that I was at first daunted by the idea that I’d need to do this twice a day, for 20 minutes each, but once the practice started, it actually became like a treat I’d look forward to, totally the opposite of previous meditations.

Some people in my course claimed almost instant effects from their practice — good moods, clarity, increased productivity — but me being the cynical Brit, I had to really take a step back and think carefully before announcing I was a “new” person. The thing is that it can take days, weeks, months, even years to see or notice the effects, depending on what you’re dealing with. But, as I started to regularly do the practice, I did find the fog lifting, the clarity coming through, and my thoughts becoming more ordered. The daily juggling act began to feel smoother and more efficient.

Still, it’s not always easy. There are moments when it feels like a Grand Slam final between my thoughts and the Transcendental Meditation mantras, but as long as the mantra is there, effortless and anchoring, good stuff is happening in ways and on levels I might never even be aware of. And, even if it’s not, it’s still like taking a twice daily, luxury brain staycation, which can only be a good thing.

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To learn more about Tara Gardner visit her website.

Also see: How is Transcendental Meditation different from mindfulness?

Quora posted this question: What is the difference between Mindfulness meditation and Transcendental Meditation? Read a very clear and concise answer Jim Karpen gave explaining their differences in method, experience, and scientific research. 


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