Posts Tagged ‘trauma’

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.

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

New study shows Transcendental Meditation reduces trauma symptoms in female prisoners

January 17, 2017

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The first study to specifically focus on reducing stress in female prisoners has found that Transcendental Meditation significantly reduces trauma symptoms. Women have become the fastest growing prison population in the U.S., and research shows they suffer from higher rates of mental and emotional trauma, and higher rates of sexual abuse than men. This randomized controlled trial, published in The Permanente Journal, follows a recent study on reduced trauma in male inmates through Transcendental Meditation.

Significant reduction in trauma

The results showed that after four months of practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique, the women inmates in the meditation group had significant reductions in total trauma symptoms, including intrusive thoughts and hyperarousal compared with controls. Trauma symptoms were measured using the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist-Civilian (PCL-C).

‘This study is a valuable addition to the research literature in women’s mental health, showing a natural and effortless alternative approach to reducing trauma symptoms,” said lead author Dr. Sanford Nidich, director of the Center for Social and Emotional Health at Maharishi University of Management. “It further replicates an earlier randomized controlled trial with Transcendental Meditation (TM) in male prison inmates suffering from high levels of trauma symptoms. Previous studies have shown reduced trauma in other populations, including veterans and African refugees with the TM program.”

Comments from the subjects

Those practicing Transcendental Meditation in their prison cells said they felt a lot better—less stressed, with a greater sense of inner freedom and resilience. Read some of the dramatic changes in their own words, and more details about this study in the press release.

The study was funded by the David Lynch Foundation.

Expanding preventive medicine to include mind-body approaches

In addition to the study on TM, the January 2017 issue of The Permanente Journal includes a companion editorial by Charles Elder, MD, MPH, FACP, titled, “Mind-Body Training for At-Risk Populations: Preventative Medicine at its Best.”

According to Charles Elder, MD, Kaiser Permanente, Northwest, “A principle advantage of the TM technique is a time-tested, standardized intervention protocol…. Once taught the Transcendental Meditation 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.”

Related: See this recent study explaining how and why Transcendental Meditation is effortless, distinguishing it from other practices.

Transcendental Meditation reduced stress and trauma symptoms in male prisoners in 4 months

January 1, 2017

Prisoners have one of the highest rates of lifetime trauma of any segment of society, with recent surveys showing that 85% have been a victim of a crime-related event, such as robbery or home invasion, or physical or sexual abuse. Trauma is associated with higher rates of recidivism (returning to prison) and mental and physical health conditions, including cardiovascular disease.

A randomized controlled trial of 181 male Oregon state correctional inmates found that the Transcendental Meditation program significantly decreased total trauma symptoms, anxiety, depression, dissociation and sleep disturbance subscales, and perceived stress compared to controls over a four-month period. Trauma symptoms and perceived stress were assessed using the Trauma Symptoms Checklist and the Perceived Stress Scale.

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Within the TM group, a 47% reduction in total trauma symptoms was observed over the course of the four-month study. Further post-hoc analysis showed a 56% reduction within the TM group for those with the highest level of trauma symptoms above the mean in baseline trauma scores.

Compliance with TM practice was high. Of those randomized to learn the TM program, 88% completed the initial seven-step TM course (total of five sessions) and over 80% were regular with their daily TM practice over the course of the four-month study, which included weekly meetings to ensure continued correct effortless practice.

“To date this is the largest randomized controlled trial with the Transcendental Meditation program on trauma symptoms,” said Dr. Nidich, lead author of the study and director of Maharishi University of Management Center for Social and Emotional Health. “These findings, along with previous published research on veterans, active military personnel, international refugees, and other at-risk populations provide support for the value of the Transcendental Meditation program as an alternative treatment for posttraumatic stress.”

“I have watched inmates learn Transcendental Meditation and become more human after a long and isolating period of becoming less human,” said study co-author Dr. Tom O’Conner, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at Western Oregon University. “TM helps to awaken, deepen, and solidify the kind of transformational process that we so badly need in our overburdened and costly correctional system.”

The study, Reduced trauma symptoms and perceived stress in male prison inmates through the Transcendental Meditation program: A randomized controlled trial, was published in The Permanente Journal, and funded by the David Lynch Foundation

Read more valuable information about this study in the press release, from where this content was excerpted, on EurekAlert!/AAAS.

NCBI: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5101089/

Another study, this one done with female prisoners, also in Oregon, will be published later this month.

Great article on TM’s successful resurgence and supportive applications in health and education

April 28, 2015

FORBES: PHARMA & HEALTHCARE 4/27/2015 @ 11:20AM
Contributor Alice G. Walton covers health, medicine, psychology and neuroscience.

Transcendental Meditation Makes A Comeback, With The Aim Of Giving Back

Transcendental meditation (TM) has been having a renaissance in recent years: Celebrities, businesspeople, and regular folk are practicing it in record numbers. Last week, the David Lynch Foundation, the major non-profit champion of TM, hosted an event in New York City at which public figures like Arianna Huffington, Robin Roberts, and Cynthia McFadden discussed the transforming role of TM in their lives. They made compelling arguments for what the practice had done for them, as previously harried and stressed-to-the-max businesspeople – they may still be stressed, but at least they’re able to balance it with a sense of calm. But the Foundation has a larger goal: To bring TM to schoolchildren, domestic abuse survivors, veterans, and prison inmates to help give them tools to process their trauma and reclaim the capacity to live fulfilling lives. And that’s not a bad goal to have.

The TM movement itself has had some bumps in its past. Developed in the 1950s by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, it rose to popularity after The Beatles “discovered” and helped propagate it – by the late 70s, 4% of Americans were practicing TM, according to a Gallup poll. Then things started to get shaky – and TM began to be associated with some cultishness. But in the last decade or so, the practice has gained back the respect and indeed acclaim, as people – some very famous ones – began to flock to it for its simple and straightforward method to find inner peace.

The business-meets-meditation stories are everywhere these days. Huffington told the endearing but jarring story of when she’d awoken in a pool of her own blood in her office, having passed out from exhaustion; it was then, she said, that she realized that money and power were only two legs of a three-legged stool – self-care, including meditation, being the other critical leg. And the list of companies that encourage their employees to meditate – by teaching it to them and by providing meditation time and space – is growing. Google, Target, Nike, Aetna, and Goldman Sachs have integrated meditation into their cultures.

But the more pressing focus of the David Lynch Foundation is to give psychological support in the form of TM, at low or no cost, to those who need it most: Veterans, schoolchildren, prison inmates, and women and children who have survived domestic abuse. To be sure, TM isn’t the only meditative practice that’s been used to help these groups of people. Yoga, mindfulness, and other forms of meditation are other increasingly common tools in the “service” arena. But, says Bob Roth, CEO of the David Lynch Foundation, there’s something quite simple and powerful about TM which makes it particularly well-suited to touch people who have been through emotional turmoil, or worse. Perhaps its greatest benefit is that it’s relatively quick to learn and easy to master. No waiting weeks or months of practice before you see results: TM cuts right to the chase, taking only days – or for some, minutes – before one feels reprieve from their painful and overwhelming thoughts.

“With TM, you’re given a mantra – a word with no meaning – and taught how to use it,” says Roth. “The active thinking mind settles down to a state of inner calm without any effort. It’s not clearing your mind, as in focused awareness meditation, and not gently observing thoughts as in open monitoring (which is vipassana, or mindfulness). I can put it even more succinctly: TM uses sounds or mantra that has no meaning as a vehicle to experience a quieter, less agitated thought process.”

With the two classical forms of meditation – focused awareness (samatha) and open monitoring/mindfulness (vipassana) there’s generally more practice involved. With focused awareness, the practitioner uses a mantra or other object of concentration to bring a wandering mind back, again and again. With open monitoring/mindfulness, people observe their thoughts with curiosity and some detachment, so that they eventually lose their charge. Though the former is typically learned before the latter, they ultimately work in tandem and complement one another in practice.

To describe TM’s psychological effects, Roth often uses an ocean analogy: An agitated mind, he says, is like 30-foot surges at the surface of the ocean. Focused awareness tries to stop the waves at the top, he says, while open monitoring tries to observe them until they go away. TM, on the other hand, says Roth, has its practitioners plunge deep below the waves, to a quieter depth that’s perfectly still, and blissful. Roth adds that unlike the two classic forms of meditation, “the third form of meditation, TM, is self-transcending. It’s not concentration, and it’s not simply observing thought. TM creates a specific type of alpha brain waves, which is indicative of a unique state of ‘restful alertness.’”

The practice does seem to be helping a great number of people. Roth says the Foundation has helped bring meditation to half a million school children all over the world, and hopes to bring it to three million adults and children in the next five years. It’s also taught TM to 2,000 veterans and as many female victims of domestic abuse through Family Justice Centers across the country, where it’s offered free of charge. The Foundation has also just begun to teach the perpetrators of that abuse, Roth says. The Foundation can barely keep up with all the requests it has from school systems, family centers, and prisons to teach TM.

“There is no medicine, no wonder drug you can take to prevent trauma and toxic stress. And there is no pill you can take to treat or cure it,” says Roth, “Ambien and Xanax, while perhaps helpful to some, are often abused or mere Band-Aid solutions.” There is some relatively strong evidence that TM can affect the stress response, and much of the scientific support for TM comes from its effects on the cardiovascular system, and blood pressure reduction. “The problem of stress is not going away, it’s getting worse and worse,” says Roth. “TM can be an effective tool. It helps you navigate increasingly stressful times. I’m a skeptical person. There’s nothing to believe in. There’s no buy-in. It just works.”

Read the rest of the article here: http://onforb.es/1IfgdIl


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