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Transcendental Meditation 'surge protector' against flood of stress hormones, helps reduce mortality, addictions
by Global Good News staff writer
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20 November 2012
At a conference on Stress, Meditation, Addictions, and Self-Recovery, Dr Norman Rosenthal, clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine, explained how the practice of Transcendental Meditation (TM) helps reduce mortality.
The key is stress reduction.
Dr Rosenthal was previously a researcher for over 20 years at the National Institute of Mental Health, during which time he led the team that first described Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and pioneered its treatment with light therapy.
In his talk at the conference, Dr Rosenthal referenced studies that found a 30 per cent decrease in mortality in heart patients practising Transcendental Meditation and a 25 per cent decrease in all kinds of mortality, compared to control groups.
(A new study, published 13 November 2012 in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, a journal of the American Heart Association, found that African Americans with heart disease who regularly practised Transcendental Meditation were 48 per cent less likely to have a heart attack, stroke, or die from all causes, compared to controls who attended a health education class.)
Dr Rosenthal explained the link between meditation, stress reduction, and lower mortality rates.
'On a daily basis . . . we are gunning our motors, we are surging our adrenaline and our cortisol. Every time we get stressed we get this kind of surge. Transcendental Meditation is a surge protector. It protects us from these surges.'
Dr Rosenthal related this hormonal activity to addiction, the main topic of the conference.
'Addicts talk about being hungry, angry, lonely, and tired as triggers to relapse, as triggers to sustaining their addiction. Every time we get angry, lonely, or tired, in order to . . . deal with that emotion, we secrete these hormones, like adrenaline.'
These hormones are associated with surges in blood pressure, increases in cholesterol, and increases in blood sugar, he added—all things that have the capacity to damage the arteries.
But Transcendental Meditation acts to protect against those hormone surges, thus decreasing stress and damage to the arteries.
'The miraculous thing about the meditation' is that the good effects extend beyond the meditation session, he said.
'Now we have a technique that helps us not just when we're meditating, but between meditations. When you get your blood pressure taken in the afternoon, you have not meditated since that morning but that [positive] effect has been sustained.'
See previous articles in this series:
∙ Training the nervous system not to overreact: Transcendental Meditation powerful tool in addiction recovery
∙ Conference on addictions highlights 'demonstrable health benefits of Transcendental Meditation'
∙ Transcendental Meditation increases brain coherence, quiets 'alarm bells' - helps reduce addiction
∙ Transcendental Meditation increases alpha rhythms, important in recovery from addictions
∙ Expert on Transcendence describes three different kinds of meditation
∙ Meditation long used to treat addictions: Dr Norman Rosenthal
∙ Dr Norman Rosenthal addresses conference on stress, addiction, and Transcendental Meditation
∙ Using Transcendental Meditation in addiction recovery: Dr Norman Rosenthal
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