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Reduced sympathetic nervous system activation through the practice of Transcendental Meditation
by Global Good News staff writer
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4 March 2007
In the global News Conference on 28 February, leading preventive cardiologist Dr Robert Schneider answered a question from the press about the significance of reduced sympathetic nervous system activation in heart failure patients and how that helps heart health.
Dr Robert Schneider explained that the brain affects the whole body through the nervous system. One part of the nervous system is called the sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the 'fight or flight' response.
'This means that when you get anxious or upset, scared or mentally disturbed,' said Dr Schneider, 'neurons fire in the brain, in the central nervous system, and that affects the sympathetic nervous system, which sends neurons to the heart and other parts of the body, which tells the heart that there is danger or disturbance in the environment, 'We better get ready and mobilize resources.' '
So the heart beats faster, blood pressure goes up, and adrenalin is secreted throughout the body, mobilizing sugar and fats in preparation for disturbance.
'So this fight or flight reaction is one part of the sympathetic response,' Dr Schneider continued, 'and another part of the neuro-endocrine system releases hormones like cortisol in the blood, which also prepare the body long-term for danger.'
'But this is maladaptive,' said Dr Schneider, 'because the danger is in one's head. The world is as you see it, especially in these cases, because these people who are depressed or disturbed mentally don't have external reasons driving this response so much, but the body is disturbed as a result.'
What has been found in the research on Transcendental Meditation (TM), Dr Schneider explained, is lower levels of sympathetic nervous system activation in TM practitioners, lower levels of cortisol.
Also, in a recent study on the brain conducted in conjunction with the University of California at Irvine, using the most advanced method of brain imaging, it was found that in TM practitioners, the areas in the center of the brain responsible for emotional processing and emotional stress reduced their excitation during TM practice.
'Those areas of the brain responsible for alertness and expanded levels of higher states of consciousness,' Dr Schneider said, 'are more active in TM practitioners, and those parts of the brain responsible for funnelling the sympathetic nervous system, the thalamus in particular, show reduced activation.'
'So this theory has been confirmed both in studies of brain activation in neuro-endocrine studies and now in heart studies. It's a cohesive, unified link now between mind and body,' said Dr Schneider, 'that's restored by this ancient Vedic technology.'
Copyright © 2007 Global Good News(sm) Service
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