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'A powerful antidote to stress': Research shows changes in hormone levels with Transcendental Meditation

Ask the Doctors -    Translate This Article
5 September 2011

Emergency medicine physician Steven Rector, M.D., D.A.B.E.M.,* answers questions about effects of the Transcendental Meditation technique in promoting relief from stress, particularly with respect to the hormones and immune system.

Q: Stress is said to cause 90% of disease. What sort of changes occur in the body as a result of stress? 

Dr. Rector:
It is understood, for instance, that hormones modulate the immune system. The immune system is your defense not only against infectious diseases, but also against cancer. Malfunctioning of the immune system may also contribute to heart disease, through mechanisms such as chronic low-level inflammatory hyperactivity, which may contribute to coronary artery plaque formation. You could think of this as corrosion in the arteries from excessive heat, so to speak.

When the immune system is constantly under demand and threat, and stress prevails, it gradually becomes deranged and confused, as if estranged from the systems it is intended to protect. Like a good cop gone bad, it loses the ability to be perfectly vigilant in protecting the body from real threats and gradually it can become aggressive against its own body—at first to a lesser degree, but eventually it is possible for this to happen to a flagrant degree. Autoimmune disease can occur as a result.

Q: On the more positive side, would hormone levels become more balanced when stress is decreased through the Transcendental Meditation technique? 

Dr. Rector:
Yes, when the body is less stressed as a result of the practice of Transcendental Meditation, hormone levels also change in the direction of less stress. As a powerful antidote to stress, the practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique results in restoration of harmony, integration and balance. These healing mechanisms function at every level of the complex human physiology. Without having to think about it, the entire organism becomes holistically reintegrated and balanced.

This happens at the silent source of the physiology. Therefore, the TM technique can result in healing and reintegration of the entire physiology in a way not otherwise available or expected through any other stress management technique. This is an extraordinary claim, yet it is well justified on the basis of the overwhelming support of over forty years of scientific research from around the world.

Related articles:
'But isn't some stress a good thing?' Transcendental Meditation reduces stress, expands brain functioning, promotes higher performance
Clint Eastwood: Transcendental Meditation is a great tool to overcome stress
Relief from the stress syndrome through the Transcendental Meditation Technique
Transcendental Meditation can help counteract effects of sleep deprivation

Click here for more about Transcendental Meditation and the stress syndrome, including related research showing improved integration of personality, reduced stress, faster recovery from stress, and reduction in pain.

* Steven J. Rector, M.D., D.A.B.E.M., has practiced emergency medicine in Iowa and Georgia, USA, for the past 18 years. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Emergency Medicine. In southeast Iowa he has also been involved in the education of paramedics and other emergency medical personnel. In Georgia he served as Medical Director of the Atlanta Center for Chronic Disorders.

© Copyright 2011 American Association of Physicians Practicing the Transcendental Meditation Technique

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