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Transcendental Meditation: A new class of medication, from the body's 'inner pharmacy'
by Global Good News staff writer
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27 November 2012
Attitudes toward meditation among medical professionals have been changing, said Robert Schneider, MD, FACC, especially in the wake of a study recently published in a journal of the American Heart Association (AHA) linking Transcendental Meditation with lower mortality rates.
The study, published in November in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, found that heart disease patients who practised Transcendental Meditation twice daily reduced their risk for heart attack, stroke, and death by 48 per cent compared to controls.
Dr Schneider, lead researcher in the study, spoke about the rising acceptance of meditation in the Western medical community in recent years. This is in sharp contrast to doctors' attitudes 50 years ago.
Initially there was fear that meditation would have harmful effects, Dr Schneider said. Next, doctors thought of it as harmless, though relatively powerless.
'Now [is] the third stage with the medical community,' said Dr Schneider. 'Now [doctors] are saying there is hard evidence that meditation can really help you.'
He added, 'This is a big change in the dataset from the modern point of view.'
Especially with this new study, published by the AHA and sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (US), meditation is increasingly being seen as viable medication.
'Transcendental Meditation equates to a whole new class of medication, elicited from the ''inner pharmacy''—from the body's own inner intelligence,' explained Dr Schneider.
'There are many studies that show changes in neurotransmitters and neurohormones with Transcendental Meditation,' Dr Schneider continued. 'For example, studies have shown increases in serotonin, which is related to mental health and overall well-being. There are changes in dopamine. There are changes in adrenaline . . . and changes in hydrocortisol. So there are many biochemicals that have been shown to change during Transcendental Meditation, chemicals which are regulated by the body's own endocrine system.
'Many drugs mimic those chemicals . . . . Many drugs affect the body's own chemicals, either increasing or decreasing them.'
The difference between drugs and Transcendental Meditation is that drugs act on the body's chemicals from the outside, but with meditation, 'we find we can influence them from inside,' Dr Schneider concluded.
See previous articles in this series:
∙ NIH-sponsored study finds Transcendental Meditation dramatically reduces death in heart disease patients
∙ Substantial support for research on Transcendental Meditation and heart disease: Maharishi University of Management
∙ What is heart disease and how can we reverse it? Lead author of new meditation study explains
∙ Rigorous methods characterize new study on Transcendental Meditation and heart disease
∙ Meditation reduces heart attack by almost 50%, study published in American Heart Association journal finds
∙ Meditation can lower risk of heart attack and stroke - TIME magazine reports
∙ Regular Transcendental Meditation practice increases survival rate: New study
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