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Transcendental Meditation helps fulfil Maslow's hierarchy of needs
by Global Good News staff writer
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5 February 2013
In the hierarchy of needs developed by psychologist Abraham Maslow, the most basic physiological human needs must be met before higher emotional, psychological, and spiritual needs can be addressed.
In other words, when hunger or sleep deprivation loom large, very few people are able to think about self-actualization and self-improvement.
Norman Rosenthal, M.D., spoke about Maslow's hierarchy in relation to Transcendental Meditation. He suggested that for those who suffer from addiction and are continually feeding their physiological needs, Transcendental Meditation can help correct this behaviour and fulfil that basic level of need. But he added that, for the average person, Transcendental Meditation can help fulfil the highest need of all in Maslow's hierarchy: self-actualization.
Dr Rosenthal, a clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University Medical School, spoke to an audience of medical professionals at the University of Maryland about the effect of Transcendental Meditation on addictive tendencies.
He said that researcher Charles Alexander, PhD, reviewed 19 studies on Transcendental Meditation and addiction, conducted between 1972 and 1994. All but two studies showed significant reductions in the use of cigarettes, alcohol, and illegal drugs in diverse groups throughout the world.
Another interesting finding of the studies was that the longer subjects had been meditating, the more resistant they were to addictive tendencies.*
Earlier in his talk Dr Rosenthal also reviewed research showing a range of improvements in health, including many aspects of cardiovascular disease, through Transcendental Meditation.
At the other end of the spectrum, he pointed out that you don't have to have poor health or an addiction to benefit from Transcendental Meditation.
This is where the top of Maslow's hierarchy of needs comes into play. For people whose basic physiological and emotional needs are taken care of, Transcendental Meditation can help them be the best they can be, he said.
The data from 42 studies confirm this, Dr Rosenthal said. He presented a graphic showing the results of a meta-analysis of those studies, which indicated that the effect of Transcendental Meditation on increasing self-actualization is markedly greater than that of other forms of meditation and relaxation.
* In related research, a meta-analysis of a large number of studies found that the Transcendental Meditation programme produced a significantly larger reduction in tobacco, alcohol, and nonprescribed drug use than standard substance abuse treatments and prevention programmes; and that the effects of Transcendental Meditation increase over time.
See related articles:
∙ US: Integrative medicine conference at University of Maryland focuses on healing through meditation
∙ University of Maryland hosts medical conference on benefits of Transcendental Meditation
∙ Conference highlights Transcendental Meditation role in integrative medicine
∙ Medical database holds extensive research on mind-body medicine, meditation
∙ The story behind the bestselling book Transcendence
∙ Studies show Transcendental Meditation can reverse heart disease, reduce blood pressure
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