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New organization partners to promote PTSD relief in Africa through Transcendental Meditation
by Global Good News staff writer
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19 February 2014
Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is widespread throughout Africa. Among 18 African countries that have had wars on their lands in the last 10 years—including Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and South Sudan—it is estimated that 25 per cent of the population suffers from PTSD. Even in South Africa, which has never had an outright war, a leading psychiatrist estimates that the same percentage is affected. In all, 100 million Africans are thought to be afflicted by PTSD.
A recent webinar, conducted by David Shapiro, founding president of a new nonprofit organization, African PTSD Relief, featured current scientific research that has found Transcendental Meditation highly effective in the treatment of PTSD in African war refugees.
The webinar focussed on two studies, published within the past year in the Journal of Traumatic Stress, that found rapid reduction in PTSD symptoms in African refugees practising Transcendental Meditation. In the first, published in April 2013, subjects were found to be asymptomatic within 30 days; the second, published in February 2014, found much of the effect occurring within the first 10 days of TM practice.
Publication of the second study was announced by both Maharishi University of Management (MUM) in the USA, and by African PTSD Relief, which organized the project and research in partnership with the David Lynch Foundation. The dramatic statistics were reported by news media around the world, inspiring great interest in Transcendental Meditation.
Although there is increasing demand to bring the programme to countries in other parts of the world where the need is also great, initially the African PTSD Relief organization is focussing full attention on Africa. It acts as an advisor, providing materials, research, and other administrative support to those in different countries who seek to organize similar projects.
The goal of the new organization is to teach Transcendental Meditation to people already suffering from PTSD, and to those determined to be at risk. This is assessed based on results of a stress test analysis, the PCL-C, or PTSD Check List, which grades the experience of PTSD type symptoms.
The two lead collaborators of the second study were Col. Brian Rees, MD, US Army Reserve Medical Corps, and Fred Travis, PhD, director of the Center for Brain, Consciousness, and Cognition at Maharishi University of Management.
During the webinar, Col Rees defined PTSD and described how Transcendental Meditation has helped the Congolese population. Dr Travis discussed the first African PTSD study, and also explained in lay terms how the brain functions under the influence of PTSD and how the state of 'restful alertness' during TM practice alleviates PTSD symptoms.
Another researcher gave a vision of possibilities for life without suffering and presented inspiring 'before and after' testimonials from several subjects who learned Transcendental Meditation as part of the recent studies.
Mr Shapiro concluded by saying that, since the evidence shows that PTSD is most effectively treated by Transcendental Meditation, African PTSD Relief will seek to enlist the support of large organizations in the public and private sector, in carrying out its mission to improve the quality of life of millions of Africans throughout the continent.
See related articles:
∙ Researcher reports on recent studies: Transcendental Meditation reduces PTSD in African war refugees
∙ Leading neuroscientist explains how Transcendental Meditation changes the effects of PTSD in the brain
∙ Worldwide news media report effectiveness of Transcendental Meditation in reducing African war refugees' PTSD
Copyright © 2014 Global Good News Service
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