30 April 2010

Top psychiatrist lauds research on Transcendental Meditation

A top 20-year medical researcher from theNational Institutes of Mental Health talks about the extensive body of research on the Transcendental Meditation technique, which document its health benefits for all areas of life.
Dr. Norman Rosenthal, M.D., is a very smart man. With a big heart. And a patience that extends well beyond the beyond. He has to be. He is an internationally prominent psychiatrist in private practice in the Washington, D.C. area, clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University Medical School, and author of several top-selling books, including Winter Blues and The Emotional Revolution. And for 20 years, Dr. Rosenthal was a senior researcher at the National Institutes of Mental Health, where he gained fame as the first scientist to describe Seasonal Affective Disorder—the dramatic influence of light on mood.
Two years ago, Dr. Rosenthal began to investigate other possible therapies to treat bipolar disorder. He selected the Transcendental Meditation technique. His preliminary findings show this program to be a fully safe adjunct to conventional therapies, and produces marked benefit for depressive patients.

These findings inspired Dr Rosenthal to deepen and expand his investigation into the applications of the TM technique, including a study on stress and productivity among meditating business executives, as well as homeless veterans who are participating in re-entry programs.

In this first in a series of interviews, Dr. Rosenthal comments on the substantial body of peer-reviewed scientific studies already conducted on the technique; in particular in the area of cardiovascular disease, and says that if the benefits of the TM program for heart health were contained in a pill, “it would be a billion-dollar blockbuster.”

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21 April 2010

Documentary about Father Gabriel Mejia and Transcendental Meditation

Professor Stuart Tanner with Father Gabriel Mejia
Father Gabriel visits one of his centers
Filming on the streets of Medellin
A girl practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique
Mayor Ed Malloy reading the proclamation honoring Father Gabriel Photo by Ken West
Professor Tanner's Documentary Premiers in Fairfield

The David Lynch Foundation presented its newest documentary about Father Gabriel Mejia on April 8. Directed by MUM faculty member Stuart Tanner, “Saving the Disposable Ones” shows Father Gabriel’s work in Colombia transforming the lives of thousands of children by providing shelter, love, and the Transcendental Meditation® technique.
Father Gabriel opened his first shelter in the mid 1980s in the city of Medellin and now his FundaciĆ³n Hogares Claret runs 54 centers in 8 cities serving 8,500 children across Colombia.
"The basic therapy is love,” said Father Mejia. “Love is the imperial medicine for any illness or disorder. When a child feels they are welcome, when a child feels an educator is concerned about them, the child who came from violence and hostility of the streets, from being mistreated and who became aggressive, they change. The child changes."
The film is part of the David Lynch Foundation Television documentary series and it documents the extraordinary transformation the children go through over time.
“I have a strong interest in telling stories that are based on solutions to the toughest of our current challenges in the world,” said director Stuart Tanner. “Transcendental Meditation is taught to the children as part of a therapeutic process. The children recognize the benefits they get from the TM technique. They once felt hopeless and lost, now they express positivity about their futures and have ambitions. This is such a great achievement when one considers the very tough circumstances they have been through.”
Stuart Tanner is Co-Director of MUM’s Communications and Media department and Executive Producer-Director for David Lynch Foundation Television. Over the past 30 years he has worked for major UK and international broadcasters and his documentaries have won awards from the BBC and Channel Four.
During the premiere, Ed Malloy, Fairfield’s Mayor, presented Father Gabriel with a proclamation and declared April 8, 2010 Father Gabriel Mejia day in honor of Father Gabriel’s selfless work for children.
The documentary was co-produced by Joanna Plafsky, a long-time supporter of the David Lynch Foundation. Assistant Producers of the film were Cullen Thomas and Amine Koudier of DLF.TV who both graduated from MUM. The David Lynch Foundation will be submitting the documentary to film festivals and TV networks. It will subsequently be available on DVD.
The David Lynch Foundation has provided over 120,000 scholarships around the world, including tens of thousands in Latin America, for the teaching of the Transcendental Meditation technique to at-risk populations.
Watch the trailer for the documentary at DLF.TV

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09 April 2010

Transcendental Meditation an effective way to ease depression

Two new studies claim that the practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique (TM) is an easy way to dissolve the negative effects of depression by reducing stress and promoting good health.
The Transcendental Meditation® technique may be an effective approach to reduce symptoms of depression, according to two new studies to be presented at the 31st Annual Meeting of the Society of Behavioral Medicine in Seattle, Washington April 9th, 2010. The studies, conducted at Charles Drew University in Los Angeles and University of Hawaii in Kohala included African Americans and Native Hawaiians, 55 years and older, who were at risk for cardiovascular disease. Participants were randomly allocated to the Transcendental Meditation program or health education control group, and assessed with a standard test for depression—the Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression (CES-D) inventory over 9-12 months.

“Clinically meaningful reductions in depressive symptoms were associated with practice of the Transcendental Meditation program,” said Sanford Nidich, EdD, lead author and senior researcher at the Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention at Maharishi University of Management. “The findings of these studies have important implications for improving mental health and reducing the risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality,” said Dr. Nidich.

Participants in both studies who practiced the Transcendental Meditation program showed significant reductions in depressive symptoms compared to health education controls. The largest decreases were found in those participants who had indications of clinically significant depression, with those practicing Transcendental Meditation showing an average reduction in depressive symptoms of 48%.

“These results are encouraging and provide support for testing the efficacy of Transcendental Meditation as a therapeutic adjunct in the treatment of clinical depression,” said Hector Myers, PhD, study co-author and professor and director of Clinical Training in the Department of Psychology at U.C.L.A.

The results of these studies are timely. For older Americans, depression is a particularly debilitating disease, with approximately 20% suffering from some form of depression. Overall, 18 million men and women suffer from depression in the United States. Depression is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, with even a moderate level of depressive symptoms associated with increased cardiac events.

“The clinically significant reductions in depression without drugs or psychotherapy in these studies suggest the Transcendental Meditation program may improve mental and associated physical health in older high risk subjects,” said Robert Schneider MD FACC, director of MUM’s Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention.

“The importance of reducing depression in the elderly at risk for heart disease cannot be overestimated,” said Gary P. Kaplan MD PhD, Clinical Associate Professor of Neurology NYU School of Medicine. “Any technique not involving extra medication in this population is a welcome addition. I look forward to further research on the Transcendental Meditation technique and prevention of depression in other at-risk elderly populations, including those with stroke and other chronic diseases.”
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