by Transcendental Meditation for Women, blog
8 April 2020
From Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences:
“Frequent feelings of stress can get under our skin and damage our body. While stress does not contribute to ulcers, a popularly held belief, stress does have long-term effects on health. Stress has been linked to low immunity to common illnesses, depression, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
"There are numerous stress reduction techniques that can help maintain health, such as diet, exercise, and relaxation. One ancient form of stress reduction is receiving renewed attention by health professionals. Transcendental Meditation, once popular in the 1960s and 70s, is thought to have physiologic effects on the body that reduce the damaging effects of stress.
"The National Institutes of Health have spent over twenty million dollars on researching Transcendental Meditation and its possible effects on blood pressure, heart disease, and the immune system. While this is a small sum compared to other medical studies, research in alternative medicine is growing.
"This type of stress is the most damaging to our health. With acute stress, once the perceived threat has passed, the parasympathetic nervous system takes over, allowing us to relax and recover from the stressful event. But during chronic stress, the body is continually exposed to the hormones that regulate stress.
"The system’s natural feedback loop is interrupted. The relaxation response is not activated, and the pathway that regulates cortisol is shut down, rendering it unable stop the effects of the stress. It is the constant activation of the stress response that leads to the negative health outcomes seen with chronic stress.
"The primary stress hormones are cortisol, epinephrine (also called adrenaline), and norepinephine.
"Medical studies have showed that individuals who practice Transcendental Meditation daily had lower blood levels of epinephrine, norepinephrine, and cortisol. Transcendental Meditation also led to lower respiration rates and heart rate and better blood flow to the brain, indicating less constriction of blood vessels.
"A few studies have compared Transcendental Meditation to simple relaxation. One such study showed that the TM meditators had lower cortisol levels than then relaxers. In long-term studies, EEGs of individuals who practiced Transcendental Meditation showed significantly different EEG waves, indicating higher states of consciousness. Another study showed practitioners completed simple tasks more efficiently than non-meditators.”
Reduced health care costs: Another indication of TM improving immunity
Reduced need for health care was shown by a 14-year controlled retrospective study of medical expenses for 2836 people enrolled in the Canadian Quebec provincial health insurance scheme. Monthly study data on payments to doctors was adjusted to account for age and other influences using normative data provided by the Quebec government.
Before the subjects in the study had begun the Transcendental Meditation program, payments did not differ significantly between the group who practiced the TM technique and control groups. However, in great contrast, after learning the technique, the TM group showed a progressive decline in payments to doctors compared to controls: the average annual difference was 13%, leading to a cumulative reduction of 55% after six years. This indicates both immediate and cumulative benefits to the body’s resistance to disease over time.
TM creates a state of mind and body that is the opposite of being stressed
The physiological response during TM has been found to be the opposite of your body’s stress response. As your mind experiences inner calm through quieter, subtler levels of the thinking process, your body gains a state of profound rest, much deeper than ordinary relaxation. This deep, healing rest allows for accumulated knots of stress to be released—studies show that the body’s natural balance is restored.
We have a choice right now as to how we react to the corona virus. We can panic. Or we can be mulishly in denial. Or we can prepare ourselves to be in the best possible position to ward off the debilitating mental, physical and emotional effects of the onslaught of the news reports and of the virus itself, should we be exposed.
[The previous article dealt with the TM technique and immunity.]
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