CHICAGO: Having the right instruction in meditation can make a world of difference in the results, according to National Institute of Mental Health researcher and psychiatrist Norman Rosenthal.
Dr. Rosenthal was in Chicago from September 5 to 7 and addressed three different gatherings on the impact of Transcendental Meditation. He addressed an audience of 200 at the University of Chicago Gleacher Center Wednesday September 5, spoke on Thursday September 6 with staff and students at Stritch School of Medicine at Loyola, and talked with health care and other professionals as a guest of the Chicago Lakeshore Hospital during Friday September 7 luncheon.
Dr. Rosenthal, a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Georgetown University Medical School, was initially very skeptical about the effectiveness of the Transcendental Meditation® technique for beating stress and anxiety. After examining the research, however, he said, “I came to scoff, but I remained to pray.”
“Having witnessed mental and spiritual anguish of many hundreds of people, I find the potential clinical power of this technique amazing,” said Dr. Rosenthal. He pointed out that the current epidemic of stress has resulted in cardiovascular disease as well as in psychiatric conditions.
He described his research examining the Transcendental Meditation program resulting in hard evidence not seen with other meditation techniques. He cited improvements in cardiovascular health, reduced drug, alcohol and tobacco use, and studies showing significant reductions in health care costs and utilization resulting from twice daily Transcendental Meditation practice.
Economic challenges, the feeble job market and information overload, not to mention the drought, conspire to stretch people to the breaking point. Everyone is experiencing some degree of stress and anxiety in their lives. In fact, the NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health) estimates that 40 million adults, one in seven, have some type of anxiety disorder.
In his book on Transcendence, which is now available in paperback, he writes in great detail about the technique and his own experience. The book is a New York Times and Washington Post bestseller. He has also penned another book Winter Blues. Dr. Rosenthal led a team that discovered “Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)” and pioneered the use of light therapy to treat it.
Both books are now being released in new paperback editions.
He is a proponent of alternative therapies for treating anxiety and depression, including PTS experienced by veterans. Dr. Rosenthal also described National Institutes of Health-funded research on the effects of the Transcendental Meditation technique on cardio-vascular health. A nine-year clinical trial at University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee found that people with heart disease experienced a 47% reduction in the risk of heart attack, stroke or death. A meta-analysis detailing this work will be published within a month.
Doctors and therapists who have benefited over many years from the technique themselves refer their patients to Transcendental Meditation, commenting that once their patients have learned, transformation can occur. Two such local doctors are featured in Dr. Rosenthal’s book.
Heart surgeon and TV health guru Dr. Mehmet Oz recently offered the TM technique to his staff, with striking results. Dr. Oz wrote the foreword of Transcendence.