TRANSCENDENTAL MEDITATION MAY REDUCE PAIN AND EXTEND LIFESPAN
Stress and depression can increase chronic pain and risk of cardiovascular heart disease. Transcendental Meditation (TM) may make tests and treatments easier for patients, improves stress reactivity, decreases the brain’s reaction to pain, and may extend lifespan. TM, a non-drug stress-reduction method, improves heart functioning by reducing sympathetic nervous system activation associated with stress.
Twelve long-term meditators who had been practicing TM showed a 40-50 percent lower brain response to pain compared to 12 controls, reported by a recent NeuroReport journal article. When the 12 controls then learned and practiced TM for five months, their brain responses to pain also decreased by a comparable 40-50 percent. TM may reduce the brain’s response to pain by producing a physiological state capable of modifying various kinds of pain. “TM creates a more balanced outlook on life and a greater equanimity in reacting to stress. This study suggests that this is not just an attitudinal change, but a fundamental change in how the brain functions,” says Orme-Johnson, lead author.
Stress responses to untreated pain adversely impact all body systems, including cardiovascular, respiratory, endocrine, and immune system. TM also reduces risk factors in heart disease and other chronic disorders such as high blood pressure and high levels of harmful cholesterol. These reductions extend lifespan by slowing the aging process. “Research has found that the Transcendental Meditation program reduces risk factors in heart disease and other chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure, smoking, psychological distress, stress hormones, harmful cholesterol, and atherosclerosis,” says Robert Schneider, M.D., director of the Center of Natural Medicine and Prevention.
These present findings are consistent with previous research demonstrating that TM reduces factors that contribute to the cause or progression of heart failure, such as metabolic syndrome, left ventricular hypertrophy (enlargement of the heart) and severity of atherosclerosis. For more information about Transcendental Meditation’s health benefits, contact Dr. Richard Browne at (305) 595-9500.