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Transcendental meditation could benefit soldiers

August 1, 2011 by  

The results suggested that after eight weeks of practicing transcendental mediation the group had a 50 percent reduction in PTSD symptoms.Scientists have been searching for an answer on how to treat veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars who have shown signs of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Recent research has found that transcendental meditation may drastically improve symptoms of the condition in affected individuals.

The study, which can be found in the June issue of Military Medicine, examined five veterans between the ages of 25 and 40 who experienced moderate or heavy combat during their tours of duty. The results suggested that after eight weeks of practicing transcendental meditation the group had a 50 percent reduction in PTSD symptoms. According to the National Institutes of Health, PTSD symptoms include being easily startled, feeling emotionally numb and nightmares.

“Even though the number of veterans in this study was small, the results were very impressive,” said senior researcher Norman Rosenthal, M.D. “These young men were in extreme distress as a direct result of trauma suffered during combat, and the simple and effortless transcendental meditation technique literally transformed their lives.”

Rosenthal claims that meditation decreases blood pressure and moderates stress response. The researchers called for more studies to be conducted on a larger scale to determine if meditation could be implemented as a part of mainstream PTSD treatment.

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  • Karolyn

    What a great idea! I have a friend who was in the Army and practiced meditation on a regular basis. Her fellow soldiers would get upset with her for always being so level-headed and happy. She was actually told by one of her superiors to stop laughing so much.

  • Jay

    Transcendental Meditation:
    A technique of meditation derived from Hindu traditions that promotes deep relaxation through the use of a mantra.

    Transcendental Meditation (TM) is sweeping the country. Its proponents claim that it is the wave of the future. Its well-financed publicity campaigns, fortified by testimonials from well-known figures in the sports, entertainment and political world, lead unsuspecting souls to believe that Transcendental Meditation is the panacea for all of the world’s individual and collective needs.

    Transcendental Meditation claims that it is not a religion, but it is in fact a pagan, anti-Christian religion! Its founder, the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, says plainly, “Transcendental Meditation is a path to God.” (2, p. 59). The Maharishi says, “The Lord Khrishna declares that realization of the state of all knowledge (T.M.) is the only way to salvation and success in life: there is no other way.” (5, p. 228). These statements surely classify it as a religion. The fact that it is a religion is seen in a comparison of the Maharishi’s statements with the Bible. Jesus Christ says, “I am the way, the truth and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6.

    Originally, the Maharishi made no effort to conceal the religious foundation and nature of Transcendental Meditation. In fact, one of the names under which Transcendental Meditation is promoted is The Spiritual Regeneration Movement. However, when the Maharishi brought Transcendental Meditation to America, he found it could not be promoted in and through public educational institutions if it were religious, so it promptly took on two other names: Students International Meditation Society and American Foundation for the Science of Creative Intelligence. Now, T.M. is being promoted as “SCIENCE,” not religion.

    Is Transcendental Meditation really scientific as it claims to be? Psychology Today for April, 1974, not only questions the validity of T.M.’s scientific claims and points out its misuse of data, but it also astutely observes that, “The Science of Creative Intelligence (another name for T.M.) … is clearly a revival of ancient Indian Brahmanism and Hinduism. Its origins lie in the ancient texts-Vedas, Upanishads Bhagavad-Gita, the teachings of the Buddha and the synthesis of these traditions by Shankara. It has been simplified for modern Western consumption.”


    • sally

      Thank you, Jay…You saved me the trouble of having to set the record straight on TM. I thought that TM was something that came and went in the 1960′s and 70′s and was really dismayed to see it touted here, at this site, in a positive light. Yes, Transcendental Meditation is serious spiritual deception and the New Age at its most virulent.
      I hope and pray none of our young soldiers will fall prey to this spiritual snare.

      • Karolyn

        Oh, please! Even the saints meditated! If one is involved in deep prayer, that is meditation. The different names given to different types of meditation don’t all mean that much. All it is is clearing the mind and allowing one to find one’s true self!

        • Grammy

          Karolyn, you say, “If one is involved in deep prayer, that is meditation,” and “All it is is clearing the mind and allowing one to find one’s true self.” That may be what meditation is, but it is not what prayer is. Prayer is communication with God, and its purpose is not to find one’s true self, but to find the will of God, to enjoy His presence, and to praise Him. It does not require a mantra, which is used to empty the mind. Indeed, prayer fills one with many thoughts and brings enlightenment, comfort, and joy. Encouraging meditation is indeed encouraging a particular religion, and I don’t think our government should be involved in promoting a particular religion.

          • Jay

            Wonderfully, and accurately stated Grammy! Thank you.

          • Karolyn

            granny – Meditation has nothing to do with religion, but rather with spirituality. Of course, there are specific religions that use meditation, but that does not make meditation iself religious in that sense of the word. Meditation does indeed bring us into contact with God/The Universe/Source. God is in everything, especially in us and developing a deeper contact with God brings us closer to being the kind of human beings we started out as and ae meant to be.

          • Karolyn

            Grammy – “I don’t think our government should be involved in promoting a particular religion.”

            But I am pretty sure you want “In God We Trust” to remain on our currency and the 10 Commandments to remain in our halls of justice, as well as return prayer to the schools. I am not saying I am against these things, just that your thinking is biased in favor of one particular religion.

    • Karolyn

      A whole lot has changed since 1974!

  • Eric McMasters

    Enough with the religious nonsense. These guys need help and if TM works then so be it. The argument of “my fairy tales are better than your fairy tales” is pathetic, archaic and counter productive.

  • MildManneredMan

    In my experience TM is the way to really getting a hold of yourself and rooting your life. I’m glad the Vets are getting it. They need anything we can give them. We owe them at least this much.

    • paintbrushbright

      I am a vet that suffered with post memorys that caused the stress. I don’t call it TM. I call it thinking things out and working them out in my mine. It took about ten years and I finally beat it except a few nitht mares every once in a while. I am going to tell you about what most of the cause is on something I wrote some years back. I will paste it to this post.
      There is a myth about the causes of PTST and I have witnessed the effects and spoke to a lot of ex servicemen that suffer with post traumatic stress. The experts say it is caused in combat situations but after thinking about it I have found that PTST sufferers can also be found in a peace time army and in non combat activities. The military is a much different way of life and the word independent is rarely used. The order of the chain of command and the daily order of repetitive action become imbedded in memory to become a forced habit and when changed by discharge it is very hard for an individual to break those habits. Taking and following orders every day for a couple of years becomes a normal social undertaking especially for young women and men. Those first months after discharge are very difficult for some discharged servicemen. They have left some of the best friends that they ever had and in wartime there is always the guilt of going to a safe harbor when their friends are going in harms way. Those friends have shared some of their own problems and have put their lives on the line for each other. There are no officers and non commissioned officers to tell them what to do next. Their lives of imposed discipline and order have ended and it’s hard to get their mine on the right track. Civilian live becomes confusing and they get in a state of limbo. Some resort to drugs or alcohol, while others have difficulties coping with their family life. They can’t find order and they have no one to tell them what to do next. This is a man or woman who the American respected and admired while they were in uniform. They could walk among us and be praised for their sacrifice but when they shed that uniform they are own their own and a lot of them can’t handle it.

  • Sirian

    Please, am I actually reading what I think I’m reading? T.M. has been around since the sixties and insofar as its “negative” effect on everyone, well, I must really be in the dark. I have never heard of massive numbers of people ending up in a mental hospital due to or by means of meditating. Be it T.M. or otherwise. But when it is being “tossed under the bus”, well, there you go. Come on people, it isn’t a mind destroyer in disguise. So, if meditating may help some of our troops reach a more stable state of mind after what they have been through, instead of pumping them full of “mind stabilizing drugs”, then what’s the problem? Remember, its what they’ve been through – not you! Hummm, Jesus meditated quite a bit, now didn’t he?

    • Jay

      Yes Sirian, you a are correct, Jesus did meditate quite a bit, as you stated. However, what you failed to mention, is that, He, Jesus, meditated on the Word of God, the scriptures, or, the old testament. I’m not sure where you have developed this notion that our veterans are being pumped full of “mind stabilizing drugs”. I suspect that you may have been pumped full of “mind destabilizing propaganda”, and that, through the socialist/marxist media that works diligently at presenting our veterans as mindless, drooling psychopaths, and in need of heavy, mind stabilizing drugs. Nothing could be further from the truth! Perhaps you might consider the fact that the majority of veterans may not be the delicate, and fragile wallflowers, as you, appear to be!

      • Sirian

        Jay, I understand where you’re coming from but I, being the wallflower that you have gleefully catagorized me, should be more cautious in what you say. Personally, I am a 100% Disabled Veteran, U.S.Navy medically retired. Personally I have spent close to nine months in two different V.A. hospitals along with close to a year total in NAS JAX Naval Hospital and Naval Hospital, Portsmouth, VA. Being it as it may I would imagine that I hold much more experience with the workings of military hospitals and V.A. hospitals than you could even imagine. I have worked with many different veterans that suffer from PTSD since for several years I have been closely involved with our local DAV chapter but also have worked for my state as a veterans employment representative assisting veterans in finding a worthwhile job or training that would help them. This included veterans with PTSD and we also, at that time, recommended meditation training as a side means to perhaps assist them with their problem. As to what I said pertaining to “mind stabilizing drugs”, yes, I have run into many vets that have been more or less totally incapable of doing anything due to this very issue. No, not all of them, please. But from the other comments that have followed yours, well, as I said earlier, you are not as well informed as you claim. Insofar as me “being pumped full of mind destabilizing propaganda”, HA, that truly shows how very, very little you honestly know about this. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if you have never spent one day in the military – any branch. And if that may be the case, well, perhaps you should see a recruiter so you could get a much more up front experience to rely on with what you say.

        • Jay

          Sirian, my sincerest apologies! My retort to your statement, i will admit, was rather harsh, and in retrospect, i would have preferred to have posted, a less incendiary response. I know a score of veterans that are dear friends of mine, some family members that served, and all, in my opinion, have been portrayed in a negative light by the media, disrespected by our government, and vilified by our nation. So naturally, and hopefully, you will forgive and understand if I seem a bit over-protetctive. I humbly retract my insulting remarks to you, and thank you for your sacrifice and service to our country!

  • Dan az

    Jay good job,I feel that its a progressive movement but the point that meditation is a healer is what is needed to be used not a religion attached to it.The fact has been proven that you can make your self sick or you can heal your self with just thought alone does work.And with PTSD its ones perception of mental blockage that is buried deep in the subconscious that is needed to be dealt with and brought to the surface that this would help.The problem that many had was that you could have been one day in a serious fire fight and the next day your back in the states with a completely different cenario that the mind becomes confused as which is reality and which is not.Fight or flight,one minute its survival mode and hours later your suppose to just drop it and forget it like it never happened.That’s why so many were on drugs like opium to give another reality just to cope.We all have hidden memories and in our dreams they seem to sneak out,having two forms of reality is what meditation teaches how to merge the two rather than keeping them separate and in conflict with each other.To me meditation is an excellent way to solve this problem but I have always felt that it was wrong to attach a religion to it,Its merely gives everyone a way to self heal from with in.We are all capable of this simple exercise and it dosen’t require changing ones belief in religion.At least thats my take on it.

  • Bob Marshall

    I don’t know about this. I spent 48 days in a mental hospital after being treated for PTSD after my third tour in Vietnam in the marines. I can’t remember one day i wasn’t given drugs. An experience i would never want to repeat.It did help but i still have difficulty sleeping.If it will help our troops great but i believe it is the extent of the experiences and memories that make a difference. Semper Fi to all Marines and veterans God bless! I had to pray a lot and ask for God’s forgiveness.

    • Karolyn

      Thank God they may be getting awy from so many drugs! One point of meditation is to gain balance – to realize how really unimportant our problems, past and present, are in the grand scheme of things. It would help to lessen the effects of trauma.

    • 45caliber


      I think one of our problems is that too many people feel that drugs will solve everything. One reason I won’t watch any Oliver Stone movies is that he believes that if you don’t take drugs when you fight a war, it will drive you crazy.

      Well, I may be crazy but I’m no crazier than those who didn’t go. So I don’t feel those drugs are necessary. And after seeing how drugs affect others, I’d just as soon not get started on them.

      Congrats on your service. I was there too.

  • 45caliber

    One question I’d like answered. Why are the vets having so much trouble with PTSD now? Why not fifty years ago? Why not before that?

    Yes, there were some who had that problem. But I think a lot of it today is due to the young being taught that they have such fragile psycic abilities. They expect to be treated for problems.

    When I was a kid, we had a student in my class killed in a car wreck. We had 28 people in my class so everyone knew him. We were given time to go to his funeral if we wished – and that was all. No one tried to comfort us or treat us for phycholocial problems. No one told us how terrible is was that one of us had died young. No one tried to scare us with our own mortality. All of us knew that we’d die some day and felt bad that one of us had died early. But we didn’t go crazy worrying about it.

    Now they have psychologists assigned to schools full time in some areas. If a child dies, they bring even more in to “council” the students and help them through their sorrow and grief. So they expect to get that care when they get older.

    Just how much of that is the problem now?

    • Grammy

      My personal belief about why there is so much today and not so much years ago is that back then, most people in America had a strong faith in God–a God who robed himself in flesh and came to be the sacrifice so their sins could be forgiven. A strong faith will help overcome troubles.

      • Karolyn

        You are absolutely right. Faith, whether it is in a traditional God or a different concept of God, creates miracles. That is what meditation does.

    • Jay

      Yes 45, the woosification of America.

  • 45caliber

    This argument sounds a lot like one I had with my doctor a couple of years ago.

    Doc: Do you sleep all night or wake up occasionally?

    me: I wake up when I need to go to the bathroom.

    Doc: I have a pill that will help you sleep all night.

    me: Does it keep me from needing to pee?

    Doc: No, it helps you sleep.

    me: Am I supposed to wet my bed while I sleep?

    Doc: Aw … no. But it helps you get back to sleep faster when you do need to get up.

    me: It can’t do that unless it comes equipt with a hammer. So why should I take it?

    Doc: But it helps you sleep all night!

    me: I do fine on my own. Take them yourself if you have problems.

  • Louise

    If these vets who are experiencing PTSD find comfort and help from TM, then it should and must be available to all men and women who have served. PTSD is a challenging thing to live with and if this works, then use it. As an aside, I’ve had my own dance with trauma and my TM practice has been a gift – hugely helpful and stabilizing.

  • Marcuse Hanamaki

    The practice of meditation helps you get in touch with your inner self and gives you the peace of mind and healthy attitude that will encourage you to acknowledge how you really feel about a particular career choice.


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