It Is Time to Begin Serious Efforts to Prescribe Health with Transcendental Meditation
My colleague, nurse practitioner and psychologist Dr. Deborah Bevvino, and I co-authored a book, “Prescribing Health : Transcendental Meditation in Contemporary Medical Care,” which was published by the international publishing house Rowman & Littlefield in June 2015. The book is directed to health care professionals and patients alike, and was inspired by the flood of important, high quality research studies on Transcendental Meditation (TM) and health coming primarily from the David Lynch Foundation over the past 5 to 10 years.
As a practicing clinician in Pennsylvania and New Mexico, where I hold prescription privileges, I became frustrated because my medical, psychiatric and psychological colleagues knew very little about TM research and were not prescribing it for their patients. I wanted to put an end to that based on my own 43-year TM practice, my own mental health struggles, and the growth and development of patients I treated who learned TM.
When all the research on TM and health is consolidated under one cover, the pervasive power of this effortless practice is realized. Highlights for benefits of TM practice include:
- Changes in the brain result in a new, unique style of functioning that supports health in all systems of the brain and body in a continuous, ongoing fashion.
- Compared with other mediation techniques, TM is the most effective in quelling clinically significant anxiety, the most common mental disorder affecting 1 in 5 persons nationally.
- TM is the only meditation practice that has been proven to significantly reduce blood pressure.
- TM is of immense value to children and adolescents in reducing stress, ameliorating symptoms of ADHD, anxiety, depression and even autism.
- It has enormous value as an adjunctive treatment for clinical depression and even Bipolar Disorder.
- TM results in lowered blood glucose levels and assists in preventing and controlling symptoms of Diabetes Mellitus.
- It is one of the most effective approaches to managing and even eliminating addictive diseases.
The list goes on and on, page after page, of solid research on the profound impact of this simple mental technique. Added to the above findings is research showing TM leads to greater satisfaction, lower mortality and morbidity, happiness and quality of life for the elderly, prison inmates and others. Implementing TM into our healthcare system would save billions of dollars from improved health outcomes. A common reaction readers have after finishing this book is: “Why am I not practicing this technique?”
We believe TM is the single most effective program one can do to improve mental and physical health.
My personal journey with TM began at age 19 when I suffered from severe panic disorder, chronic anxiety and depression. Within 3 months after learning TM, I stopped taking two psychiatric medications. Moreover, I was relaxed and happy for the first time in my life. TM enabled me to go through rigorous training in psychology and psychopharmacology to become a counseling psychologist. It saved my life.
And that’s just the beginning: The dormant, latent mystical processes in my nervous system were awakened by continued TM practice and learning advanced TM techniques. Really, I stepped into a whole new world of higher states of consciousness and, over the years, have had the most beautiful, blissful, ineffable experiences breaking down mental and perceptual barriers that obscured the true nature of life.
How many individuals with psychiatric dysfunction can report such a development? Most mental health professionals would settle for symptom reduction or elimination for their patients; my experience would be seen as a pipe dream.
The simple truth is that below the level of the surface of the mind, deep at the core of who we are, is a state of eternal freedom and joy previously unimaginable, especially for patients. A second simple truth is that there exists a path of transcendence to arrive at this state. I hope after reading this book, suffering individuals take up the practice of TM and begin a life beyond physical and mental symptoms and enjoy the real nature of what it is to be human.
About The Author
David F. O’Connell, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in Pennsylvania and New Mexico with 35 years of clinical and academic experience. He specializes in forensics, neuropsychological testing and medical psychology. He received his doctorate from Temple University in 1986, and his master s degree from Loyola University, Baltimore in 1978. He completed a postdoctoral M.S. in clinical psychopharmacology at Fairleigh Dickinson University in 2009. He is a board certified forensic psychologist at the American College of Forensic Examiners International, and is a member of the American Board of Medical Psychology (ABMP) and the National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology. Dr. O’Connell is one of about 100 psychologists nationwide who have prescriptive authority.