Best health tip ever?
I was invited to introduce speakers at the last International Ayurveda Congress held in the UK. The speakers included skincare specialists, women’s healthcare experts, GPs, EEG researchers, and many others. In addition to speaking about their specialist areas, all of them gave the same general health advice: practise Transcendental Meditation!
Why did all these experts from different specialisations recommend Transcendental Meditation? Because of the data. So many studies have shown that TM reduces stress, anxiety and high blood pressure. Research funded by the National Institute for Health in the USA showed that TM reduced the incidence of strokes and heart attacks by 48% over a 5-year period.
A life insurance company found that clients who practised TM were far less likely to need medical assistance or hospitalisation. This applied to many types of disease: from nose, throat and lung, to heart conditions to injuries or tumours, to mental disorders and even infectious diseases. This meant that they saved money on insurance payments. And this is why the Ayurvedic experts all spoke of TM as the best health tip ever.
Mental health issues, stress, PTSD are particularly are always in the news as being on the rise. The data shows that TM is highly effective at dealing with these issues. Think what this could mean for the NHS!
How does TM work? It takes advantage of the mind-body connection. When the mind settles down during this simple, natural technique, then just because mind and body are closely connected, the body settles down too. In fact, studies have shown that the body rests more deeply during TM than it does during deep sleep – even though the mind remains alert.
It is this profound rest that allows the body to rid itself of deep-rooted stress and fatigue. When the physiology has less stress, tension and fatigue, then it works more normally. Better health is the natural result.
People say to me: if TM is so effective, why isn’t it on the NHS? I agree – it should be. However, if you want to introduce some new medication or intervention, you have to go through a process. This involves clinical trials which have three phases: a first phase involving 50-60 people to show whether the medication/intervention is safe and effective. The second phase involves a larger group, perhaps 150-200. Then there is a phase III trial involving a number of trial centres with many hundreds of participants.
The studies on TM so far include trials that fall into the first two phases. Now, for the first time, a phase III study on the safety and efficacy of TM is being organised. Once this is complete, in two to three years’ time, healthcare systems will have to look at using TM as a health intervention much more seriously. It won’t be too much longer.
Does it have to be TM or can it be any form of meditation? The research quoted here is on Transcendental Meditation. I am not aware of any other form of meditation that shows this range of health benefits. Meditations are not all the same!
At the beginning of this post, you may have been thinking: this is a website about Marma Therapy, that’s what he’s going to recommend! The best health tip ever is going to be: Marma therapy. And yes, Marma therapy offers many health benefits. These include general relaxation and wellbeing, as well as specific therapeutic applications such as, for example, for back pain.
But for overall wellness and health benefits, just like all the Ayurvedic experts at the conference, I would say: learn Transcendental Meditation and practise it daily!