The value of meditation continued...
TM has been shown to lower blood pressure and decrease the risk
of heart disease, among other benefits, according to Robert Schneider, MD, the
dean for the College of Maharishi Vedic Medicine in Fairfield, Iowa, who
studies the effects of traditional East Indian relaxation practices on health.
For example, a study published in the journal Stroke in March 2000 found
that reducing stress through TM can reduce hardening of the carotid arteries in
African-American patients with high blood pressure over the age of 20 when
measured over a six- to nine-month period. Whether this can be generalized to
all races requires further research.
A much earlier study, published in the December 1989 issue of
the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, also found that TM may
have helped increase longevity among a group of 73 seniors (primarily men)
averaging 81 years of age at the beginning of the study. After three years, all
of those who were trained in and practiced TM were still alive, compared to 65%
to 87.5% for those who practiced other relaxation techniques or no
"TM quite readily and systematically appears to restore the
body's own self-repair mechanisms," says Schneider, whose school recently
received an $8 million grant from the NIH to research the effects of Vedic
medicine on aging.
Other real-life examples
Judith Green, an Orthodox Jew living in Los Angeles' Los Feliz
neighborhood, says she doesn't have to wait for more studies to recognize the
benefits that 30 years of private prayer have had on her own health. Every
Friday at sundown, the start of the Jewish Sabbath, the 62-year-old South
Africa native lights traditional Sabbath candles and spends up to 20 minutes
praying for herself and her loved ones, asking for guidance and assistance from
"a power outside ourselves that can make things possible."
For Green, who describes her health as very good, the practice
serves as a weekly reality check. "It helps remind me that I can't control
everything in my life," she says. "I just need to have the patience to
let things come around on their own if that's what's supposed to