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Restoring health and cultural integrity on American Indian reservations: David Lynch Foundation

David Lynch Foundation - USA    Translate This Article
1 January 2011

In collaboration with national and local American Indian health and education organizations, the David Lynch Foundation provides programs to prevent and reduce diabetes and cardiovascular disease, school dropouts, drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence, and suicide while also preserving and restoring cultural integrity.

Resolving the crisis in Indian Country
Extreme poverty on reservations, alcoholism, family breakups, discrimination in non-reservation schools, and the acute stresses of life for American Indians fuel a cycle of hopelessness, disease, despair, and poverty.
∙ A staggering 70 percent of American Indians suffer from Type 2 diabetes.
∙ As many as 50 percent of American Indian students drop out of school.
∙ The second-leading cause of death among American Indian adolescents is suicide—twice the national average.

Approach of the David Lynch Foundation: Simple, natural, effortless meditation
American Indian culture places the highest value on the role of meditation for promoting a balanced, healthy life in harmony with the laws of nature. Properly understood and practiced, meditation reduces such chronic diseases as diabetes and heart disease, decreases dependence on alcohol and drugs, and dramatically improves the academic performance of students.

The David Lynch Foundation's American Indian Initiatives offer the Transcendental Meditation program to American Indian health and educational organizations. The Transcendental Meditation program is a simple, natural, effortless, and universally applicable technique that can restore cultural integrity, health, and balance of life on the reservation.

Preliminary data from several reservations show significant decreases in blood glucose levels, a normalization of blood pressure rates, reduced stress, and improvements in general mental and physical well-being. Research also shows decreased absenteeism, increased academic achievement, improved standardized test scores, less violence, and greater self-esteem among students.

Transcendental Meditation is an ideal approach because it does not involve any religion, philosophy, or change in lifestyle, but rather upholds and uplifts the cultural and religious traditions of all peoples.

Scientific research has documented the beneficial effects of the Transcendental Meditation Technique in helping American Indians. A few highlights:
Reduced Insulin Resistance in Pre-Diabetics. Effects of a randomized controlled trial of Transcendental Meditation on components of the metabolic syndrome in subjects with coronary heart disease. Arch Internal Medicine, 2006: 166:1218-1224.
Decreased Psychological Distress. Reduced psychological distress in racial and ethnic minority students practicing the Transcendental Meditation program. Journal of Instructional Psychology (in press).
Improved Academic Achievement. Academic achievement and Transcendental Meditation: A study with at-risk urban middle school students. Education (in press).

Watch short videos on the effectiveness of the Transcendental Meditation program in helping American Indians, on the American Indians page of the David Lynch Foundation website:
∙ President Clinton's talk to Lynch Foundation conference
∙ American Indian teen reflects on the power of meditation
∙ Quiet Time in reservation schools
∙ Improving Native American health through TM
∙ Overcoming trauma on reservations: Norman Rosenthal, MD, distinguished psychiatrist and researcher on Transcendental Meditation and traumatic stress.

For more about initiatives of the David Lynch Foundation with American Indians, including how to implement a program, click here.

© Copyright 2011 David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace

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