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Health care or disease care? Nurse promotes Transcendental Meditation to reduce stress, prevent disease
by Amy Ruff, BSN, RN, WOCN

TM Women Professionals Blog    Translate This Article
7 January 2014

Has anyone other than health care administrators and politicians actually read the Obama plan for health care reform? It is long and complex and can give you a migraine just reading it. As much as they have value for those already ill and are beginning to incorporate more choice for prevention of disease, all of the so-called health plans in America today are far more about treating disease than preventing it.

Prevention is not a popular idea for most of us because when we are well, we don't want to think about the possibility of getting ill. It is more fun to enjoy our good health. Though most adults have the common sense and education necessary to realize that some exercise and a balanced diet will help keep us healthy, many don't go beyond those two means of preventing disease, let alone adhere to regular exercise and proper diet. Other responsibilities get in the way, we don't always have time, we're too tired to cook or exercise—it's so much easier to grab a snack from the refrigerator or order restaurant food and sink into the couch. A lot of America is eating, and bringing their children to eat, at McDonalds. We often don't pay attention to our health until it is in danger.

The good news is that there is an increased awareness in the American population which is forcing businesses into adding gyms, schools into promoting exercise and athletics, fast-food restaurants into incorporating fresh healthy food into their menus, and parents into providing more nutritious meals for their family.

Scholarly articles and women's magazines confirm that women need different diets and exercise than men and at different stages of life—including during pregnancy and post menopause. Experts suggest that there are even diets that will help you get more out of your exercise routine. In a June 20th article by the editors of Women's Health, the benefits of exercise and healthy dieting are compared for their benefits to women for weight normalization, boosting energy, avoiding heart disease, diabetes and cancer, and improving our mood. They are certainly correct that both diet and exercise will give you tangible results. But they leave out the one thing that affects all these areas and more and is simple to do without leaving your own couch.

I'm a nurse and I've seen great numbers of patients who were able to adopt just ONE thing and change their mental and physical health significantly, and that one thing is Transcendental Meditation. I've personally looked into the research published on the TM program and can say with great confidence that this technique is a lifesaver. Without needing to quote the hundreds of studies done on TM showing its benefits, I can make my case by quoting just one:

Did you know that a study published in 1989 in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine,* based on Blue Cross/Blue Shield statistics, showed that TM practitioners needed less than half the hospital treatment than the subjects who hadn't learned TM? These findings were significant across the board—from heart disease to skin disease to infectious disease to disease of the nervous system.

And I cannot overemphasize the importance of reducing stress for mental, physical and emotional health. As stress accumulates, a woman can start having symptoms of psychosomatic disease—disease caused or complicated by stress—such as high blood pressure, asthma, allergies, headaches, cardiovascular diseases including atherosclerosis, and even cancer. We can become exhausted, angry, have insomnia and depression. We may become dependent on caffeine, medication, alcohol or non-pharmaceutical illegal drugs. We may ruin our relationships because we are depleted of energy and stamina. The one thing that researchers all agree upon—from the American Heart Association to the Veteran's Administration—is that the TM technique effectively reduces stress—not manages it, but actually reduces it.

I am happy to know that the Transcendental Meditation for Women's organization is now partnering with Sister to Sister The Women's Heart Health Foundation to bring more knowledge of prevention to women.

Go take the Transcendental Meditation course. Then when you get up each morning, do TM. It will give you more stamina and energy to get more out of your exercise routine. It will heal the addictive and emotional imbalances that can cause eating disorders. It supports everything you can do for better health. Let's get on the ball, ladies. We're in the 21st century and we're wasting time and quality of life if we don't fully tend to our mental emotional and physical health—our whole selves.

About the author
Amy Ruff, BSN, RN, WOCN, lives in Iowa

* Orme-Johnson, D.W. Medical care utilization and the Transcendental Meditation program. Psychosomatic Medicine 49: 493-507, 1987.

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