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Transcendental Meditation increases brain coherence, quiets 'alarm bells' - helps reduce addiction
by Global Good News staff writer
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20 November 2012
'Transcendental Meditation enhances coherence in the brain,' said eminent psychiatrist Dr Norman Rosenthal, clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine. Dr Rosenthal spoke at a recent conference on Stress, Meditation, Addictions, and Self-Recovery about the positive effect that Transcendental Meditation (TM) has on the brain.
Dr Rosenthal explained that experiencing transcendence through Transcendental Meditation tends to soothe the amygdala and empower the prefrontal cortex.
The amygdala 'is the brain's alarm bell', said Dr Rosenthal. 'In various states, whether it is post-traumatic stress disorder, whether it's an anxiety state, that alarm bell is ringing too loud.'
This alarm bell often sounds in the brain of an addict.
'That is what happens when somebody is withdrawing from a substance—from an opiate, from alcohol—their alarm bells start ringing. . . . They go into a state of over-arousal, their alarm bell is ringing and the one way they know to settle the alarm bell is to go to their preferred substance or behaviour and soothe themselves.
'You can imagine that if we've got a technique that will soothe that prefrontal cortex, that will quiet down the amygdala, how useful that would be in the management of addiction,' Dr Rosenthal said.
In his opinion, he added, Transcendental Meditation is such a technique.
But how does it work to aid in recovery from addictions?
Dr Rosenthal showed the effect of Transcendental Meditation on EEG tracings. He pointed to a dual-sided graphic showing the brain waves of a person practising Transcendental Meditation and those of one who does not.
'What you see on the left is the tracings are beautifully lined up and correlated with one another, whereas on the right they're very poorly correlated. The left part is said to be coherent. Different parts of the brain are working collaboratively together. That is what TM fosters. Transcendental Meditation enhances coherence in the brain and coherence is associated with competence.'
In contrast, the addict's brain is incoherent.
'It needs coherence to get organized,' said Dr Rosenthal. 'What we need is a technique that helps people ''get their acts together''—get the different parts of the brain working together.'
See previous articles in this series:
∙ Transcendental Meditation increases alpha rhythms, important in recovery from addictions
∙ Expert on Transcendence describes three different kinds of meditation
∙ Meditation long used to treat addictions: Dr Norman Rosenthal
∙ Dr Norman Rosenthal addresses conference on stress, addiction, and Transcendental Meditation
∙ Using Transcendental Meditation in addiction recovery: Dr Norman Rosenthal
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