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When it comes to the matter of good health there is no doubting the old saying that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. What that means regarding lifestyle in contemporary New Zealand is that it is worthwhile to live your life avoiding the suffering of ill-health rather than having to continually employ ways of alleviating sickness. How do we do that?  Mother Nature has gifted us with a means of staying well and it is called the immune system.

The immune system in the body is rather like the defence force in a nation and although we might not be aware of it there is a constant internal war being waged against environmental intruders that may find their way into our bodies and harm us. Just like an actual army, the immune system needs to be in good shape to do its job effectively.

Rest deeper than sleep through TM practice

One important thing we can do to strengthen the immune system is to incorporate the Transcendental Meditation technique into the daily routine. Apart from the all-encompassing aspect of self-development, the TM technique gives an individual something that no drug or surgical procedure can acheive and that is a state of bodily rest, on average twice as deep as sleep, for a period of twenty minutes twice a day.

These regular periods of deep rest and relaxation allow the immune system and other self-healing processes of the body to restore normal, healthy physiologicial functioning, resulting in better general health and the prevention of disease. Some idea of the extent of such benefit was recorded back in the 1980s in a five-year study of medical care utilisation statistics on a group of 2,000 people throughout the United States who practiced  the TM technique.

Studies show fewer hospital admissions and doctors visits

The study found that the overall hospitalisation rate of this group was 56% lower than the norm and that there were fewer hospital admissions for all disease categories. This included 87% less hsopitalisation for cardiovascular disease, 55% less for cancer, 87% less for diseases of the nervous system and 73% less for nose, throat and lung problems. Psychosomatic Medicine 49 (1987): 493-507

Also the study revealed that as for ‘outpatient treatment’, or making trips to the doctor, members of the TM group needed to go 46.8% less often then the norm if they were children (0-19 years), 54.7% less often if they were young adults (19-39 years) and an astounding 73.7% if they were older adults (40 and over). This represents a striking improvement in health as it means for example that a middle-aged TM meditator would visit his or her doctor once for every four times that an average person went.

Is TM a ‘wonder drug’?

Nobody has seen reductions like this with the use of conventional medicine prevention programmes. If a cholesterol-reducing drug could decrease heart attacks by even 50% it would make worldwide headlines and through all sorts of advertorial media we would never hear the end of the feats of such a ‘wonder drug’. This is doubly true for the cancer figures as any reduction in this field would be a major breakthrough.

“To build more hospitals to alleviate sickness and suffering for people who have already fallen ill is a laudable act of charity. But it is infinitely more important to find ways and means of preventing people from falling sick and ensuring that they will enjoy good health.” – Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

The scientific research findings on TM have been in the public domain for decades so why are those responsible for public health not clamouring to make the programme widely available through the national health system? For me the answer was summed up a few years ago by the reponse of a District Health Board chairman to my submission that TM be included in their prevention programmes … “Stephen, it’s outside my remit” he said. While I appreciated his honesty, it was a reminder of the power of those who have a vested interest in the status quo here in New Zealand and overseas. At present their influence dominates decisions regarding what sort of healthcare gets funded and what gets ignored. It is logical to expect that one day the sheer weight of evidence and public support will turn this situation around.

Back in the early 1960’s the founder of TM put forward the rationale for his programme to be part of the health system of any country. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi wrote in his book The Science of Being And Art Of Living … “To build more hospitals to alleviate sickness and suffering for people who have already fallen ill is a laudable act of charity. But it is infinitely more important to find ways and means of preventing people from falling sick and ensuring that they will enjoy good health. Since a way does exist of preventing people from becoming sick (TM), the introduction of it to people all over the world would be a much greater act of charity.”

How has your practice of Transcendental Meditation impacted your health? We would love to hear from you in the comments below.

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