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Transcendental Meditation: Mental Dialysis

By Philip F. Tomlinson, Jr., PhD

Having been on hemodialysis for the past 2 years, I am especially grateful for the peace of mind and feeling of balance in my life that the practice of the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique has brought me. I have enjoyed the benefits of the TM technique since 1973.

I simply sit quietly, close my eyes, and the natural, effortless, mental technique calms my mind, quieting the turbulence of mental storms. The TM program is practiced by millions of people worldwide, of all backgrounds and beliefs. It is not based on a particular philosophy, lifestyle, or religion, yet it enhances all aspects of life.

I like to think that practicing the TM technique is like watering the root of a tree, rather than attending to each individual leaf. I even enjoy the technique while connected to the dialyzer. It makes the session feel more comfortable, and time passes more pleasantly. I often think of the TM technique as my "mental dialysis." I can cleanse my mind of worry while my blood is being cleansed.

Research Results

The TM technique can be part of an excellent "self-care" program for people who must be on a dialysis or transplant regimen. Even 25 years ago, some professionals were teaching the TM technique to people with kidney failure and seeing beneficial effects, such as reduced anxiety and an improved sense of well being. [Doner DW Jr: The Transcendental Meditation technique: New dimension in living for the dialysis/transplant client. Journal of the American Association of Nephrology Nurses and Technicians 3(3):119-125, 1976]. In studies with other groups, researchers have reported that individuals using the TM program enjoy improved mental and physical health, lower anxiety, more independence, and a better self-image.

Research on the application of the TM program to cardiovascular health has significance for the kidney dialysis and transplant populations. In a recent study of 60 African Americans with high blood pressure reported in the journal Stroke, researchers concluded that stress reduction using the TM program was linked with reduced atherosclerosis (a disease in which arteries are clogged). More studies are needed to confirm these preliminary findings. [Castillo-Richmond A, Schneider RH, Alexander CN, et al: Effects of stress reduction on carotid atherosclerosis in hypertensive African Americans, 31(3):568-573, March 2000]

For More Information

I encourage you to try the TM program. Visit the TM program website for more information, including references on a variety of studies.

Permission received to post the following information:

Name: Philip F. Tomlinson, Jr., PhD
Address: 54 High Street, Apt. 403
Greenfield, MA  01301-2960
Cause of renal failure: Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease
Time on dialysis: 2 years
Treatments used: In-center hemodialysis
Work/activities: Doctorate in physiology and molecular and cell biology; teacher of Transcendental Meditation (TM); volunteer at the Community Health Information Center, Franklin Medical Center, Greenfield, MA
E-mail: ptsmiles@gis.net
Date: May 2000

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