Mehmet C. Oz, M.D is the Emmy Award-winning host of the The Dr. Oz Show and vice chairman and professor of surgery, New York Presbyterian-Columbia University. He writes in a forward about the book “Transcendence” by Norman E. Rosenthal, M.D. :
“Let me return to my surgical roots and cut to my conclusion: Dr. Norman Rosenthal’s Transcendence: Healing and Transformation Through Transcendental Meditation is a profoundly important book on a topic that you need to know a lot more about. Moreover, it has been written by an eminently qualified expert: an internationally respected psychiatrist and twenty-year senior researcher at the National Institute of Mental Health, who first described seasonal affective disorder and pioneered the use of light therapy.
So why is this book so incredibly valuable?
Stress wears us down, drains us of the joys of life, fuels countless diseases and disorders, and is slowly, or rapidly, killing us. Cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, as well as digestive disorders, anxiety, and depression, are often caused or exacerbated by stress. You know these grim realities – and hopefully you are already doing something to neutralize stress, such as eating better and exercising more. But there is something you may not be doing, but which you really must do, beyond exercise and diet. And that is promoting your own mental resilience: developing your natural, innate ability to overcome mentally the mounting pressures and demands that pervade our lives. Stated bluntly, you must promote mental resilience or lose the fight against stress – and suffer the consequences.”
Transcendence demystifies the practice and benefits of Transcendental Meditation for a general audience who may have heard about the technique but do not necessarily know what it is or what they stand to gain, physically and emotionally, from its daily practice. Rosenthal clearly and practically explains the basic ideas behind Transcendental Meditation: It is a nonreligious practice that involves sitting comfortably for twenty minutes twice a day, while using a silent mantra, or nonverbal sound, to attain a profound state of aware relaxation.
Rosenthal draws upon experience from the lives of his patients and a wealth of clinical research amassed on TM over the past generation (some 340 peer-reviewed published articles) to provide the fullest and most accessible book ever on the broad range of benefits of this remarkably simple method – from relief of anxiety, stress, and depression to new hope for those suffering from addiction, attention-deficit disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder.
On page 57 on Rosenthal’s book in a section titled, ‘How Does The Stress Response Work?,’ he says this:
Your nervous system has a specialized subsystem devoted to automatic activities like breathing, sweating, digestion, and the beating of your heart. Thanks to this “autonomic nervous system,” you usually don’t have to give these basic functions a thought. The autonomic nervous system is further divided into the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), which governs (among other things) an alarm function, the “fight or flight response” just described; and the parasympathetic system, which relaxes you.
The sympathetic nervous system is controlled primarily by centers in the brain, particularly the almond-shaped amygdala (named after the Greek word for almond). Under conditions of stress, these “alarm bells” in the brain give orders to the rest of the body by a network of nerves that travel down the spine and emerge between the vertebrae. They influence the entire body from the hairs on your head (which can stand up in terror) to the tips of your toes (which can turn pale in the cold). In between these extremes, through its nerve endings, the SNS affects every other organ in the body by releasing the neurotransmitter chemical norepinephrine (NE) – also known as noradrenaline – to carry out its many different functions. When you are tense or anxious, the SNS nerves release more NE; when you are calmed and relaxed, less.
During a stressful event, the SNS nerves have a second important way of putting the body on high alert. They activate the hormonal system, involving the adrenal glands (just above the kidneys), which release into the bloodstream the chemical epinephrine (also known as adrenaline). As you can guess, epinephrine is closely related in structure and function to norepinephrine. Stress also causes the brain to initiate a hormonal cascade that triggers the adrenals to release cortisol and other steroids called glucocorticoids. Many of you have probably used some form of glucocorticoids for medical purposes – for example, in ointment for a rash or in a spray for hay fever or asthma. When you use steroids orally, you are generally cautioned to use them only for a certain number of days before tapering them off. That is because glucocorticoids can save your life in the short term, but can kill you in the long term. The same can be for stress itself when it goes on for too long.