Interview: Dr. Catherine Ulbricht on TM and Addiction (Video)
Dr. Catherine Ulbricht, Founder and CEO of Natural Standard, interviewed me recently about my book Transcendence and, specifically, about the effects of Transcendental Meditation on addictions. Since the transcript is too long to post in its entirety, I just wanted to share a few edited comments for the blog.
Catherine: I know that you’ve studied the information of Transcendental Meditation for people with addiction to or abuse of drugs and alcohol. What evidence is there that Transcendental Meditation can help people with addictions to drugs, alcohol and cigarette smoking?
Norman: Well I’m glad you just get in like that because that’s an area where there is quite a lot of research. There are 18 studies. Now, whenever you look at literature, you always are going to get a mixture in quality. But a meta-analysis of those 18 studies does show that Transcendental Meditation works for addictions like alcohol abuse, cigarette smoking and drug abuse, in varying populations, done by varying groups. And if you look at it as a whole, I, as a researcher, come away with a sense that there is really something going on here. Any specific study can be picked apart, of course. But if you take the sum total of studies, they are all pointing in the same direction, to a powerful, anti-addiction effect.
Now, the approach that I’ve taken throughout the book Transcendence is to look at some individual cases. Because people, especially when they are reading a book for the general public, they want to look at some intriguing individuals cases. And then, only once they can relate to the people involved, they want to know what the science says and why we should believe these individuals. So that’s the kind of an approach I’ve taken throughout. And one of the individuals that I look at in the addiction section is a musician, a very famous electronic musician who goes under the name of Moby – a very, very talented guy. And Moby, whose on the record as having a bad problem with alcohol abuse, says that Transcendental Meditation has been crucial as part of his recovery plan. I asked him; “How does that work?” He said; “Well, you know I’ve always drunk to decrease agitation – that’s what I drank for. And Transcendental Meditation does that for me, it reduces agitation.” He said; “It lowers the flame on a pot of water.” Well, I said; “You are a creative musician, does it help your creativity?” He said it does, and this is how; “Imagine that you are at a party or you are throwing a party, and you only want 25 guests there, but somehow 50 unwelcome guests have shown up as well. Now the room is too full, and it’s full of people you don’t really want to have there.” He said; “That’s how my brain is before TM. And then I do my meditation and it’s as though those 50 unwelcome guests go away, and I’m just left with the 25 that I want.”
Here is a 1:28 second video of Norman Rosenthal speaking about the effect of Transcendental Meditation on homelessness and addictions :
Wishing you Light and Transcendence,
Catherine (Kate) Elizabeth Ulbricht is a co-founder of the Natural Standard Research Collaboration. She is a Senior Attending Pharmacist at Massachusetts General Hospital. She serves on the editorial board of Harvard Health Publications, the Journal of the American Nutraceutical Association, and Pharmacy Practice News. Dr. Catherine Ulbricht is editor in chief of the Journal of Dietary Supplements.