Tucson Daily Citizen from Tucson, Arizona on February 3, 1973 · Page 42
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Tucson Daily Citizen from Tucson, Arizona · Page 42

Tucson, Arizona
Issue Date:
Saturday, February 3, 1973
Page 42
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"West Is Meeting East In The Lotus Position By Thomas F.Walsh Universal Science News Service Scientists have quietly arrived at the conclusion that the: ancient Eastern practice of joga has something valuable to offer M r estern man. Several years of study deiai- onsfrate that yoga is an excellent way to achieve mental control over our bodily processes. Such control caa.be developed to a point wnwre hig blood pressure iw low;- ered!, abnormal heartbeat* regulated, respiratMnm' .gate changed, emotional ills lessened and stress-related glandular problems eased. WSat was formerly a prac- ticeof Hindu holy men is also being used to treat drug addict* and alcoholics who cannot e helped by other means. L«st sceptics scoff, it should be quickly staled that few people are calling this West- emradaptation "yoga". Most physicians and psychologists calllit "biochemical feedback" or "transcendental medita- tiom." The former alludes to conscious control of the involuntary nervous system thatv for example, regulates heartbeat and the digestive system. The latter refers more to methods of contemplation by which one can learn such mental control. Those whose philosophy of life is encompassed by the Protestant work ethic call it "old!-fashioned will power;.'* and! others reduce it to a forik- of self-hypnosis. But no matter what you call it, the technique iias been used in both clinical and experimental studies to mitigate an impressive variety of hu- mamflls. These include treating tension- Beada'cnes by training patients to relax certain head muscles, alleviating migraine headaches by teaching ways to re-direct blood flow away from the head, easing asthma and pulmonary insufficiency by teaching new methods of breathing, treating hypertension by ' teaching patients to reduce blood pressure that was unchangeable by medications. Scientific-type yoga is being tested as a means to control muscle spasms in epilepsy an* cerebral palsy, to improve the condition of stroke victims, and to develop move-' meat of artificial limbs by "mind power." _ Researchers also look to the technique to train ulcer patients, to reduce the. flaw oi gastric: aewfe. In witfc LMHiiininil Jin* irony or learning' dfijaWlHiiies; by ti'tflifr ing people to produce at will the brain waves responsible for various stages of consciousness. . Results of the various studies are not yet consistent enough for any .of the investigators to shout "hurrah, it's a cure." In some cases, only a few persons involved in a study are successful in learning the techniques of biochemical feedback and transcendental meditation to a There has been no outright Condemnation of the technique degree needed for positive therauy_ Most researchers..are cautious about claims and "evidence." But, interestingly, there has been no outright condemnation of the technique. In biofeedback techniques, the hustle and bustle of the body's basic rhythms -- such as heartbeat, brain waves and internal organ metabolism -are recorded electronically and transformed into signals such as colored lights, tones of different pitch and volume or wavy lines written on graph paper. The theory is that once a person can see or hear what his organs are doing, he can learn to control the nerves that cause the .variations, the high Mood pressure, the low skin temperature, the muscle tension, or the glandular secre- stres*T hor- les In tfct Mfceual. glands blood vcssef waffs cause constriction of the arteries with high blood pressure the result. Patients are usually treated with drugs to lower .their pressure. But when; this doesn't work; patients may be able to control their pressure by sheer "will power." This is especially true if they can see or hear the effect of their efforts. Studies using biofeedback techniques are "being conducted at the Menninger Foundation in Topeka, Kan., where Dr. Joseph Sargent taped temperature recording devices to the forehead and fingers of patients with mi- .graine headaches. He then taught them to concentrate on transferring blood flow from their painful,, dilated head arteries: fir tftefir Some swecesr wajr wit* one woman fearnngrto- raise the ttMptra- tnrc aCher hands It degrees wttJUJt at few minutes, this ww cawed by a rer*«dagr tf blood from her head, with a resulting reduction in migraine pain. At Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., doctors taught asthmatic children M* atMfts wtth jwbwwaiy insufficiency to breathe differently. Attempts also are being made at Maimonides to help epileptics and cerebral palsy patients to control their muscular spasms. At Harvard Medical School, psychologist Davis S. Shapiro trained 10 normal male students to achieve control of their heartbeat and ' blood pressure. The list of conditions and diseases which may be treated by biochemical feedback takes oft from these basic studies like a space ship. Serious thought is being given to training astronauts so that the amount of oxygen needed on long flights to other planets would be drastically reduced. This could be done Iff teacMfig, then the same teclWpK* bjjr Kftich. My mew. of Mb fir centuries nave - fc|k^_^^. Vk___.*^^__Adl f^KdJ tnoc neactneacs an* . Metabolism t» a pw* where their oxygen require^ Their oxygen requirement is slightly more than that of a dead man's is slightly more tlian that of a dead man's. The. holy men have been doing; it -- in scientific experiments as well ai inr tfcehr rengtanF rituals -- witfcwt ligfits, tones or anj' other bfo- feedback paraphernalia. This is where .transcendental meditation and yoga come in. In Boston, Dr. Herbert Benson, a Harvard cardiologist, got a group- oi siude»u to. learn the techniques of transcendental meditation. Once they accomplished a level of yogic contemplation, he recorded significant decreases in heart rates and oxygen consumption. Brain-wave recorders attached to their heads revealed a dominance of the alpha waves, which psychologists associate with a relaxed but alert frame of mind. One might put this mind stage halfway or so between drowsiness and attention. In some sub-drug cultures in the U.S., drug;use has been switched off in favor of an "alpha high", the creation through transcendental meditation of a Western-style state of inner bliss. Aided by R. Keith Wallace, a. UBtversitj- oC California psy- ;Chato0!M r Ben»M taught tran- 'sccndenbtmedkation to nearly, 3flt *mfe aMfcls and alcoholic*. The meditation, they claim, reduces use of marijuana, LSD, narcotics and amphetamines up to 80 percent. The brains of yogis in · profound meditation emit mostly alpha waves which, among other restful attri- -butes, is believed to impart that pleasant inner feeling. In contrast, smokers have been found by Dr. Barbara Brown at Veterans Administration Hospital in Sepulveda, Calif., to emit mostly beta waves, which are associated with anxiety as well as drowsiness. Thus, transcendental meditation may catch on as a healthy substitute for smoking. Experiments conducted by a group of Indian physicians at the Banaras Hindu University in India, have, led the group to coaeftKlt that a six-month cwnrwntyigjsrlas such beneficial effects w reduction in body weight,, a significantly nnnvpMNt pttern of respira- ttpn, a rwhction of blood cho- feattNf anf blood sugar levels, and an increase in blood protein: levels. The researchers also measured a decrease in nervoi'--!.is, a lowered rate of mental iaUjnie and a higher memory quotient. Like the use ft£ drug3. £rw» tranquilizers and alcohol to narcotics, transcedental meditation and biochemical feedback are sought after by those seeking some kind of relief from the stress of Western civilization. Yoga advocates say their way can help restless Western man find the inner peace his clergymen, psychiatrists and less official healers have tried to give him for centuries. Related stories, pages 7,8 PAGE 6 TUCSON DAILY CITIZEN SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 1973

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