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CZ Talk:Cold Storage/Natural stress relief meditation

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Revision as of 23:22, 13 December 2008 by David Spector (Talk | contribs) (Topic Informant Disclaimer)

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Topic Informant Disclaimer

The original author of this article is User: David Spector. He was a former TM teacher, but developed the NSR technique and founded Natural Stress Relief, Inc., an independent nonprofit corporation, to distribute the NSR learning materials in hardcopy throughout the world in cooperation with Istituto Scientia. He is a Topic Informant for this article. His version can be found at TI:Natural Stress Relief Meditation. (modified from User: David Spector by Howard C. Berkowitz 19:00, 12 December 2008 (UTC)) and D. Matt Innis 01:52, 13 December 2008 (UTC)


Corrections:

  • I did not develop the NSR technique. It was developed by Istituto Scientia as described in the article.
  • Contrary to the modification to the first paragraph definition made by an editor, it is incorrect to describe NSR as a relaxation technique.

Rationale for Inclusion:

Since I wrote and posted this article myself, it violates Citizendium policy. However, I feel that it is important that there exist a correct and well-written article on NSR Meditation since it is currently the best and most popular alternative to Transcendental Meditation, the only effortless technique for self-improvement to receive impressive scientific validation (over 100 well-designed studies).

The popularity of NSR Meditation derives from two main characteristics: it is affordable by anyone, and it includes no mysticism or religious overtones. David Spector 23:22, 13 December 2008 (UTC)

Context for the article

The justification for this article is that NSR Meditation is currently the most popular alternative to the highly effective and scientifically studied technique for stress reduction, Transcendental Meditation.

Since this article was written by the president of one of the organizations that teaches NSR Meditation, it is oriented toward those interested in learning it. This results in a certain commercial tone of voice (it may be relevant to note here that the organizations are nonprofit and charge only a small fraction of their nearest competitor, Transcendental Meditation). I believe the article could be improved by changing some wording to improve neutrality, at least so far as the tone of the article is concerned. Any help is welcome. David Spector 23:48, 8 December 2008 (UTC)

I understand that it is an alternative technique, but I urge you not to put up any article that can be interpreted as being in a commercial tone of voice. That can result in some very negative reactions.
At the very least, look at the formatting conventions of other articles. For example, headings are not bolded strings, but lines delimited with an appropriate number of = signs (e.g., ==Related methods==)
The first sentence should repeat the article title, perhaps with slight grammatical tweaking, and give a succinct definition.
I would note that this article probably belongs with health sciences and possibly healing arts as well as psychology, but I would urge you to rephrase it so there is no question of it being misinterpreted as advertising. Howard C. Berkowitz 15:20, 9 December 2008 (UTC)
Howard, Thank you so much for your helpful comments. I have edited the article to conform to the formatting conventions. I have also added a concise definition at the start of the article. I would like to add this article to the other groups or topic areas that you mention, but I have not been able to find instructions for doing this. Perhaps you could give me some specific instructions or a reference to the proper Help page.
The biggest problem is clearly whether the article can be misinterpreted as advertising. Since NSR has been so well received by the general public as an affordable alternative to TM, it deserves to be described in online encyclopedias. But I have no wish to advertise in encyclopedias, as advertising and publicity are much better done elsewhere.
I've changed one heading from "how to learn" to "how is NSR learned", which I think helps, but I don't think it is enough.
As president of NSR/USA, it is difficult for me to describe NSR Meditation in an unbiased way. Therefore, I really need your further and more detailed help (and that of other editors) to guide me in improving this article. David Spector 16:20, 9 December 2008 (UTC)
Sorry, but it really does read like advertising. As a starting point, you should think of this as the sort of thing that would be appropriately written for a scientific journal, although here, we would want either to include definitions, or links to definitions, that the general reader might not follow.
I can't always find the right help page myself. :-( Not that it's quite the same sort of subject, look at chiropractic and acupuncture as something that might give an example of style. There may be some useful terminology in National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. We don't have a general article on relaxation techniques, which would be a good "top-level" article to review, neutrally, the various techniques and underlying therapies. It might be a challenge, but if you could, for example, also write an article on TM that a TM practitioner would consider accurate (although not an endorsement), you'd be getting a good sense of the CZ approach to life and the uniers. :-) Howard C. Berkowitz 16:33, 9 December 2008 (UTC)
Howard, I would like to see an article on Transcendental Meditation here, and I will consider writing it myself when I have more time. For now, I want to focus on getting this article on NSR Meditation right, since this is my area of greater expertise.
I know that it appears that meditation techniques are relaxation techniques, but that is not a good characterization. They are very different from sitting in a hot tub, listening to music, or other things we do to relax. Yes, it is true that relaxation is frequently a result of TM and NSR, but it is more significant that they generate a unique state of physiology (restful alertness) that eliminates even deep-rooted stresses. This is the source of that long list of benefits, not its relaxation effect.
I do appreciate your help, but you might take a few minutes to read up on some of the scientific research on TM and NSR so you can understand the benefits to the general population and to the psychological researcher a little better.
I still need more focused help in removing the advertising stigma from this article. Perhaps I should import some of the writing for journals that I have done, but it would not be so readable for the general public.
I still need help adding this article to other topic categories, since it is not primarily an article about psychology.
I'll write more later, when I'm not so busy. Sorry that I'm not doing such a good job with the rewrite so far. I may need more help from other editors here.David Spector 11:45, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
In all sincerity, a journal article would be far better than what you have here. As it is written, any number of Citizens would recommend that it be deleted as violating rules on advertising, which could lead to a ban on future contributions.
Actually, when I say meditation techniques are relaxation techniques, I am not basing tht on "feeling more relaxed". See complementary and alternative medicine and further links there. Certain relaxation techniques can be used to reduce pain that can't be measured directly, although in some cases of classical migraine, it is possible to measure the vasodilation causing the pain. In general, however, when I speak of a relaxation technique, I speak of something where I can use objective instrumentation to measure changes in physiologic parameters causing stress; this is something I've done quite frequently in monitored cardiac patients.
CZ has its own customs. Suggesting that someone reviewing an article "read up on some of the scientific research on TM and NSR" is not appropriate, especially when explicit and authoritative references are not given. The entire point of writing an encyclopedia article is to give the general reader a basic grasp of the subject, and, when alternatives exists, a neutral comparison. An article is not a reading list.
At this point, I would urge you to delete the text you have there now, perhaps leaving a neutral paragraph or so that could not be interpreted as advertising, and replace it later with an objectively written article. As the material reads, other editors, all of whom are volunteers, are not likely to take on a major rewrite on a topic with which they have no familiarity. Howard C. Berkowitz 15:53, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
Hi David, I see what you mean about having a commercial tone. I think I can help clean it up some. I'll have some time a little later today or tomorrow and I'll take a look. It does need some deep "cutting" into some of the editorializing, but I agree that the article can be used here. Howard, how about showing David how to apply the subpages and lets pick the editors for this article. D. Matt Innis 14:34, 12 December 2008 (UTC)

Some intitial cleanup

I made my first pass trough the overview section. Take a look and let me know if I've deleted anything important. D. Matt Innis 16:03, 12 December 2008 (UTC)

I've made another pass, concentrating on tying it into what we generally call the navigation system. You'll notice, on top of the formatted page, that there are a variety of "tabs", one of which is "Related Articles". This is a technical difference from Wikipedia; we don't use categories in their sense. There are workgroups, but those are more administrative so the appropriate subject editors and authors can find new work.
Do look through the references and try to find as many as possible that are not on your own website, either online, scholarly publications, or general pubications. Especially, do not quote your own site for criticisms of TM; there are plenty of neutral sources for that. Don't point to TM's own site. Use neutral sources.
I've moved testimonials and other problematic sections to this page; testimonials are not things that CZ considers authoritative sources. Believe me, Matt and I have spent months working on another article where it took that long to get the testimonials out of the main article. Howard C. Berkowitz 19:00, 12 December 2008 (UTC)

Capitalization

Doesn't NSRM have a trademark or service mark? If so, it's a proper name and should stay with initial caps. Howard C. Berkowitz 03:10, 13 December 2008 (UTC)

Article moved here

I have moved the article here at the request of the author who, after reading our CZ:Policy on Self-promotion, graciously realized that, as CEO, he could not offer it himself. D. Matt Innis 18:36, 13 December 2008 (UTC)


Natural stress relief meditation (NSR) is a relaxation technique, which is one of the various subtypes of mind-body interactions included in complementary and alternative medicine. It is a means of managing the effects of excessive stress.

Stress is a normal aspect of everyday life, but for some it triggers physiological responses that can have detrimental effects on health. While medication and exercise have shown to be effective, NSR adds a level of active mental participation for the patient to use in an effort to receive the benefits of the relaxation.

Therapists who employ NSR consider that it is worthwhile to look for a common source for all problems and seek a general solution. There has been some peer-reviewed work.[1]

NSR Meditation consists of a simple mental technique called transcending that is performed twice a day. Its intention is to eliminate mental stress that therapists describe as being "stored" in the nervous system. The goal is to eliminate the emotional response to stress and obtain a feeling of "refreshment."

In the NSR paradigm, the most effective way to eliminate stored stresses is to dissolve them through the deep state of rest generated by transcending the field of thought, following a thought back to its creation. Thoughts are created within a field of silence, intelligence, and creativity; contact with that field is enjoyable, restful, and expands our awareness. NSR claims to work by mentally making contact with the original source of thought, pure consciousness, and therefore remove long-standing suffering and bring fulfillment to life.

The NSR technique

NSR is a simple mental technique practiced twice a day for 15 minutes each time, performed in a sitting position with the eyes closed.

Stress

Everyone reacts to life situations (stressors) differently. One person may be traumatized by the same situation that merely poses an interesting challenge to another. Stress is defined as is a pathological process resulting from the reaction of the body to external forces and abnormal conditions that tend to disturb the organism's homeostasis. [2] Stresses are caused when a person is exposed to stressors; they are very much like the circuit breakers in a house in that they limit the system in order to protect it from further damage.

The human nervous system is that it can repair or eliminate the effects of stress. It does this as part of its normal functioning whenever the body gets rest that is deep enough. Sleep is sufficient to eliminate some, but not all, of the stress accumulated during our daily activity. This means that stresses tend to accumulate, weakening the functioning of our nervous system. This makes us more susceptible to accumulating even more stresses. Instead of growing in positivity, intelligence, and strength we become more fragile, and problems increase.

We need a deeper form of rest, a fourth major state of physiology (beyond waking, dreaming, and deep sleep), to reach and release our accumulated stresses. This is exactly what NSR Meditation provides, by the process known as transcending.

Transcending

Thoughts do not occur fully-formed. Instead, they develop in the mind on a subconscious level before being experienced consciously. When we practice NSR Meditation we experience the earlier stages in the development of a thought. These earlier stages are perceived as subtler, vaguer, or more abstract than the more concrete thoughts that we experience whenever we are awake.

The process of being aware of earlier stages in the development of a thought (transcending) culminates in the experience of the source of thought, which is consciousness itself. Just as a movie screen, that normally functions by showing only the images cast on it, can be seen when the house lights are up, so consciousness, which is that aspect of the mind that reflects the images cast on it by the senses, can be seen clearly when we are completely aware, but not distracted by thoughts.

The goal of NSR is a state of restful awareness, alert yet without a specific focus. This state is unbounded, joyful, and profoundly satisfying. It has been called transcendence, samadhi, or satori in the Eastern traditions of the development of consciousness.

Rather than being a difficult practice, one which requires trying to stop or prevent thoughts, transcending[3] is actually just as effortless and natural as falling asleep. We merely need to take a correct angle then let go. The actual "dive within" happens automatically, without any effort on our part.

While the mind experiences transcending, the body mirrors the process by entering into a deep state of rest. This extraordinarily deep rest is what eliminates even deep-rooted stresses, strengthening the nervous system and improving all aspects of life.

Since transcending is effortless and makes use only of the natural process of thinking, anyone who can think can learn it. Intelligent and open-minded skepticism does not interfere with the successful practice of NSR, and can even improve the speed of learning by helping us to pay better attention to the instructions.

Benefits

The elimination of stress produces many benefits. Depending on the individual, some of these benefits will be noticed before others. Eventually, however, the deep rest produced by transcending is sufficient to dissolve all stress and bring fulfillment to life.

Here are some of the benefits produced by NSR Meditation:

  • Clear thinking. Without the distractions generated by stress, our thoughts are powerful, intelligent, and useful to ourselves and others.
  • Good health. The deep rest provided by NSR promotes cardiovascular health, strengthening of the immune system, and better mental health.
  • Better productivity. NSR improves productivity by eliminating fatigue and increasing intelligence.
  • Increased autonomy. NSR improves self-reliance and self-satisfaction by removing obstacles to the full expression of the self. Psychologist Abraham Maslow called this state of full functioning self-actualization[4]ref name=MaslowMP>Maslow, A. (1970), The Farther Reaches of Human Nature, Viking Press, pp. XXXX</ref>
  • Satisfaction with life. NSR improves overall satisfaction with life through improving productivity and developing self-actualization.

Validation

The physiological effects of transcending have been observed through galvanic skin response (GSR), brain wave changes measured with electroencephalography (EEG), and several types of psychological inventories (STAI and SISA)[7] that demonstrate a reduction in anxiety.

One peer-reviewed paper has been published.

How NSR is learned

NSR Meditation is self-taught using a printed manual and a short CD. This procedure allows the cost of learning NSR to be just a small fraction of that of its closest competitor, Transcendental Meditation©. The NSR manual contains six lessons, to be read over a period of three days. Each lesson starts with the practice of NSR and concludes with the reading of a few pages of instructional material.

This same format is used whether one person is learning by him- or herself or whether all the members of a company or school are learning at the same time. Studying the manual and practicing on one's own, along with personal support in the form of access to prompt and accurate answers to questions about experience, has been found to be a very effective and successful means of learning NSR.

Learning NSR requires understanding written English (a version in Italian is also available) and the ability to follow simple instructions. Anyone who is at least 14 years old can learn.[2]

Background and history

Transcendental Meditation

In the mid 1950's, an Indian monk named Maharishi Mahesh Yogi formulated the first understanding of the effortless nature of meditation, samadhi, and enlightenment, along with a comprehensive program of instruction that brought this possibility to the world for the first time. Called Transcendental Meditation, the technique has been taught since that time throughout the world by teachers specially trained by Maharishi.[5]

TM has developed several aspects that prevent many people from being able to learn. Its course fee is prohibitively high ($2000.00 in the USA), and it includes nonessential elements that many find to be religious or mystical, and therefore objectionable.

Istituto Scientia

As an alternative to TM, a nonprofit group in Italy called Istituto Scientia, led by physics researcher Fabrizio Coppola, got together in the late 1990's to develop a comparable technique that did not have these objectional aspects. By 2003, Istituto Scientia was offering their own course, called la Tecnica Naturale Anti-Stress (TNAS) in Italian, and Natural Stress Relief in English. This is the course now known as NSR Meditation. The NSR course may be downloaded in English or Italian from the Istituto Scientia website.

References

  1. Psychological Reports 101: 130-134, August, 2007
  2. Medical Subject Headings, National Library of Medicine
  3. The process of transcending
  4. Maslow, A. (1954), Motivation and Personality (First Edition ed.), Harper, pp. XXXX
  5. [The official TM website: http://www.tm.org/ Transcendential Meditation official website]