“HEAL THE HEALERS NOW” New Initiative by the David Lynch Foundation and US TM Organization to Provide Meditation to US Medical Professionals Battling COVID-19

Share Article

David Lynch to Support Launch of Initiative Aimed at Reducing Anxiety, Boosting Resilience and Healing Trauma: Visit HealTheHealersNow.org to Support

“Heal the Healers Now,” a new national initiative to bring the stress-reducing Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique to medical professionals who are battling the coronavirus pandemic, was launched today by two nonprofit groups: the Center for Health and Wellness of the David Lynch Foundation and the US TM Organization.

A New York Times article published on March 31 titled “Nurses Die, Doctors Fall Sick and Panic Rises on Virus Front Lines,” reported that “The coronavirus pandemic, which has infected more than 30,000 people in New York City, is beginning to take a toll on those who are most needed to combat it: the doctors, nurses and other workers at hospitals and clinics. In emergency rooms and intensive care units, typically dispassionate medical professionals are feeling panicked as increasing numbers of colleagues get sick.”

“With COVID-19 testing our healthcare system’s technology, infrastructure and most importantly human resources, the doctors and nurses taking care of the scared and sick patients – at great risk to themselves – deserve the very best tools to manage their health that we can provide them,” said Bob Roth, Chief Executive Officer, the David Lynch Foundation.

“Throughout the years, 5,000 doctors and nurses have learned the TM technique. The goal of the David Lynch Foundation is to teach many thousands more of these heroes over the coming year.”

“Save the doctors, save the nurses!” said filmmaker David Lynch, chair of the David Lynch Foundation. “This initiative will teach these courageous healthcare providers Transcendental Meditation so they can strengthen their immune systems, stay safe and continue to help others.”

Even before the pandemic, a Harvard report called physician burnout “a public health crisis that urgently demands action,” with several surveys putting the rate of provider burnout as high as 70 percent. The American Academy of Family Physicians linked burnout to higher rates of medical errors, substance abuse and addiction and suicide among physicians.

Today, the situation is far worse and demands well-documented, innovative approaches to address this crisis. “Transcendental Meditation is an evidence-based, non-pharmacological intervention for this devastating public health crisis,” said Stuart Rothenberg, MD, Medical Director of the Center for Health and Wellness.

“The Center for Health and Wellness has a long track record of providing TM instruction to first responders, including police, firefighters, and military personnel. Today, our doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers are true first responders—they are on the frontlines in a literal life-or-death battle against a pandemic that threatens the very life of society,” Dr. Rothenberg said.

Heal the Healers Fund

The Center has established the “Heal the Healers Now Fund” with all money raised used to deliver the meditation to healthcare providers at no charge. Those interested in supporting the initiative can visit HealTheHealersNow.org.

Deep relaxation and stress reduction

Transcendental Meditation is an easy-to-learn, enjoyable-to-practice mental technique for deep relaxation and stress-reduction that has been successfully offered in medical schools, academic and VA medical centers, hospitals, military academies, substance abuse centers, prisons and other settings, according to the TM.org website.

Instruction in the TM technique for healthcare providers includes eight hours of specialized training by a trauma-informed teacher, which includes one class of personalized instruction, as well as a comprehensive, one-year follow up program to ensure the provider is gaining maximum results. The technique is practiced for 15-20 minutes twice a day. Training will begin once health authorities give the greenlight for teaching medical workers onsite.

Celebrities including Jerry Seinfeld, Ellen DeGeneres, Oprah Winfrey, Katy Perry, Tom Hanks, Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Sting, Russell Brand, Laura Dern, Lena Dunham, Naomi Watts, Mary-Louise Parker, Amy Schumer and Bill Hader practice Transcendental Meditation and support the work of the David Lynch Foundation to bring the meditation for free to at-risk adults and youth.

Unique state of “restful alertness”

“TM produces a unique neurophysiological state that combines deep metabolic rest with heightened mental alertness. This state of deep relaxation, which researchers have termed ‘restful alertness,’ is a potent antidote to stress,” Dr. Rothenberg said.

Over 400 peer-reviewed published studies on TM have documented improvements in a wide variety of stress-related disorders, as well as significant improvements in cognitive function and overall health and well-being. The National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense have awarded nearly $30 million in grant support for research on TM.

For example, a recent $2.4 million study funded by the Department of Defense found TM markedly reduced symptoms of PTSD among meditating veterans. Results of the randomized controlled trial were published in The Lancet Psychiatry in November 2018.

Ten million people of all ages, nationalities and religions, including tens of thousands of healthcare providers, have learned TM. The TM-based “Healthcare Provider Wellness Program” has been offered in hospitals and clinics nationwide, most recently at Weill Cornell Medical Center-New York Presbyterian Hospital in New York City, with significant reductions in physician burnout, insomnia and symptoms of post-traumatic stress over a three-month period in those practicing the TM technique.

Eric J. Nestler, MD, PhD, Director of the Friedman Brain Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, learned TM six years ago. “TM has tremendous potential for healthcare providers to reduce burnout and increase job satisfaction and productivity,” Dr. Nestler said.

Patty J. Lee, MD, is Chief of the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina. “I am leading an entire division of physicians through this CoV19 crisis—and TM has been my anchor. I am now petitioning our entire health system to train all our healthcare providers in TM,” Dr. Lee said.

Track record in healthcare programs

The TM technique has been adopted in healthcare provider wellness programs as a stand-alone approach or as an adjuvant therapy to make existing programs more effective. These programs include:

  • Loyola University’s Stritch School of Medicine in Chicago Medical students are offered a for-credit elective program entitled, “Physician Wellness through Transcendental Meditation.” To date, more than 350 medical students have learned TM, with more students learning all the time based on positive reports. A randomized controlled trial of 42 academic faculty physicians at Loyola Stritch performed over a four-month period found significant improvements in overall burnout, depression and insomnia in the TM group compared to controls.
  • Weill Cornell Medical Center-New York Presbyterian Hospital in New York City A pilot study of physicians in the Emergency Medicine Department found significant reductions in physician burnout, insomnia and symptoms of post-traumatic stress over a three-month period in those practicing TM.
  • Norwich University in Northfield, Vermont A six-year study on cadets at America’s oldest military college (and the home of ROTC) has found significant reductions in perceived stress, hyper-vigilance and depression, and increases in psychological resilience in TM participants.

Donating services to healthcare providers

Dr. Rothenberg said the “Heal the Healers Now Fund” will allow certified TM teachers to provide the instruction to learn to meditate at no cost to doctors, nurses and other workers, as well as offer a comprehensive, one-year follow up program to ensure the providers are gaining maximum benefit from their practice.

For more information, and to make a tax-deductible donation to “Heal the Healers Now Fund,” please visit HealTheHealersNow.org or contact Heroes@DavidLynchFoundation.org

For media inquiries, contact Dan Knitzer at The TASC Group at dan@thetascgroup.com or 973-978-3956.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Dan Knitzer

Dan Knitzer