Rosenthal, the psychiatrist and researcher who first described and named seasonal affective disorder (SAD), is a medical expert who can write for a popular audience. He tackles Transcendental Meditation, the technique taught by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who developed it from his Indian spiritual tradition. TM is practiced by using an individual silent mantra to focus and relax. Studies Rosenthal cites show health and wellness benefits. All this is true, but Rosenthal is selective in what he cites. Much of the research, while published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, is done by the organization formed by Maharishi. Other meditation techniques, such as mindfulness, have been successfully shown to reduce stress. Scientists have studied Tibetan Buddhist monks in meditation to better understand the brain's neuroplasticity, its potential for rewiring. Testimonials in Rosenthal's book clearly show that TM can be beneficial. But it's not mental aspirin. Nonetheless, the book makes a useful contribution to understanding the mind-body relationship in holistic ways, advancing ongoing dialogue among clinicians and just plain folks about how to live more healthfully. (June)
"Come for the star power; stay for the benefits." Library Journal
Transcendental meditation (TM), the ancient meditative technique revived in the 1950s by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, has come in for a great deal of ribbing, as the go-to folly of errant musicians and pop stars. The cover of this new book on TM does nothing to dispel the image, reminding us that Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and Martin Scorsese, among many other big names, use the method. Psychiatrist Rosenthal (Winter Blues: Everything You Need To Know To Beat Seasonal Affective Disorder) came to the writing of this book as a pioneer in seasonal affective disorder studies and a 20-year veteran of research at the National Institute of Mental Health. Although his book is thick with anecdote, the key message is Rosenthal's conviction that this relatively simple method can relieve depression and help with addiction and stresses. VERDICT Come for the star power; stay for the benefits. Not an extensive guidebook, but rather an introduction to the effects of TM, this book should appeal to a broad array of religious and nonreligious readers.