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Relaxation programs involving meditation offer a benefit to people with a medical condition. Meditation can offer some people with depression the same effects against the mental illness as those achieved with antidepressant drugs. The conclusion is the result of analyzing 47 randomized clinical trials involving a total of 3,515 participants. Through the study, researchers found evident of “moderate quality” suggesting that mindfulness meditation results in small improvements in anxiety, depression and pain.
“Our review indicates that meditation programs can reduce the negative dimensions of psychological stress. Mindfulness meditation programs, in particular, show small improvements in anxiety, depression, and pain,” stated the study, led by Dr. Madhav Goyal, assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “Clinicians should be prepared to talk with their patients about the role that a meditation program could have in addressing psychological stress.”
The programs typically include 20 to 30 hours of training over eight weeks. The most effective training was present-focused awareness or mindfulness. Benefit was not seen in mantra and transcendental meditation. The positive response to depression was similar to that of antidepressants at 52% compared to controls. The size of the effect was 44% greater compared to controls against anxiety and 31% better for pain.
“Training the mind in awareness, in non-judgmental states, or in the ability to become completely free of thoughts or other activity are daunting accomplishments,” said the report. “The interest in meditation that has grown during the past 30 years in Western cultures comes from Eastern traditions that emphasize lifelong growth. The translation of these traditions into research studies remains challenging.”
Source: MedicalNewsToday, Journal of the American Medical Association
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