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Transcendental Meditation an effective way to ease depression
by Neharika Sabharwal

Main Article page | Health page| Fitness articles| Diseases

Two new studies claim that the practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique (TM) is an easy way to dissolve the negative effects of depression by reducing stress and promoting good health.

Sanford Nidich, who led the study as senior researcher at the Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention at Maharishi University of Management stated, "Clinically meaningful reductions in depressive symptoms were associated with practice of the Transcendental Meditation program.

"The findings of the studies have important implications for improving mental health and reducing the risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.

Two studies of over 100 patients conducted
The studies were conducted at the University of California in Los Angeles and University of Hawaii in Kohala and included 59 African Americans and 53 Native Hawaiians, 55 years and older, at risk for cardiovascular disease.

Both the studies compared the technique of TM with health education on depression for a period of a year.

The TM technique involved repeating a mantra for a period of 15 to 20 minutes twice a day to help achieve a relaxed state of mind, while the control group followed a health education program twice a day for 20 minutes.

Outcome of the study
The researchers noted that patients in both the studies following the meditation therapy exhibited significant improvement in their depressive symptoms.

The full benefits of meditation were observed in patients at risk of developing heart disease within three months. Over the course of the study, the depressive symptoms fell by around a third.

There were no substantial variations in the genders in terms of the benefits of TM.

Previous research has indicated that TM not only cuts the chances of a heart attack in patients with heart disease but also reduces blood pressure, alleviates pain, sleep problems, fatigue and anxiety disorders.

"These results are encouraging and provide support for testing the efficacy of Transcendental Meditation in the treatment of clinical depression," said Hector Myers, the co-author of one of the studies and professor and director of Clinical Training in the Department of Psychology at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).

The studies were funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health - National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and National Centre for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

The findings will be presented at the 31st Annual Meeting of the Society of Behavioral Medicine in Seattle, Washington.

A little about Transcendental Meditation
Transcendental Meditation was developed and promoted by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, a former Hindu ascetic. The movement became popular in the West in the 1960s.

Although, the perspective behind it has roots in Vedanta, it is not connected to any religious tradition and is based on specific meditation techniques.

Practice of TM is the mental repetition of a mantra in order to still the activity of thought and experience a deeper level of consciousness.

The practitioner finds deep relaxation, which can lead to inner joy, vitality, and creativ



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