Meditation: Mind over Matter
by FFE News Staff
A systematic review of published evidence revealed that mindfulness meditation programmes can help improve anxiety, depression and pain — giving an effect similar to that of anti-depressant drugs.
The review was led by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine assistant professor Dr Madhav Goyal, MD. Published in the Journal of the American Medical Association – Internal Medicine, the review used data on 47 clinical trials involving 3,515 participants.
The mindfulness programmes in the studies underlined ‘training in present-focused awareness or mindfulness.’ The researchers said that healthcare had a great deal to do with the benefits of this particular meditation programme: ‘Clinicians should be prepared to talk with their patients about the role that a meditation programme could have in addressing psychological stress.’
The researchers noted that positive response was almost the same as when patients took anti-depressants. Through meditation, participants’ positive response to depression was up by 52% versus control groups, 44% against anxiety and 31% against pain. Unlike some who take anti-depressants, meditation also leaves no harmful side effects.
Interest in meditation has grown over the years in the West and comes from Eastern traditions ‘that emphasise lifelong growth.’ The researchers ended by saying that meditation is a skill that is ‘learned over time’ and includes ‘understanding the various subtleties of one’s existence.’