Data from a meta-analysis demonstrate the efficacy of Transcendental Meditation in those with high anxiety. According to researchers, the method is more effective than treatment as usual and most alternative therapies.
“Groups with elevated anxiety received significant relief from Transcendental Meditation, and that reduction occurred rapidly in the first few weeks of practice,” according to study researcher David W. Orme-Johnson, PhD, an independent research consultant. “It makes sense that if you are not anxious to begin with, that Transcendental Meditation practice is not going to reduce your anxiety as much,” he added.
This chart shows that studies of individuals with anxiety levels in the 90th percentile (higher than 90 percent of the rest of the adult population) showed dramatic reductions in anxiety down to the 57th percentile from TM® practice. This is just a little higher than the average anxiety level, which is the 50th percentile. Study groups that started in the 60th percentile, a little above average, showed more modest reductions, to the 48th percentile, a little below average.
This meta-analysis covered 16 randomized-controlled trials, the gold standard in medical research, and included 1295 subjects from various walks of life, age groups, and life situations. TM was compared with various control groups, including treatment-as-usual, individual and group psychotherapy, and various relaxation techniques. Studies on high stress groups, such as veterans suffering from PTSD and prison inmates, showed dramatic reductions in anxiety from TM practice, whereas studies of groups with only moderately elevated anxiety levels, such as normal adults and college students, showed more modest changes.
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