Posted on Jan 15, 2014, 6 a.m.
Mindfulness meditation may be useful to combat anxiety and depression, and to help manage pain.
As a natural, non-drug therapy, meditation helps many people to reduce psychological stress and stress-related health problems. The practice of “Mindfulness Meditation” is aimed at allowing the mind to pay attention to whatever thoughts enter it, such as sounds in the environment, without becoming too focused. Madhav Goyal, from The Johns Hopkins University (Maryland, USA), and colleagues completed a meta-analysis conducted on 47 published studies of mindfulness medication involving a total of 3,515 subjects. The team found up to a 10% improvement in anxiety symptoms among people who took part in mindfulness meditation, compared to those who did another activity. Further, the researchers identified a 10 to 20% improvement in symptoms of depression among those who practiced mindfulness meditation, compared to the other group. As well, mindfulness meditation was associated with reduced pain. Writing that: “Clinicians should be aware that meditation programs can result in small to moderate reductions of multiple negative dimensions of psychological stress,” the study authors urge that: “clinicians should be prepared to talk with their patients about the role that a meditation program could have in addressing psychological stress.”
Madhav Goyal; Sonal Singh; Erica M. S. Sibinga; Neda F. Gould; Anastasia Rowland-Seymour; Ritu Sharma; et al. “Meditation Programs for Psychological Stress and Well-being: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.” JAMA Internal Medicine, 6 Jan. 2014.