Meditation for depression
The Transcendental Meditation technique may be an effective way to ease the symptoms of depression.
The studies, conducted at Charles Drew University in Los Angeles and University of Hawaii in Kohala, included African Americans and Native Hawaiians, 55 years and older, at risk for cardiovascular disease.
Participants were randomly allocated to the TM programme or health education control group, and assessed with a standard test for depression - the Centre for Epidemiological Studies-Depression (CES-D) inventory over 9-12 months.
'Clinically meaningful reductions in depressive symptoms were associated with practice of the Transcendental Meditation programme,' Sanford Nidich, who led the study as senior researcher at the Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention at Maharishi University of Management, said.
'The findings of the studies have important implications for improving mental health and reducing the risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality,' he said.
Participants in both studies, who practiced the TM programme, showed significant reductions in depressive symptoms compared to health education controls.
The largest decreases were found in those participants who had indications of clinically significant depression, with those practicing TM showing an average reduction in depressive symptoms by 48 percent.
Depression is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, with even a moderate level of depressive symptoms associated with increased cardiac events, a Maharishi University release said.
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 Behavioural Medicine in Seattle, Washington Friday.