January 23, 2018
1 min read

Transcendental Meditation eases veterans’ PTSD symptoms

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Brian Reese
Col. Brian Rees

Research published in Military Medicine demonstrated that practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique helped relieve symptoms of PTSD among veterans.

“Recent reports on PTSD have suggested that additional research is needed to identify more effective methods for treating this disorder,” Robert E. Herron, PhD, from the Center for Health Systems Analysis, and Col. Brian Rees, MD, MPH, MC, USAR (Ret.), executive director, TM for Veterans, wrote. “The [Transcendental Meditation] technique was chosen for evaluation because previous research suggested that this procedure can decrease PTSD symptoms.”

Researchers used a one-group pretest–posttest design to determine if Transcendental Meditation practice reduced PTSD symptoms. Participants included 46 veterans who completed PTSD Checklist-Civilian (PCL-5) questionnaires to measure symptoms at baseline, and 30 and 90 days after intervention. The investigators compared full-dose (two 20-minute meditation sessions each day) and half-dose (one 20-minute meditation session each day) groups.

All veterans had positive responses after 1 month of practicing Transcendental Meditation. In total, average PCL-5 score decreased 28.09 points, from 51.52 prior to the intervention to 23.43 postintervention (P < .0001). Furthermore, 40 veterans (87%) saw significant reductions in PTSD symptoms by more than 10 points and 37 participants fell below the clinical level (PCL-5 score < 33 points). Overall, 31 veterans still responded to Transcendental Meditation 90 days after the intervention and three more fell below clinical level. Importantly, participants who practiced the meditation technique twice a day as recommended saw greater benefits than those who practiced only once a day.

"It's remarkable that after just 1 month we would see such a pronounced decrease in symptoms, with four out of five veterans no longer considered to have a serious problem with PTSD. The importance of this study is that it shows that veterans are able to help themselves,” Herron said in a press release. “The veterans involved were pleased that they were able to do this on their own, and no doubt the VA hospitals appreciate that there are therapeutic approaches that can be undertaken without the costly intensive care of a therapist that treatment typically entails.” – by Savannah Demko

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.