Doing about half an hour of meditation a day helps alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression, according to an analysis of 50 clinical studies, reports the daily La Libre Belgique.
"A large number of people use meditation, but it is not considered part of any medical therapy," says Madhav Goyal, professor of internal medicine at Johns Hopkins University and lead author of the study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
"But in our study, meditation appears to alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression as effectively as antidepressants in other studies," the professor added, noting also that the patients monitored did not suffer from severe forms of anxiety or depression.
The researchers assessed the degree of symptom change in people suffering from a range of health problems such as insomnia or fibromyalgia, a chronic medical condition characterized by pain in muscle and soft tissues. Only a small number of these patients suffered from a mental illness, the study authors explained.
The Benefits Of Doing Half An Hour Of Meditation Per Day
The scientists found that meditation called "mindfulness meditation", an Eastern technique of focusing attention on the present moment showed particular promise.
Overall, they saw signs of improvement in symptoms of anxiety, depression, and pain after participants undertook an eight-week program of such meditation, lasting about 30 minutes a day. However, the researchers found few signs of improvement in stress and quality of life.
In the clinical trials they analyzed, which patients followed for six months, the researchers found that these benefits of meditation persisted.
The analysis was based on 47 clinical trials, involving a total of 3,515 people practicing various meditation techniques and suffering from various mental and psychological problems, such as depression, anxiety, stress, insomnia, as well as drug addiction, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and chronic pain.
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