Previous studies on the benefits of meditation found that the practice could help to reduce pain and inflammation just as effectively as taking pain relief pills. Now, the latest research has found that meditation can also help manage the symptoms of depression.
Researchers found that those who meditated for just 30 to 40 minutes every day for eight weeks, had a five to ten percent reduction in anxiety symptoms and a 10 to 20 percent reduction in feelings of depression.
Allan Goroll, a professor of medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital stated that these “findings may support the use of mindful meditation as a way to moderate the need for medications to treat anxiety and depression.”
According to the study, the reduced feelings of anxiety and depression were similar to the effects of taking antidepressants in similar population groups.
The researchers also found that insomnia and stress were also heavily reduced in those who practiced meditation.
Madhav Goyal, leader of the study and assistant professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine at John Hopkins University in Baltimore, is still unclear as to how meditation helps but believes that “those who learn meditation reduce their reaction to negative emotions or symptoms” thereby reducing the effects these negative emotions may have.
Goyal continued, “our review suggests that there is moderate evidence for a small but consistent benefit for anxiety, depression and chronic pain. There is no known major harm from meditating, and meditation doesn’t come with any known side effects. One can also practice meditation along with other treatments one is already receiving.”
While Goyal does not suggest that meditation is used as the only form of treatment he does affirm that the best reason to meditate “is to increase insight into one’s life which is probably good for everyone.”