A new study reports that regular practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique enables some active-duty service members battling post-traumatic stress disorder to reduce or even eliminate their psychotropic medication and get better control of their debilitating symptoms.
Published in the journal Military Medicine, the study looked at 74 active-duty service members with PTSD or anxiety disorder, often resulting from multiple deployments over multiple years, who were seeking treatment at Fort Gordon, Georgia.
Half the service members practiced the Transcendental Meditation technique regularly in addition to their other therapy; half did not. At one month, 83.7 percent of those in the Transcendental Meditation group had stabilized, reduced, or stopped their use of psychotropic drugs to treat their conditions while 10.9 percent had increased their medication dosage.
Of those in the control group, 59.4 percent had stabilized, reduced, or stopped taking psychotropic drugs while 40.5 percent were taking more medication.
Similar percentages held up in the following months and by six months, those in the control group had experienced about a 20 percent increase in their symptoms compared with those practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique.
The primary symptoms include headaches, and memory, sleep, and mood issues.
“Regular practice of Transcendental Meditation provides a habit of calming down and healing the brain,” said lead author Vernon A. Barnes, an MIU PhD alum who is a physiologist at the Georgia Prevention Institute at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University.
The Transcendental Meditation technique takes users from a level of active thinking to a state of inner quietness that reduces levels of stress hormones and activation of the sympathetic nervous system, which drives the so-called fight-or-flight response by increasing heart rate and blood pressure, Dr. Barnes said.
The study was supported in part by the David Lynch Foundation’s Operation Warrior Wellness program, which provided funding for the Transcendental Meditation instruction.
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