What The Evidence Shows
A recently study from Georgetown University Medical School suggests that Transcendental Meditation (TM) can reduce some of the symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The study found that Transcendental Medication produces reductions in stress and depression, with improvement in overall quality of life. The results were concluded after the participants engaged in three months of twice a day TM practice. The results were corroborated by a similar study conducted at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. The researchers believe that TM may be helpful with those suffering from PTSD because it produced long-term changes in the sympathetic nervous systemic activity. TM can quiet down the nervous system slowing down the fight-or-flight response. It results in a lowered blood pressure, and decreased reactivity to stress.
My Thoughts on The Study
My thoughts are that while this study is good news, Transcendental Meditation should be used to treat PTSD suffers only in conjunction with psychotherapy. First, both studies involved only very small population samples, and not enough research has been done. Second, while TM can calm the nervous system, the issues that cause the PTSD still remain if they are not processed, and the symptoms will continue to leak out if not addressed. PTSD, in my opinion, is best treated by psychodynamic psychotherapy with supportive couples counseling when needed. That being said, given this new study and my experience with meditation in general, I would encourage my patients with PTSD to begin a meditation practice.
If you are suffering from PTSD and are interested in psychotherapy, counseling, or couples counseling, please contact me at (949) 251-8797.