Washington: About 30 minutes of meditation daily could help improve symptoms of anxiety and depression, a new analysis of previously published research has suggested.
Madhav Goyal, MD, MPH, an assistant professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said that in their study, meditation appeared to provide as much relief from some anxiety and depression symptoms as what other studies have found from antidepressants.
The researchers evaluated the degree to which those symptoms changed in people who had a variety of medical conditions, like insomnia or fibromyalgia, although only a minority had been diagnosed with a mental illness.
Goyal and his colleagues found that so-called "mindfulness meditation" - a form of Buddhist self-awareness designed to focus precise, nonjudgmental attention to the moment at hand - also showed promise in alleviating some pain symptoms as well as stress.
To conduct their review, the investigators focused on 47 clinical trials performed through June 2013 among 3,515 participants that involved meditation and various mental and physical health issues, including depression, anxiety, stress, insomnia, substance use, diabetes, heart disease, cancer and chronic pain.
They found moderate evidence of improvement in symptoms of anxiety, depression and pain after participants underwent what was typically an eight-week training program in mindfulness meditation.
The study has been published online in JAMA Internal Medicine .