Transcendental Meditation for Depression and Anxiety
Is TM right for You?
Transcendental meditation has been used in therapy offices for depression and anxiety for over 35 years. This adjunct therapy has its roots in the Vedic tradition of India and is based on ancient yogic wisdom. The practice became popular in the therapist’s office in the 1970s and is still found in the therapeutic setting today. It was brought to the masses by a movement that began with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi who founded the TM (Transcendental Meditation) program and publically taught traditional TM techniques of Deep Meditation in the mid 1950s.
Research has been ongoing since the 1960 with varying results, however there is some new research suggesting that TM may be an effective adjunct treatment for depression and anxiety, including two newer studies presented at the 31st annual meeting of the Society of Behavioral medicine in Seattle, Washington from 2010 that the Transcendental Meditation technique is an effective approach to reducing the symptoms of depression. [i] Another more recent meta analyses was conducted 2013 suggesting that transcendental analysis is effective in reducing anxiety as well[ii]
The gist of the practice involves using mantras and sound. Individuals will repeat a mantra with closed eyes until his or her mind is quiet usually beginning with a recommendation to do this for about 15-20 minute twice per day. TM, or transcendental mediation carries with it a very deep and expansive philosophy that includes explanations of consciousness and metaphysical principles, with the idea that by working with these, an individual can change his or her own level of consciousness and may even be able to influence the collective conscious. One could hypothesis that if one can change his or her own consciousness, that in and of itself would have an effect on emotion, mind, and mood. With that said, there are numerous course that an individual can take if they become a serious student of the practice. The practice is taught by a teacher who is certified as a TM instructor, who has completed a series of courses that qualify him or her to teach. There are many therapists who have this certification, and if you are interested in incorporating Transcendental Meditation into your wellness or recovery program, you can search for one who is specifically trained to teach the technique. An alternative to that approach is to work with a therapist who you have good rapport while taking Transcendental Meditation classes outside of therapy while sharing your experiences with your therapist. Most therapists do have a good understanding of what TM is even if they do not practice it or teach it themselves, and would most likely support your effort.
To review the latest research you can view an informative summary of research at the Transcendental Meditation Website, tm.org: http://www.tm.org/research-on-meditation
[i] TM Blog: New Studies Show Reduced Depression With Transcendental Meditation, Mario Orsatti, 8/3/2010
[ii] TM Blog: New Research on TM and Anxiety, Mario Orsatti 10/11/2013
Retrieved 5/2/2015: http://www.tm.org/blog/research/new-research-on-tm-and-anxiety/
Bachmeier, D. (2015). Transcendental Meditation for Depression and Anxiety. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 19, 2018, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/bipolar-update/2015/05/transcendental-meditation-for-depression-and-anxiety/