Washington D.C. [USA], Jan. 26 : Meditation always helps! A study reveals that mindfulness meditation significantly reduced stress-hormone and inflammatory responses to a stressful situation.
Researchers from Georgetown University Medical Center found that anxiety disorder patients had sharply reduced stress-hormone and inflammatory responses to a stressful situation after taking a mindfulness meditation course.
"Mindfulness meditation training is a relatively inexpensive and low-stigma treatment approach, and these findings strengthen the case that it can improve resilience to stress," said lead author Elizabeth A.
Hoge. The study, published in journal of Psychiatry Research, included 89 patients with generalised anxiety disorder, a condition of chronic and excessive worrying.
They randomly divided the participants into two groups- One took an eight-week mindfulness based stress reduction course and the other control group took an eight-week stress management education course.
Both courses had similar formats but only the former included training in meditative techniques. For the stress test, the team monitored blood-based markers of subjects' stress responses, namely levels of the stress hormone ACTH and the inflammatory proteins IL-6 and TNF-a.
A standard experimental technique for inducing a stress response in which the participants are asked at short notice to give a speech before an audience and are given other anxiety-inducing instructions.
"We were testing the patients' resilience because that's really the ultimate question--can we make people handle stress better," Hoge stated.
The findings indicate that control group showed modest rises on the second test compared to the first, suggesting a worsening of their anxiety from having to endure the test again.
By contrast, the meditation group showed big drops in these markers on the second test, suggesting that the meditation training had helped them cope.
They also found that the meditation group patients, compared to controls, experienced significantly greater reductions in self-reported measures of stress after their course.