Last updated on April 20, 2014 at 8:28 EDT

Transcendental Meditation® Technique Reduces Post Traumatic Stress in African War Refugees

June 25, 2013

New study finds 30 days of TM® practice brings dramatic drop in PTS among Congolese war refugees

NEW YORK, June 25, 2013 /PRNewswire-iReach/ — Refugees from the most brutal war in modern African history are finding dramatic relief from posttraumatic stress (PTS) through the Transcendental Meditation program, according to new research published in the Journal of Traumatic Stress (Volume 26, Issue 2, pp. 295-298). The randomized/matched study found that Congolese African war refugees who had severe PTS symptoms dropped to non-symptomatic levels after 30 days of TM practice–moreover, they remained low at 135 days.

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“We anticipated improvement, but I didn’t expect this magnitude of change,” said lead author Colonel Brian Rees, MD, MPH. “The continued improvement at four months also led us to conclude that TM may be a very worthwhile intervention for anyone suffering from posttraumatic stress.”

In the study, forty-two refugees living in Kampala, Uganda were assigned to learn the TM technique right away, or wait until after the study had concluded. Participants were matched on age, gender, and severity of their posttraumatic stress symptoms–such as hyper-vigilance, insomnia, distrust of others, memory problems, difficulty making decisions and following through–at baseline. For those who learned the TM technique, the state of restful alertness gained during TM practice appears to have reversed the damage done by traumatic experiences.

“I was at the end of my rope and my head was not working properly,” says Pemba, a Sudanese refugee whose husband was murdered by soldiers the same night she was gang-raped and lost several children. “Then I started this meditation technique. When I lost everything it was so hard. I couldn’t stand living. I wasn’t able to endure my life. I didn’t have it in me. It’s meditation that rescued me. That is why I am so happy about TM. It has saved me.”

The deadliest war in modern African history, the Second Congo War has killed 5.4 million people through violence, disease, and starvation. Despite a formal end to the war in July 2003, hostilities have continued since then in the ongoing Lord’s Resistance Army insurgency and other conflicts.

The recent Uganda study shows hope for refugees of great trauma, and lends further credence to previous, similarly themed research. In a study of 18 Vietnam veterans, TM practice was found more effective than psychotherapy in reducing anxiety, depression, insomnia, alcohol abuse, posttraumatic stress symptoms, and stress reactivity. In research on five Iraqi/Afghanistan veterans, three-month practice of the TM technique was reported to decrease anxiety, depression, and posttraumatic stress symptoms.

About the Transcendental Meditation technique

The TM technique is a simple, natural, effortless procedure practiced 20 minutes twice each day while sitting comfortably with the eyes closed. Extensive peer-reviewed research studies have found that TM reduces stress and anxiety, improves learning ability, and promotes wellness for mind and body.

The TM technique is available in the USA through Maharishi Foundation USA, a federally recognized non-profit educational organization. Through partnerships with other non-profit organizations and foundations, full TM scholarships have been given to more than 250,000 at-risk children, veterans suffering from PTSD, homeless people, and others.

To view this video on YouTube, please visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sUaqasFKuTo

Media Contact: Christian Hoffmann, Maharishi Foundation USA, 360-447-8108, christianh@tm.org

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SOURCE Maharishi Foundation USA

Source: PR Newswire