After four months of practising TM, the women inmates in the meditation group had significant reductions in total trauma symptoms.
by Maharishi University of Management, Fairfield, Iowa, USA, The Review
31 January 2017
Following a study last fall on reduced stress in male inmates, a new randomized controlled study published in The Permanente Journal has found that the Transcendental Meditation technique significantly reduces trauma symptoms in female prison inmates.
Led by Sanford Nidich, director of Maharishi University of Management's Center for Social and Emotional Health, the study was conducted at the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility in Wilsonville, Oregon. It's the first study focused specifically on female inmates with high levels of trauma symptoms.
According to Dr. Nidich, women have become the fastest growing population in U.S. prisons, nearly double the rate of increasing male incarcerations.
Along with the increasing confinement of female offenders, researchers have found that women carry the burden of proportionally higher amounts of traumatic experiences, with higher rates of mental/emotional trauma and sexual abuse than men.
High levels of trauma contribute to poor lifestyle choices, psychological and physical chronic diseases, and increased risk for returning to prison, Dr. Nidich said. Further research has shown an association between traumatic stress exposure and various forms of cancer in a predominantly female population.
The results showed that after four months of practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique, the women inmates in the meditation group had significant reductions in total trauma symptoms, including intrusive thoughts and hyperarousal compared with controls.
"This study is a valuable addition to the research literature in women's mental health, showing a natural and effortless alternative approach to reducing trauma symptoms," Dr. Nidich said. "Previous studies on the Transcendental Meditation technique have shown reduced trauma in other populations, including veterans and African refugees."
Participants said they felt less stressed and a greater sense of inner freedom.
"I feel so open and have gained such a deep sense of surrender to my life and the feelings surrounding my incarceration," one subject said. "I no longer feel imprisoned. I now feel my freedom from the inside of me."
Coauthors of the study included Angela Seng, Blaze Compton, John Salerno, and Randi Nidich of Maharishi University of Management and Tom O'Connor of Western Oregon University.
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