For my systematic analysis of meditation studies, because of the relatively small number of studies available for analysis, the many different meditation techniques were grouped into 5 thematically related categories. These were:

  1. Relaxation Response and studies describing the intervention as based on it.
  2. The MBSR and studies describing the intervention as based on it.
  3. TM and studies describing the intervention as based on it.
  4. Multimodal interventions of which meditation is one part, such as yoga, lifestyle strategies etc.
  5. Miscellaneous, where only a few studies had been conducted on a particular technique and/or when a technique did not easily fall into one of the previous categories.

Dr Ramesh Manocha

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Shapiro (1992) observed the effects of vipassana meditation on a small group of meditators and found that while most participants experienced positive results, a small number of meditators experienced distinctly negative states.

Glueck (1984) studied 110 participants and reported that the practice of transcendental meditation (TM) appeared to release repressed subconscious impressions. A small proportion of participants reacted adversely to this experience. Heide (1983, 1984) found that 54% of anxiety prone participants demonstrated increased anxiety during mantra meditation modelled on TM. Otis (1974) observed a cohort of 62 novices who tried TM and concluded that it was not suitable for those with serious emotional problems.

Read more about the research into the adverse effects of meditation here.

Ramesh Manocha.

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Lazarus (1976, 1984) described several cases in which psychiatric problems such as depression, agitation and schizophrenic de-compensation were observed. These included a 34 year old woman who became suicidal and a 24 year old woman who experienced severe de-personalisation, apparently as a result of transcendental meditation (TM). He also suggested that participants who failed to experience the benefits of meditation might experience a sense of failure and anxiety rather than the enhanced self-understanding that they perhaps were looking for.

Ramesh Manocha.

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A study commissioned by the German government (1980) to assess the effects of TM on youth created controversy when it reported that the majority of participants observed during the trial experienced psychological problems, worsening concentration and variety of physical complaints. Publication of the study was unsuccessfully contested by the TM organization in the German courts.

More information on the adverse effects of meditation can be read at Dr Ramesh Manocha’s blog.


A study commissioned by the German
government to assess the effects of TM on youth created controversy when it
reported that the majority of participants observed during the trial experienced
psychological problems, worsening concentration and variety of physical
complaints
557. Publication of the study was unsuccessfully contested by the TM
organization in the German courts.

none

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