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Transcendental Meditation brings rapid relief for African war refugees' posttraumatic stress
by Krista Noble

New Age Journal    Translate This Article
26 September 2014

Part III of Krista Noble's recent article on the African PTSD Relief project considers two scientific research studies showing positive effects of Transcendental Meditation in Congolese refugees suffering from severe posttraumatic stress (PTS).

Please see Parts I and II of this article:
The healing power of meditation
African refugee describes healing power of Transcendental Meditation: 'I'm free - I'm a free woman'

Scientific verification

Was Sudanese refugee Esperance Ndozi's response to Transcendental Meditation typical, or was it an anomaly? Two recent studies involving Congolese refugees shed light on the issue.

According to Refugees International, ''For more than two decades, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has struggled with ongoing conflict in its eastern provinces. Today, an estimated 2.6 million Congolese are internally displaced, and more than 460,000 have fled their homes into neighboring countries'' (2013).

African PTSD Relief decided to sponsor an experiment. The foundation taught Transcendental Meditation to 21 Congolese refugees, with 21 others serving as a control group. All of the refugees suffered from high levels of PTS (Rees, 2013, p. 295-298).

Scientists wondered if the impoverished circumstances of the refugees would inhibit their TM practice.

''They did not have a home,'' says Dr. Fred Travis, neuroscientist and Director of the Center for Brain, Consciousness, and Cognition at Maharishi University of Management. ''They did not have a job. They probably didn't have a chair to sit in.''

The first study took place over a period of 135 days. Within 30 days of practicing TM, ninety percent of the participants had reached ''non-symptomatic levels'' of PTS. These levels remained low for the rest of the study. By contrast, the non-meditating control group did not show any reduction in symptoms (Rees, 2013, p. 295-298).

The second study produced even swifter results. Within the first 10 days of practicing TM, the participants enjoyed a significant decrease in their PTS symptoms. Once again, after 30 days, these symptoms were virtually gone. TM did not cause any adverse effects in either study (Rees, 2014, p. 112-115).

Colonel Brian Rees, a medical doctor with a Master's degree in Public Health, was impressed by the outcome of the two studies.

''We anticipated improvement, but I didn't expect this magnitude of change,'' says Rees, the lead author of the studies (LeBano, 2013). ''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.'

Although preliminary, the two studies have yielded highly significant results. African PTSD Relief predicts even greater health benefits with sustained TM practice.


Global Good News will feature the conclusion of Krista Noble's article in New Age Journal about the African PTSD Relief project and research.


LeBano, Lauren. (2013). Transcendental Meditation Reduces Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress. Psych Congress Network. Retrieved from

Rees, Brian, et al. (2013). Reduction in Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms in Congolese Refugees Practicing Transcendental Meditation. Journal of Traumatic Stress 26: 295-298.

Rees, Brian, et al. (2014). Significant Reductions in Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms in Congolese Refugees Within 10 Days of Transcendental Meditation Practice. Journal of Traumatic Stress 27: 112-115.

Refugees International. (2013). Overview. DR Congo. Retrieved from

Source: Reprinted with permission.

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