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Study finds significant reduction in post-traumatic stress disorder among African war refugees using Transcendental Meditation

David Lynch Foundation    Translate This Article
15 February 2014

NEW YORK, FEB 10, 2014—African war refugees who practiced Transcendental MeditationTM had significant reductions in post-traumatic stress symptoms within 10 days, according to a new study published in the Journal of Traumatic Stress (February, 2014, Volume 27/pp. 112-115). After 30 days, subjects were virtually free of PTSD symptoms. These findings corroborated an earlier study published in the same journal in April 2013 (Volume 26, Issue 2/ pp. 295-298) that showed PTSD symptoms among African refugees went from ''severe'' to ''non-symptomatic levels'' after 30 days of Transcendental Meditation and remained low at 135 days.

Photo: Transcendental Meditation Significantly Reduces PTSD in African Refugees Within 10 Days. See the chart:

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.'' For years, these refugees have been exposed to combat and violence, and many witnessed terrible violence against loved ones—resulting in extremely high levels of PTSD. They commonly suffered from mental flashbacks, bouts of anger, overwhelming despair, and often, the inability to care for themselves and their families. The study participants were taken from this highly traumatized group.

In 2011, the David Lynch Foundation and African PTSD Relief co-sponsored an initiative to make the Transcendental Meditation program available to initially 10,000 Africans suffering from PTSD.

In the past, TM has been used successfully to treat PTSD:

∙ An early study, published in the Journal of Counseling and Development (1985; 64, 212-15), showed significant reduction of PTSD symptoms among Vietnam War veterans practicing TM over 3 months, in contrast to no significant improvements for a group receiving psychotherapy for the same period.

∙ In 2011, Military Medicine (176, 626-630) published a pilot study showing the effectiveness of TM in reducing PTSD in veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Subjects showed a 50 percent reduction in PTSD symptoms after 8 weeks of Transcendental Meditation.

∙ In January 2013, the U.S. Veterans Administration announced a $2.4 million TM - PTSD relief study to counter PTSD among American military veterans.  

Colonel Brian Rees, MD, primary author of the Congo study, with 5 tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq explained, ''The TM technique provides the mind and body with a unique state of 'restful alertness,' which reduces deeply-rooted stress and improves brain function.'' TM is practiced sitting comfortably with the eyes closed for 20 minutes twice daily.

Contact: Joe Boxerman 
Phone: +1 641-451-5000

Colonel Brian Rees, MD, primary author of the study
Russell Simmons, a strong supporter of the African PTSD Relief program
David Lynch, Hollywood director and founder of the David Lynch Foundation

Watch a 3-minute video: on how TM helped Sudanese refugee Esperanza heal her hidden wounds of war. ''Now, I feel like it happened to another woman—not to me. I am a free woman.''

David Lynch Foundation, Africa.

YouTube Video:

Twitter: AfricaPTSRelief

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Copyright © 2014 David Lynch Foundation

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