Meditation helps with general depression

Meditation can help with depression

Finding your inner center - and staying healthy: According to a new study, meditation can alleviate symptoms such as anxiety, depression and pain.

"Many people believe that meditating means just sitting there and doing nothing. But that's not true. Meditation is active training of the mind," says Dr. Madhav Goyal from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore (USA). Goyal and his team evaluated 47 studies with a total of more than 3500 participants. The scientists looked for answers to the question of whether meditation can relieve symptoms such as anxiety disorders, depression, but also lower back pain. All studies had control groups in which study participants were taught knowledge about diet or exercise.

Result: Meditation helps to a moderate degree against ailments such as depression, anxiety and physical pain. It could not be proven that meditating patients are in a better mood. In addition, walking in itself does not seem to have any effects on sleep or the abuse of substances (alcohol, drugs, etc.) and is not superior to other therapy methods.

"Mindfulness Meditation"

Study director Goyal and his team attribute positive effects above all to the so-called "Mindfulness Meditation". The meditator absorbs stimuli from his environment and lets his thoughts flow. In contrast, in mantra meditation, the focus is on a word or phrase.


According to the research, meditation achieved particularly good results in depression. Positive effects could also be demonstrated in the treatment of anxiety. In addition, meditation seems to have a pain relieving effect. According to Goyal, it could not be determined against which kind of pain the relaxation technique is most useful.

Strengthening the mind

Health professionals should educate their patients about the benefits of meditation, says Goyal. In addition, further research on the topic is necessary.

Because: Meditation in itself is not able to cure an illness, according to Goyal: "Rather, it is a way to increase our attention and to get an insight into our life." This insight is why we should meditate. Goyal: "Improving health is a side effect and should be seen as such."

Stay informed with the newsletter from

Philip Pfleger
Editorial editing:
Dr. med. Stefanie Sperlich

Updated on:

Goyal M, Singh S, Sibinga ES, et al. Meditation Programs for Psychological Stress and Well-being: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA Intern Med. 2014; () :. doi: 10.1001 / jamainternmed.2013.13018.

More articles on the topic

Override: phytotherapy

Plant medicine is probably the oldest therapeutic method of all, and is still one of the most common healing methods in the world today.

Override: Shiatsu

Shiatsu developed from traditional Chinese medicine as an independent massage technique in Japan in the course of the 19th century.

Override: methods of TCM

In this healing method, which is now increasingly used in the western world, the focus is on yin and yang as well as the five elements.