What is it?
Manta meditation is a practice used to free the mind of cluttering thoughts. It involves the repetition of a sound, word, or phrase to attain a meditative state. A meditative state is a relaxed or effortless mental and physical state. One popular form of mantra meditation is transcendental meditation.
Mantra meditation is used for sleep problems, pain, stress, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.
Possibly Effective for …
- Anxiety. Overall, transcendental meditation, a type of mantra meditation, seems to help reduce anxiety. Transcendental meditation seems to be better than progressive relaxation and biofeedback for reducing anxiety.
- High blood pressure. Transcendental meditation, a type of mantra meditation, seems to modestly reduce blood pressure. People with high blood pressure seem to experience the most benefit.
Insufficient Evidence to Make a Determination for …
- Ability to pay attention. Practicing transcendental meditation, a type of mantra meditation, seems to improve attention.
- Chest pain (angina). Early research shows that practicing transcendental meditation, a type of mantra meditation, modestly improves the ability to exercise and decreases chest pain in women with a specific type of chest pain, called cardiac syndrome X.
- Heart disease. Practicing transcendental meditation, a type of mantra meditation, might improve the ability to exercise in people with heart disease.
- Memory and thinking skills (cognitive function). Early research shows that practicing transcendental meditation, a type of mantra meditation, seems to improve learning and language fluency in elderly people.
- Heart failure and fluid build up in the body (congestive heart failure or CHF). Early research shows that practicing transcendental meditation, a type of mantra meditation, seems to be better than health education for improving exercise ability and quality of life in people with heart failure. It also seems to reduce hospital admissions in these people.
- Headache. Early research suggests that practicing a specific type of mantra meditation called transcendental meditation reduces headache frequency in children. But transcendental meditation seems to be no better than hypnotherapy or progressive muscle relaxation.
- HIV/AIDS. Early research shows that practicing Metta meditation, a type of mantra meditation, along with receiving massages, improves function and well-being in people with late-stage AIDS.
- Migraine. Chanting a spiritual mantra might reduce the frequency of migraine headaches in some people with migraines.
- Neck pain. Compared to exercise, practicing Jyoti mantra meditation seems to reduce pain in people with long-term neck pain.
- A type of anxiety that often develops after a terrifying event (post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD). Early research shows that participating in a mantra meditation program does not seem to improve symptoms in veterans with PTSD when compared to usual care alone. But other early research suggests that participating in a specific type of mantra meditation called transcendental meditation might help reduce symptoms.
- Feelings of well-being. Practicing mantra meditation seems to improve feelings of self-efficacy, stress, and well-being in impoverished women.
- Quitting smoking. Early research shows that practicing transcendental meditation, a type of mantra meditation, seems to decrease smoking in college students trying to quit. It seems to work about as well as support group therapy in these students.
- Stress. Practicing mantra meditation such as transcendental meditation seems to reduce stress and negative mood. However, not all research agrees.
- Tension headache.
- Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of mantra meditation for these uses.
Through meditation, the brain is thought to switch from resting brain waves (called alpha waves) to relaxing brain waves (called theta waves). This switch is thought to increase the release of pain-killing chemicals called endorphins, slow breathing and heart rate, decrease blood pressure, and decrease metabolism.
Some researchers suggest that stress and fatigue contribute to many diseases. Therefore, it is thought that meditation, by reducing stress and fatigue, might be helpful for treating and preventing a variety of conditions.
Special Precautions & Warnings:
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn’t enough information to know how practicing mantra meditation might affect pregnancy and breast-feeding, but so far there is no reason to expect it would do any harm.
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