Can meditation help with PTSD?

The scientific evidence suggests that yes, it absolutely can. The Transcendental Meditation technique, in particular, provides a special quality of rest - for mind as well as body - that helps naturally reverse the impact of traumatic stress and reduce the symptoms - such as flashbacks, emotional numbing, inability to enjoy things, insomnia, and self-medicating with alcohol or drugs.

In a 2021 study published in the Journal of Traumatic Stress, half of the participants "no longer met the criteria for having PTSD after engaging in TM for 3 months, compared with just 10% of those receiving standard trauma-based therapy”.¹

Reversing the trauma

How does the Transcendental Meditation technique create a state that is the opposite of trauma, and thereby reverse PTSD? When someone practices the TM technique, the mind settles down and becomes calm, the

, and the body reaches a state of deep rest, allowing it to relieve deep-rooted stresses and strain. 

Several scientific studies demonstrate the effects of the TM technique on patients with PTSD. One study found that the Transcendental Meditation technique is twice as effective as other self-help programs in reducing stress.² Other studies have found that TM is twice as effective as conventional approaches for reducing alcoholism and substance abuse.³

As NIH senior research fellow and Chief Medical Correspondent for Discovery Health TV, Pamela Peeke, M.D., notes, “The research on Transcendental Meditation is excellent. There is a strong connection between TM and reductions in everything from depression and PTSD symptoms to high blood pressure and heart mortality.”

This practice is fantastic...My PTSD symptoms are subsiding and I feel like I’m able to live and appreciate living in the moment...I think everyone should practice TM! Stefani, USA, July 2023

Research on TM for PTSD

Over 380 original studies on the TM technique have been published by independent peer-reviewed journals or scientific publications, including:

  • Twice as effective as other techniques in reducing trait anxiety Journal of Clinical Psychology 45(6):957-74, 1989
  • 40-55% reduction in symptoms of PTSD and depression Military Medicine 176 (6): 626-630, 2011
  • 42% decrease in insomnia Journal of Counseling and Development 64: 212-215, 1985
  • Decreased high blood pressure–on par with first-line antihypertensives American Journal of Hypertension 21: 310–316, 2008
  • 30% improved quality of life Military Medicine 176 (6): 626-630, 2011
  • Greater resistance to stress Psychosomatic Medicine 35: 341–349, 1973
  • Twice the effectiveness of conventional approaches for reducing alcoholism and substance abuse Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly 11: 13-87, 1994

Military Medicine

This study published in Military Medicine, showed a significant reduction in psychological distress in subjects practicing TM. The researchers concluded that "the findings suggest that TM practice decreases psychotropic medication dosages and improves

scores compared with matched controls."

Transcending PTSD: Increasing resiliency with Transcendental Meditation

Hear from veterans as they increase their resilience and heal from traumatic stress through TM practice, or “training from the inside out”

A recent research paper from the University of California Riverside in 2018 stated: “It was concluded that TM did greatly reduce symptoms of PTSD patients. Compared to the control group who used the regular PTSD therapies, the experimental group that practiced TM had clinically significant results. Unlike the other therapies, TM is able to reduce the “fight-or-flight” response seen in PTSD patients, as well as heal the

. TM is easier to practice compared to most PTSD therapies and is more effective, making this technique preferable among PTSD patients.”⁴

Excellent course and working well to help with my PTSD. No nightmares since I began October 1st! Thank you Lisa, October 2022

"No other 'stress management technique' has anywhere close to this amount of hard data in support of its claims to reduce stress." 

Dr. Norman Rosenthal, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Georgetown University Medical School

The highly reputable journal, The Lancet Psychiatry, also stated that TM represents an effective alternative to traditional exposure-based treatments of PTSD, which can be uncomfortable for participants it often sees a high drop-out rate, and must always be administered by a professional.

Dr. Norman Rosenthal, a world-renowned psychiatrist who pioneered treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder, and Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Georgetown University Medical School, said of the Transcendental Meditation technique: "No other 'stress management technique' has anywhere close to this amount of hard data in support of its claims to reduce stress." 

As reduction of stress and increased resilience to stressors are critical components in the treatment of PTSD,

is a valuable tool for anyone dealing with trauma.

Transcending PTSD: Transcendental Meditation saves a veteran from suicide

"When I came back from Afghanistan, I was angry, depressed, and suicidal. Transcendental Meditation has lifted my depression, eased my pain, and given me my life back." - Luke Jensen, veteran

Refugee finds relief from trauma through TM

Esperance Ndozi: See the transformation as Esperance learns Transcendental Meditation, finds relief from serious trauma as a refugee and assault victim, sleeps well, and replaces tears with smiles.

Find an instructor

There are 170+ TM Centers in the U.S. where you can learn to meditate, and discover a deep inner peace.

Scientifically reviewed by David Orme-Johnson, PhD Written by Carlos Cervantes, May 16 2024 References:

  1. Bellehsen M, Stoycheva V, Cohen BH, Nidich S. Journal of Traumatic Stress 2022 Feb;35(1):22-31
  2. Elder C, Nidich S, Moriarty F, Nidich R. Effect of Transcendental Meditation on Employee Stress, Depression, and Burnout: A Randomized Controlled Study. Permanente Journal 2014 Winter; 18(1): 19–23.
  3. Gryczynski J, Schwartz RP, Fishman MJ, Nordeck CD, Grant J et al. Integration of Transcendental Meditation (TM) into alcohol use disorder (AUD) treatment. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 2018 Apr:87:23-30
  4. Dhami S. To what extent does Transcendental Meditation (TM) relieve symptoms in patients with PTSD? University of California Riverside, 2018.