Meditation is among the complementary health care practices, like massage, shown to have several benefits; and many massage therapists use meditation as a self-care or spiritual practice.

New research shows medical costs decreased 28 percent among high-spending health care consumers after five years of transcendental meditation practice.

The study shows people with consistently high health care costs experienced a 28-percent cumulative decrease in physician fees after an average of five years practicing the stress-reducing transcendental meditation technique compared with their baseline.

“In most populations, a small fraction of people account for the majority of health care costs,” a press release noted. “In the U.S., the highest-spending 10 percent in the general population incurred 60 to 70 percent of total medical expenditures annually.”

Chronic stress is the number-one factor contributing to high medical expenses, the press release added.

This new study compared the changes in physician costs for 284 consistent high-cost participants—142 transcendental meditation practitioners with 142 nonpractitioners, over five years in Quebec, Canada. In the year before the intervention began, there were no significant differences between the groups in payments to physicians.

After the first year, the transcendental meditation group decreased 11 percent, and after five years, their cumulative reduction was 28 percent.

Other recent studies indicate meditation can be used as a practical health care tool that boosts immune function, improves mood, lessens pain, aids memory and effects relaxation.

“Changes in physician costs among high-cost transcendental meditation practitioners compared with high-cost nonpractitioners over 5 years” was published in the September/October 2011 issue of the

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