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Study on Transcendental Meditation and PTSD in African war refugees designed to be simple yet rigorous
by Global Good News staff writer

Global Good News    Translate This Article
27 April 2013

David Shapiro, founding director and president of African PTSD Relief, explained the impetus for the programme and how the initial research started.

The project started when Mr Shapiro realized that Transcendental Meditation (TM) could help the millions of Africans who have been victims of violence and war and are suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In order to quantify the results of the project, a trial study was conducted with the cooperation of a group of Congolese refugees to see if their PTSD symptoms improved.

The first step in conducting the research, Mr Shapiro said, was to bring together a team of scientists who were familiar with PTSD and could help with study design and statistics.

Colonel Brian Rees, MD, MPH, Medical Corps, US Army Reserve, was quickly recommended 'for his experience as an army colonel who had been on tour a number of times in Iraq and Afghanistan, and who was also a medical doctor and had ample experience seeing and treating PTSD,' said Mr Shapiro. 'It turned out that [Colonel Rees] had also researched the literature and given advice to the military on possible techniques to reduce PTSD.'

Dr Fred Travis, a neuroscientist with years of experience designing rigorous scientific studies, also joined the team.

Due to the conditions at the refugee camp in Uganda where the study would be conducted, Colonel Rees suggested keeping the study simple and straightforward. They would do one simple test, the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Checklist for Civilians (PCLC).

Mr Shapiro explained that the PCLC is a written self-test done by the subjects 'that correlates very highly with the doctors' diagnosis and also measures the levels of the symptoms of PTSD'.

The tests were translated into French, Swahili, and Lingala, three of the main languages spoken in the Congo. In addition, the Transcendental Meditation teachers participating in the study translated consistently throughout the study so all the participants could understand what was said.

Mr Shapiro explained that there were two groups in the study. 'One was the TM group, who learned Transcendental Meditation. The other was a non-TM control group on a waitlist to learn TM.'

Please see related article: Africa: Transcendental Meditation helps Congolese refugees with PTSD become asymptomatic, in which Dr Travis elaborates on the study's dramatic findings.

Other articles on this topic:
Transcendental Meditation significantly reduces posttraumatic stress in African refugees
Africa: Transcendental Meditation helps treat war victims suffering from PTSD

For more information about the African PTSD Relief Project:, which includes short videos of African refugees describing the great relief from severe PTSD symptoms they have found through practising Transcendental Meditation.

Transcendental Meditation programme in

Also see: Institute for Excellence in Africa

Copyright © 2013 Global Good News Service

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