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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 350674, 9 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/350674
Research Article

Quality of Life and Functional Health Status of Long-Term Meditators

1Discipline of Psychiatry, Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Royal North Shore Hospital, St. Leonards, NSW 2065, Australia
2Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Sydney, Cumberland Campus, Lidcombe, NSW 2141, Australia

Received 9 October 2011; Revised 15 January 2012; Accepted 15 January 2012

Academic Editor: Guillermo Schmeda-Hirschmann

Copyright © 2012 Ramesh Manocha et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Background. There is very little data describing the long-term health impacts of meditation. Aim. To compare the quality of life and functional health of long-term meditators to that of the normative population in Australia. Method. Using the SF-36 questionnaire and a Meditation Lifestyle Survey, we sampled 343 long-term Australian Sahaja Yoga meditation practitioners and compared their scores to those of the normative Australian population. Results. Six SF-36 subscales (bodily pain, general health, mental health, role limitation—emotional, social functioning, and vitality) were significantly better in meditators compared to the national norms whereas two of the subscales (role limitation—physical, physical functioning) were not significantly different. A substantial correlation between frequency of mental silence experience and the vitality, general health, and especially mental health subscales ( 𝑃 < 0 . 0 0 5 ) was found. Conclusion. Long-term practitioners of Sahaja yoga meditation experience better functional health, especially mental health, compared to the general population. A relationship between functional health, especially mental health, and the frequency of meditative experience (mental silence) exists that may be causal. Evidence for the potential role of this definition of meditation in enhancing quality of life, functional health and wellbeing is growing. Implications for primary mental health prevention are discussed.