Meditation this week won the scientific stamp of approval from a federal panel as a means of reducing the severity of chronic and acute pain. The influential committee also concluded the practice of mindfulness has demonstrated effectiveness in reducing stress and anxiety, but it found the scientific evidence for that claim weaker and more inconsistent.
As a therapy to promote positive feelings, induce weight loss and improve attention and sleep, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality was less impressed with meditation. The group concluded there is currently an insufficient body of scientific evidence to conclude meditation is effective in achieving those outcomes.
Those findings are included in a draft report issued this week by the agency, an office within the Department of Health and Human Services Department that assesses research evidence on the safety and effectiveness of medical treatments. The draft is up for comment until Jan. 2.