For many, chronic stress is the top factor contributing to high medical expenses. Researchers believed by reducing stress reduction, healthcare costs may also decrease, and according to a recent study published in the September/October 2011 issue of the American Journal of Health Promotion, this may be correct.
The study showed 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 (TM) technique, compared with their baseline, reported Psychcentral.com.
This new study, done over five years in Quebec, Canada, compared the changes in physician costs for 284 consistent high-cost participants. A total of 142 practiced Transcendental Meditation and 142 were non-practitioners, Psychcentral.com reported.
The non-TM subjects were randomly selected from Quebec health insurance enrollees with the same age, sex, and region to match the TM participant profiles, and the TM participants had began the technique one year prior to choosing to enter the study, the report stated.
After the first year, the TM group health care costs decreased 11 percent, and after 5 years, their cumulative reduction was 28 percent.
Additionally, in a previous Canadian study, the TM group exhibited reduced medical expenses between 5 percent and 13 percent relative to comparison subjects each year for 6 consecutive years, and in a Canadian study of senior citizens, the TM group’s five-year cumulative reduction for people aged 65 years and older relative to comparison subjects was 70 percent, the report stated.
The same has been found in the United States, with an 11-year, cross-sectional study in Iowa showing that subjects age 45 and over who practiced the TM technique had 88 percent fewer hospital days compared with controls, and their medical expenditures were 60 percent below the norm, according to Psychcentral.com.