Improving the mental health and well-being of healthcare providers using the transcendental meditation technique during the COVID-19 pandemic: A parallel population study

Author: Mark S Nestor1,2, Alec Lawson1, Daniel Fischer1
Affiliation: <sup>1</sup> Center for Clinical and Cosmetic Research, Aventura, Florida, United States of America. <sup>2</sup> Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery, Department of Surgery, Division of Plastic Surgery, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, Florida, United States of America.
Conference/Journal: PLoS One
Date published: 2023 Mar 3
Other: Volume ID: 18 , Issue ID: 3 , Pages: e0265046 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0265046. , Word Count: 283

Frontline Healthcare provider (HCP) burnout has dramatically increased due to the COVID 19 pandemic. Hospitals are supporting wellness programs and techniques to reduce burnout including the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique. This study evaluated the use of TM on HCP symptoms of stress, burnout and wellness.

A total of 65 HCPs at three South Florida hospitals were recruited and instructed in the TM technique which they practiced at home for 20 minutes twice a day. A parallel lifestyle as usual control group was enrolled. Validated measurement scales (Brief Symptom Inventory 18 (BSI-18), Insomnia Severity Index (ISI), Maslach Burnout Inventory-Human Services Survey [MBI-HSS (MP)] and the Warwick Edinburgh Mental Well Being Scale (WEMWBS) were administered at baseline, 2 weeks, one and three months.

No significant demographic differences were seen between the 2 groups; however, some baseline scales were higher in the TM group. TM average weekly session completion rate was very high at 83%. After 2-weeks, symptoms of somatization, depression, and anxiety in the TM group had all shown near 45% reductions, while insomnia, emotional exhaustion, and well-being had improved by 33%, 16%, and 11% respectively (P = 0.02 for somatization and < .001 for all others); no significant change was noted in the LAU group. At 3-months, in the TM group, the improvement in symptoms showed a mean reduction of in anxiety, 62%, somatization, 58%, depression, 50%, insomnia, 44%, emotional exhaustion 40%, depersonalization, 42%, and improvement of well-being 18% (for all p<0.004). P-values for between-group differences in change from baseline, based upon repeated measures ANCOVA covarying for baseline measurements, showed significance for all scales at 3-months.

The study confirmed the reported significant and rapid benefits of the practice of TM and demonstrated its positive psychological impact on healthcare workers in a high stress setting.

PMID: 36867626 PMCID: PMC9983866 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0265046