27 long term meditators were studied before and one month and six months after a retreat. 17 (62.9%) reported at least one adverse effect 6 months after the retreat and 2 (7.4%) suffered profound adverse effects. The paper discusses the implications for personal and spiritual growth. Limitations of the study and suggestions for future research are also offered.
Adverse effects of meditation were assessed in twenty-seven long term meditators (average 4.27 years) both retrospectively (time one) and prospectively at one month (time two) and six months (time three) following a meditation retreat. At both time one and time three subjects reported significantly more positive effects than negative from meditation. However, of the twenty-seven subjects, seventeen (62.9%) reported at least one adverse effect, and two (7.4%) suffered profound adverse effects. When subjects at time one were divided into three groups based on length of practice (16.7 months; 47.1 months; 105 months) there were no significant differences in adverse effects. How the data should be interpreted, and their implications both for the clinical and psychotherapeutic use of meditation as a relaxation/self-control strategy, and as a technique for facilitating personal and spiritual growth, are discussed. Limitations of the study and suggestions for future research are also offered.