While it’s been public knowledge for quite some time that various meditation techniques, such as classical meditation, yoga, and tai-chi, can improve one’s overall health and well-being, a new statistical study shows that these practices have a related tangible benefit to society, in that it appears that they reduce the need for the use of health care services.

The study, conducted by researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital, utilized the existing health records of 4,000 individuals that had followed their doctors’ recommendations to take up relaxation techniques, and compared them to a control group of 13,000 individuals that were given no such recommendation. They discovered that the patients that employed relaxation techniques saw a 43% reduction in "resource utilization" at health care facilities, such as hospitals, as compared to the patients in the control group.

The researchers do caution that, while the cross-section of cases included in the study is quite large at 17,000 individuals, all of the records are from only Massachusetts General Hospital, but the report’s strong findings imply that an even broader study should be called for, and that meditative practices can yield a positive impact on health, both for the individual, and for society in general.

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