Efficacy of Binaural Beat Meditation Technology for Treating Anxiety Symptoms: A Pilot Study.
J Nerv Ment Dis. 2020 Feb ;208(2):155-160. PMID: 31977827
The objective of this study was to examine the efficacy of a novel binaural beat meditation technology for the treatment of anxiety symptoms in both psychiatric outpatients and nonpatients. Twenty psychiatric outpatients with anxiety disorder and eight individuals (nonpatients) in the healing professions were given the opportunity to use this meditation technology over the course of 2 weeks to 2 months. The State-Trait Anxiety Inventory scores were measured in all participants over the course of the study. Of the 20 outpatients who took part in the study, nine used the meditations as planned, whereas 11 did not for various reasons (could not download, forgot, did not have time, etc.), resulting in the formation of three treatment groups: psychiatry + meditation (n = 8), psychiatry only (n = 10), and meditation only (n = 8). The psychiatry + meditation group showed a 13.5-point (26.5%) decrease in State-Anxiety (t = 5.28, p = 0.001), a 14.1-point (24.7%) decrease in Trait-Anxiety (t = -5.12, p = 0.001), and a 27.6-point (25.6%) decrease in Total Anxiety (t = 7.63, p≤ 0.001). The psychiatry-only group showed a 4.2-point (8.4%) decrease in State-Anxiety (t = -2.20, p = 0.05) and a 7.0-point (6.9%) decrease in Total Anxiety (t = -2.61, p = 0.02). The meditation only showed a 3.5-point (9.8%) decrease in Trait-Anxiety (t = -2.47, p = 0.04). In a multiple regression analysis controlling for sociodemographic factors, medications, and treatment-related variables, the only statistically significant improvement in anxiety was seen in the psychiatry + meditation group for the Total Anxiety score (p<0.01). These findings suggest that use of this meditation technology may exhibit a positive effect on self-reported measures of anxiety in the context of a psychiatry/psychotherapy practice. However, larger-scale randomized, placebo-controlled trials are needed to confirm our findings.