Effects of Ma-eum Su-ryun on the Decrease of Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Response

Full title: "Effects of Ma-eum Su-ryun on the Decrease of Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Response Of Adults With Depression"

Researchers Yun, M. R. Professor, Dept of Nursing, Chung-Ang University Choi, E. H. Professor, Dept of Nursing, Kyung-buk University Kim, K. A. MD, Family Medicine, Dae-jung Hospital Yoo, Y. K. Professor, Dept of Nursing, Kunsan University

Published year 2015 Publisher Journal of Korean Wellness, 10(3), 109-121.


○ Increase of mental disorder prevalence rate in adults

South Korean mental disorder prevalence rate in adults is increasing. According to 2011 survey by South Korean Health Welfare (2012) on mental disorders, mood disorder rate was 7.5%, which was an increase of 21.0% from 2006. Anxiety disorder rate was 8.7%, which was an increase of 26.1% from 2006. Depression in adult women was shown to be one out of every ten women who experience depression as well as other mood disorders at least once in their lifetime.

○ Social cost of mental disorders

Currently, national treatment costs for depression is estimated to be approximately 130 billion won (South Korean Currency). In addition, South Korean Health Insurance Corporation (2006) pointed out secondary socio-economic costs of unemployment, low work productivity, family burden and other related aspects as much greater problems of mental disorders. World Health Organization (WHO) listed top 10 diseases which are the most burdensome for the humankind; and had ranked depression in the third place. As the impact of depression and other mental disorders on social and national levels could be far-reaching, it was predicted that depression could possibly be ranked first by the year 2030.

○ Difficulty in treating mental disorders: meditation as an alternative treatment

Even though the mental disorder prevalence rate is increasing, not many seek out treatments. Only 50% of patients with depression are being treated and often, alternative therapies and other forms of self-management are preferred. For those who felt that they needed treatments, only 19% are receiving the necessary treatments (Cho, 2008).

Decreased recurrence rate and increased effectiveness would occur when depressive disorders are treated in combination with psychological interventions such as cognitive behavioral treatments and self-management in addition to medication. (Kim & Yi, 2006; Woo & Park, 2005; Feng et al., 2012). Anxiety disorders such as panic disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder could also benefit from psychological approaches (Roy-Byrne, & Wagner, 2004). Many recent research studies reported effectiveness of meditation-based psychological approaches such as Ma-eum Su-ryun as well as Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) on improvements in mental disorders such as depression (Teasdale, Segal, & Williams, 1995; Kim et al., 2012; Lee & Kim, 2013; Jang & Ha, 2008). Therapeutic approaches utilizing meditation has now become one of strategies to enhance mental health and manage stress in the modern times.

Study purpose

The study purpose was to examine the effect of Ma-eum Su-ryun on depression, anxiety, and stress in adults with depressive symptoms; and to explore its strategic utilization potential to enhance mental health.

Study method

○ Study participants

The adult attendants of the first level of Ma-eum Su-ryun program (attending at least 8 consecutive days during a time period of September 8 to December 29, 2012) at Nonsan Main Center, who consented to participate in the study were recruited. Through pre-screening interviews, those already diagnosed with depression (using DSM-IV criteria) prior to the program were selected and pretested with BDI-II. If the BDI-II scores were less than 10 points (scores of 0 to 9 indicated a non-depressed state), they were not included in the study.

Those adults who were taking anti-depressants were excluded from the study, as the medications can influence the study results. Final 42 participants were selected for pretest prior to starting the program, and posttest was administered one week later after the program was completed.

Study results

○ The effect of Ma-eum Su-ryun program: after one week

Depression, anxiety, and stress levels for the program participants were significantly reduced after one week.

○ The differences in the program effect on severity of depression symptoms

The program participants with severe vs. minimal symptoms of depression were compared. More severely depressed participants experienced more reductions in depression, anxiety, and stress levels.

To summarize, after one week of the Ma-eum Su-ryun program, the adults with depression symptoms had very significant reductions in depression, anxiety, and stress levels. The degree of such reductions were much higher in more severely depressed adults than those with minimal depression symptoms.

The depression scores (before the program) for the severely depressed participants (pretest 34.59±7.12) were decreased to a minimally depressed level (posttest 14.94±11.46) after the program. For those with minimal depression symptoms prior to the program (pretest 16.16±3.35), their depression scores decreased to normal level (posttest 8.28±4.72; no depression) after the program.

Discussion and recommendation

The results of this study were similar to other research studies which also found that the Ma-eum Su-ryun program was effective in reducing psychological symptoms such as depression, anxiety, and stress.

A randomized control trial study which examined the effect of the Ma-eum Su-ryun program on breast cancer survivors found that the survivors’ depression scores changed from probable depression to no depression after the program (Yun, 2014). Another study (Kim, 2009) also found a combined therapy of psychiatric medications and the Ma-eum Su-ryun program led to a shortened treatment period for patients with depression and other mental disorders. These findings suggested sound effectiveness of the Ma-eum Su-ryun program for adults with or without depression; and indicate more detailed follow up research studies are needed in this regard.

Even though the prevalence rate for depression is increasing, those being treated is much less than expected as many prefer alternative therapies or self-management (Cho, 2008). It is therefore imperative to find effective strategies to assist these patients. Before physical and/or mental health problems develop, the meditation utilization on a regular basis would be one of preventative strategies and models to decrease stress-related illnesses (Lee, 2013).

Through self-reflection and self-healing capabilities of the Ma-eum Su-ryun program, it can utilized for mental health promotion for the modern man. As a supplementary measure for stress management, and prevention and treatment of mental illness, the cost-effective program has a sizable potential in its contributions.


South Korean Health Welfare (2012). A summary report on mental health status of 2011.

South Korean Health Insurance Corporation (2006). Statistics on health insurance report.

Cho, S. M. (2008). Symposium: update on anxiety disorder diagnosis and treatments, Korean Psychological Assoc., 524-525.

Kim, J. B. & Lee, S. H. (2006). Update on cognitive behavioral treatments for depression. Cognitive Behavior Therapy, 6(2), 131-144.

Woo, Y. S. & Park, W. M. (2005). Treatments for depression. Korean Journal of Science, 70(2), 239-242.

Kim, M. H. (2012). Comparison of effects of meditation camp program on depression, anxiety and self-esteem of youth. Journal of Korean Contents Association, 12(4), 338-348.

Lee, I. S. & Kim, G. H. (2011). The effect of Ma-eum Su-ryun on anxiety, self-esteem and self-realization of teachers. Journal of Korea Academia-Industrial cooperation Society, 12(12), 5722-5730.

Jang, S. J. (2010). The effect of meditation on power, anxiety, depression and quality of life of breast cancer patients. Unpublished dissertation, Seoul University.

Yun, M. R. (2014). The effect of Ma-eum Su-ryun on psychological well-being of breast cancer survivors. Unpublished dissertation, Seoul University.

Kim, J. H. (2009). The treatment effects of Ma-eum Su-ryun – focusing on neurotic and depressed patients. Journal of Human Completion, Fall, 85-101.

Lee, I. S., OH, J. H. & Kwon, I. S. (2013). The duration effect of Ma-eum Su-ryun program on mental health. Journal of Korean Contents Association, 13(1), 342-353.

Feng, C. Y., Chu, H., Chen, C. H., Chang, Y. S., Chen, T. H., Chou, Y. H., Chang, Y. C., & Chou, K. R. (2012). The effects of cognitive behavioral group therapy for depression: a meta-analysis 2000-2010. Worldviews on Evidence-Based Nursing, 9(1), 2-17.

Roy-Byrne, P. P., & Wagner, A. (2004). Primary care perspectives on generalized anxiety disorder. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 65(suppl. 13), 20-26.

Teasdale, J. D., Segal, Z., & Williams, J. M. G. (1995). How does cognitive therapy prevent depressive relapse and why should attentional control (mindfulness) training help? Behaviour Research and Therapy, 33(1), 25-39.

Source: www.meditationlife.org

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