A mindfulness-based therapy could offer a "new choice for millions of people" with recurrent depression, a Lancet report suggests.
Scientists tested it against anti-depressant pills for people at risk of relapse and found it worked just as well. The therapy trains people to focus their minds and understand that negative thoughts may come and go. In England and Wales doctors are already encouraged to offer it.
Patients who have had recurrent clinical depression are often prescribed long-term anti-depressant drugs to help prevent further episodes. And experts stress that drug therapy is still essential for many.
In this study, UK scientists enrolled 212 people who were at risk of further depression on a course of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) while carefully reducing their medication. Patients took part in group sessions where they learned guided meditation and mindfulness skills.