New York Times: Research: Vital Signs: Regimens: Meditation, for the Mind and the Heart

Research

Vital Signs

Regimens: Meditation, for the Mind and the Heart

By RONI CARYN RABIN

Published: November 23, 2009

Could the mental relaxation produced by transcendental meditation have physiological benefits? A study presented last week at the American Heart Association meeting in Orlando, Fla., suggests that it may, at least in the case of people with established coronary artery disease.

Researchers followed about 200 high-risk patients for an average of five years. Among the 100 who meditated, there were 20 heart attacks, strokes and deaths; in the comparison group, there were 32. The meditators tended to remain disease-free longer and also reduced their systolic blood pressure.

“We found reduced blood pressure that was significant — that was probably one important mediator,” said Dr. Robert Schneider, director of the Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention, a research institute based at the Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, who presented the findings.

The study was conducted at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, in collaboration with the institute.

The participants found transcendental meditation easy to learn and practice, Dr. Schneider said. He suggested that the stress reduction produced by the meditation could cause changes in the brain that cut stress hormones like cortisol and dampen the inflammatory processes associated with atherosclerosis.

A version of this article appeared in print on November 24, 2009, on page D6 of the New York edition.

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One Response to “New York Times: Research: Vital Signs: Regimens: Meditation, for the Mind and the Heart”

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