Common Relaxation Technique Can Help Lower Your Blood Pressure and Protect Your Heart

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Common Relaxation Technique Can Help Lower Your Blood Pressure and Protect Your Heart

Posted by: Dr. Mercola
January 09 2010 | 4,653 views

A just-published study suggests the practice of meditation may bring cardiovascular and mental-health benefits.

The research, followed close to 300 students, half of whom practiced transcendental meditation for 20 minutes once or twice daily over three months. A subgroup of subjects in the meditation group who were at increased risk for hypertension significantly lowered their blood pressure and psychological distress, and also bolstered their coping ability.

The average reduction in blood pressure in this group — a 6.3-mm Hg decrease in the top (systolic) number of a blood pressure reading and a 4-mm Hg decrease in the lower (diastolic) number — was associated with a 52 percent reduction in the risk of developing hypertension in the future.

Meditators who were not at increased risk for hypertension saw a reduction in psychological distress, depression, and anxiety as well as increased coping ability.

Sources:

U.S. News & World Report

American Journal of Hypertension, December 2009

Dr. Mercola’s Comments:

As the new year begins and you resolve to make healthier lifestyle choices, I strongly encourage you to add a few minutes of meditation to your daily routine.

Just 20 minutes a day can begin to make a big difference in how you feel mentally, physically and emotionally.

When your mind is calm and your emotions are within your control, you’re in a much better position to tackle all your normal responsibilities plus the goals you’ve set for yourself.

Feelings of stress and overwhelm that keep you stuck in unhealthy behaviors can be greatly relieved by a regular practice of meditation. As the clouds in your head clear and anxiety is minimized, you’ll be amazed at how energized and capable you feel.



Community Comments

Falk
Posted On Dec 19, 2009

I suppose for the same reason that history repeats itself we find that a study now shows that meditation can elicit positive changes in our physiology and mental state.  This is NOT new news.  I learned TM back in the early 90’s and was made aware of studies at that time showing that TM could have a positive effect on hypertension among other things.  We seem to forget what we already know, over and over again.

BLockton
Posted On Jan 09, 2010

Dr. Mercola, I’m curious why when reporting a study citing transcendental meditation as the specific modality used you would then turn around and attribute the results to other meditation techniques that weren’t studied. There was no basis from the study reported to leap to that conclusion. It strikes me as being somewhat akin to quoting research that perhaps found that Lexus has a high safety rating in front-end impacts, and then turning around and recommending that your readers buy Yugos, Fords, and any other car of their choice if they want to stay safe in a front-end collision because the study showed that if you were in a car during a front-end collision, you would be safe. Whatever the merits of the other car manufacturers, even if they are equally safe or safer, the quoted study would only have talked about Lexus, and the results couldn’t be extrapolated to other cars.

In the case of this meditation study, the results were specifically attributed to transcendental meditation and not to all meditation techniques, so the results cannot be legitimately extrapolated to other meditation techniques.  Faulty analysis, I’m afraid, but you may not have been aware that there are differences between techniques of meditation, and differences in the physiological response to those techniques.  In fact there are myriad studies that show other forms of meditation have not demonstrated the same benefits as TM. – (Oh, and as at least 3 of the researchers are known to me as being instructors of the transcendental meditation program as taught by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, there is no doubt they were referring to the particular form of meditation and not using “transcendental meditation” as a generic term.)

Hope this was helpful.

kennyji
Posted On Jan 09, 2010

With reference to citing TM studies and comparing them to other forms of meditation, there have been several published meta-analyses comparing the Transcendental Meditation technique to many other relaxation and meditation methods. It was statistically found that the effect size on certain variables like anxiety, and other risk factors, was twice as large with TM than with the other practices, which were no more effective than placebo. A paper, including a visual summary of the meta-analyses, Five Meta-Analyses Comparing the Transcendental Meditation Program with Other Meditation and Relaxation Techniques, can be found at TruthAboutTM.org. http://bit.ly/4TWDIA

Neural imaging and EEG studies indicate that TM practice creates a unique brain pattern: it is the only meditation technique known to create widespread brainwave coherence. The TM technique also produces deeper rest than other practices, and studies show the technique to be more effective at reducing anxiety and depression and increasing self-actualization. A website, Ask The Doctors, discusses results from other forms of meditation and TM at http://bit.ly/5z087e.

Also, take a look at some of the peer-reviewed published studies on the Transcendental Meditation technique at this site: http://bit.ly/RHgA5

Over 40 years, and 700 scientific research studies later, the TM technique continues to demonstrate the health benefits to mind, body, and behavior, for the individual and society as a whole. Further studies continue to add to this impressive body of research on the most widely studied and practiced technique for health and human development.

Thank you for this opportunity to share this information with you and your readers.

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