Studies Show Meditation Can Benefit Your Heart


Studies Show Meditation Can Benefit Your Heart

Date: 28/01/10
Keywords: Alternative medicine , High Blood Pressure , Heart Disease , Transcendental Meditation

Meditation simply involves clearing your mind and relaxing your body to find a harmonious, serene, boundless, inner milieu. Basically, you train your mind to take a break… and now it turns out that if you have coronary heart disease and you practice meditation, you can lower your risk of heart attack, stroke, and death by as much as 50 per cent.

Forget what you’ve heard about meditation. If the word “meditation” conjures up images of incense, finger cymbals and crystals – don’t be put off if those things are not your style, because none of them are necessary to meditate properly.

Meditation simply involves clearing your mind and relaxing your body to find a harmonious, serene, boundless, inner milieu. Basically, you train your mind to take a break… and now it turns out that if you have coronary heart disease and you practice meditation, you can lower your risk of heart attack, stroke, and death by as much as 50 per cent.

Breath in… Breath out…

Two recent studies show significant heart health benefits for people who meditate daily and this doesn’t come from some hogwash-source. Both studies are mainstream. One was recently presented at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association (AHA) and one was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. And the incredible thing is that in both studies all the subjects had coronary heart disease (CHD).

Previous studies have shown that a popular form of meditation known as transcendental meditation (TM) may actually help patients control blood pressure.

A class of ‘heart medication’

In the most recent study of the two, US researchers from The Medical College of Wisconsin collaborated with a natural medicine school in Iowa. The 200 CHD participants (average age 59 years, with narrowing of arteries in their hearts), were divided into two groups. Half received TM instruction and half did not.

Results: Over nine years, rates of heart attack, stroke, and death were all significantly lower in the TM group.

Lead researcher Dr. Robert Schneider, suggested TM should be thought of as a new class of heart disease medication. “In this case, the new medications are derived from the body’s own internal pharmacy stimulated by the Transcendental Meditation practice… But this is the first controlled clinical trial to show that long-term practice of this particular stress reduction program reduces the incidence of clinical cardiovascular events – that is, heart attacks, strokes and mortality.”

Dr. Theodore Kotchen, co-researcher of the study, professor of medicine, and associate dean for clinical research at the Medical College, was quoted as saying: “This study is an example of the contribution of a lifestyle intervention — stress management — to the prevention of cardiovascular disease in high-risk patients.”

The second smaller study, evaluated the efficacy of TM on components of metabolic syndrome and CHD. Metabolic syndrome is thought to be a contributor to CHD.

US researchers at the University of Southern California divided 103 CHD patients into two groups. Subjects in one group received 16 weeks of TM instruction. Compared to the placebo group, TM subjects experienced significantly better blood pressure control, reduction of insulin resistance components of the metabolic syndrome and improved heart rate variability. In addition, TM helped subjects control their response to stress.

You can find information about the TM technique used in the CHD study on the Transcendental Meditation Programme website at http://www.t-m.org.uk.

Just a moment away from peace of mind

If you are considering TM as a healthy habit but you are still unsure, here are a few things to help you make up your mind:

* Simple: The TM technique is a simple, effortless mental process practiced for 15–20 minutes twice a day, sitting quietly and comfortably in a chair with your eyes closed.

* Easily learned: The TM technique can be easily learned by anyone and is enjoyable to practice.

* Immediate benefits: The benefits of the TM technique are immediate and increase over time. The technique’s positive effects — for mind, body and relationships — have been verified by hundreds of research studies conducted at top medical schools and published in over 350 peer-reviewed scientific journals.

* No belief required: The TM technique does not involve belief or religion. In fact, you can be thoroughly sceptical and the technique will still be fully effective.

* Develops the total brain: Brain research shows that the TM technique develops the total brain, increasing creativity and intelligence and improving decision- making and problem-solving abilities.

* Reduces stress and high blood pressure: Medical school research funded by the National Institutes of Health shows that the TM technique is the most effective mind-body practice for reducing stress and stress-related disorders, including hypertension, high cholesterol, stroke and atherosclerosis.

Related Reading:

Meditation As A Tool For Good Health And Longevity

Heart Diet: Three Drug-Free Steps To A Healthy Heart


Sources:

“Effects of a Randomized Controlled Trial of Transcendental Meditation on Components of the Metabolic Syndrome in Subjects With Coronary Heart Disease” Archives of Internal Medicine, Vol. 166, No. 11, 6/12/06, archinte.ama-assn.org

“Study: Meditation Lowered Cardiac Risk by 50 Percent” Ivanhoe Newswire, 11/23/09, ivanhoe.com

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3 Responses to “Studies Show Meditation Can Benefit Your Heart”

  1. Astral Walker Says:

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