- Twice daily mantra meditation, where a sound is made repeatedly, may also reduce blood pressure
PUBLISHED: 15:03 EST, 13 November 2012 | UPDATED: 15:03 EST, 13 November 2012
Meditation helps reduce the risk of suffering a heart attack or a stroke, according to a new study.
Researchers found that Transcendental Meditation, made popular by the Beatles during the flower power era of the 1960s, could cut heart attack rates by half.
This type of meditation, which involves making a sound repeatedly, lowers death rates from heart attack and strokes.
In the new study, researchers found that people with heart disease who practised transcendental meditation for 20 minutes twice a day were 48 per cent less likely to have a heart attack, stroke or die from all causes compared with those who attended a health education class over more than five years.
Those practicing meditation also lowered their blood pressure and reported less stress and anger.
And the more regularly patients meditated, the greater their survival, said researchers who conducted the study at the Medical College of Wisconsin.
Lead researcher Dr Robert Schneider, director of the Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention in Iowa, said: ‘We hypothesised that reducing stress by managing the mind-body connection would help improve rates of this epidemic disease.
‘It appears that transcendental meditation is a technique that turns on the body’s own pharmacy – to repair and maintain itself.’
For the study, researchers randomly assigned 201 people – with an average age of 59 – to participate in a transcendental meditation stress-reducing programme or a health education class about lifestyle modification for diet and exercise.
The average BMI of the people involved was 32 – classed as obese.
Both groups showed beneficial changes in exercise and alcohol consumption, and the meditation group showed a trend towards reduced smoking.
Although there were no significant differences between the groups in weight, exercise or diet, regular meditation was correlated with reduced death, heart attack and stroke.
Dr Schneider added: ‘Transcendental meditation may reduce heart disease risks for both healthy people and those with diagnosed heart conditions.
‘The research on transcendental meditation and cardiovascular disease is established well enough that doctors may safely and routinely prescribe stress reduction for their patients with this easy to implement, standardised and practical programme.’
The findings were published in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.
More news coverage: Transcendental Meditation May Lower Heart Risk: WebMD Heart Disease Health Center and Transcendental Meditation may reduce death, heart attack and stroke in heart patients—AHA and Science Codex: Meditation may reduce death, heart attack and stroke in heart patients
The Daily Mail does not explain Transcendental Meditation properly. We do not repeatedly make a sound. It is a silent mental practice of experiencing the thought process at more refined levels until the mind transcends thought and arrives at an inner state of restful alertness. This natural level of deep rest releases stress and allows the body to repair itself resulting in improved health.
Tags: Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, death, Dr Robert Schneider, extending lifespan, health, heart attack, heart attack rates, heart health, Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention in Iowa, Medical College of Wisconsin, medicine, meditation, mental health, research, stroke, the Beatles, Trancendental Meditation