Transcendental meditation can help prevent heart attacks

December 15, 2009 by  

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Transcendental meditation, which is the most widely form of meditation, has been associated with a lot of health benefits. It used to be dismissed by the medical world as a form of alternativemeditation medicine without any scientific merit. It has its roots in India, invented by named Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. It became popular in the 60s among the “flower people” and became very popular when rock group Beatles openly practiced it. However, it was only recently that the practice of transcendental meditation has become medically accepted as a form of relaxation technique. Studies have shown that any form of meditation can reduce stress, improve mental focus, boost creativity, and even lower blood pressure.

How does transcendental meditation work? According to the Maharishi University of Management

It is a simple, natural, effortless procedure practiced 20 minutes twice each day while sitting comfortably with the eyes closed. It’s not a religion, philosophy, or lifestyle. More than six million people worldwide have learned the TM technique — people of all ages, cultures, and religions.

It usually involves the use of a mantra or repeated sound and needs to be learned from a certified teacher.

Preventive medicine specialist Robert Schneider of the Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, collaborated with endocrinologist Theodore Kotchen of the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee to conduct the first study to evaluate the effect of transcendental mediation on the risk of myocardial infarction (heart attack). The 201 study participants were all high risk group for heart disease – African Americans with narrowed coronary arteries.

The participants were assigned to 2 groups. One group was instructed on practicing transcendental meditation for 15 to 20 minutes a day. The other group did not do medication. Both groups received standard treatment of prescription drugs for high blood pressure and atherosclerosis, and participated in an educational course in cardiovascular health. The patients were followed up for 5 to 9 years.  The study results showed that the meditation group experienced 47% fewer cardiac events such as heart attacks, strokes, and deaths compared with the non-meditation control group. This risk reduction is much higher compared to reductions by currently prescribed cardiovascular therapies, namely:

  • Anti-cholesterol statin drugs –  30% to 40% reduction.
  • Antihypertension drugs – 25% to 30% reduction.

The mechanism behind the it is not fully understood but the researchers believe it has something to with

  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Reducing stress hormones
  • Dampening  the sympathetic nervous system, which triggers the body’s stress response

We’ve shown that the brain has a direct positive influence on clinical outcomes”, according to the authors.

The study shows that transcendental meditation can be important technique in preventive medicine that can be incorporated in lifestyle change therapies.

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One Response to “Transcendental meditation can help prevent heart attacks”
  1. William says:

    Raquel you should look closer at such claims before accepting them as true. The TM Org has a long history of putting out questionable research. In fact a recent study by the US Government found most TM research (even after decades of it) POOR. In fact they found TM was the WORST meditation method at lowering Blood Pressure. Check out this chart from the US sponsored study:

    SO needless to say, as they’ve done in the past TM biased researchers quickly set out to create a study that showed it was actually good. So they gathered up long-time TM supporters, a TM doctor or two and crunched some numbers. They used one of their favorite tactics: use poor controls so they can manipulate the results. And it works. Before publication they began sending out massive email and web announcements of their new “findings”. Unfortunately most people don’t recognize the deception. But it’s an old pattern. They’ve been doing this for decades.

    The good news is there ARE great forms of meditation out there, often for free or inexpensively, with excellent research behind them. Some are taught in hospitals and are backed by leading scientists, not the same people trying to sell you expensive versions of Hindu goddess mantras.

    Please be more careful. Just becasue they sound like they are selling you peace and love doesn’t mean they truly are. Sometimes they just want your money.

    Best wishes.

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