Transcendental Meditation cut disease risk in half for heart patients

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
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Patients with narrowing of the arteries from coronary heart disease were able to cut risk of heart attack, stroke, and death in half with Transcendental Meditation® (TM). The study is the first of its kind to show that reducing stress using meditation could reduce the incidence of future cardiovascular events among heart patients.

A nine year study of 201 African American men and women with coronary artery disease, average age 59, participated in either Transcendental Meditation® or health education classes. In addition to a 47 percent reduction in stroke, heart attack and death, the participants who meditated also experienced a “significant” reduction in blood pressure.

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"Previous research on Transcendental Meditation® has shown reductions in blood pressure, psychological stress, and other risk factors for heart disease, irrespective of ethnicity. 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”, according to Medical College of Wisconsin lead author and director of the Center for Natural Medicine and Prevention, Robert Schneider, M.D., FACC.

All of the study participants maintained their regular regimen of medications and medical care, but Dr. Schneider says practicing meditation was like adding a new class of drugs. “In this case, the new medications are derived from the body's own internal pharmacy stimulated by the Transcendental Meditation® practice."

The study contributes to evidence that in high risk individuals, lifestyle intervention to manage stress is an important contribution to reducing cardiovascular disease. Transcendental Meditation can be practiced 15 to 20 minutes daily, and is easily learned. The technique has been studied for its benefit s or improving health. The new study shows that TM can reduce risk of stroke, death, and heart attack in patients with existing heart disease, and was presented at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association in Orlando, Nov. 16, 2009.

Medical College of Wisconsin

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