Transcendental Meditation® Eases Depression, Reduces Heart Disease Risk
Transcendental Meditation is now found to ease symptoms of depression, in turn reducing heart disease risk, found in two separate studies. Charles Drew University in Los Angeles and University of Hawaii in Kohala researchers studied individuals at high risk for heart disease, finding that Transcendental Meditation can improve health outcomes for individuals at high risk for morbidity and mortality from depression that can lead to heart disease.
Included in the study were African Americans and Native Hawaiians, 55 years and older. Two groups were compared - one was assigned to practice Transcendental Meditation and the other group received health education.
Over a period of 9 to 12 months the study groups were assessed using the Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression (CES-D) inventory. Researchers say even modest depression raises the risk of heart disease, leading the researchers to study the health impact of Transcendental Meditation for reducing depression and heart disease risk.
The first study enlisted African American men and women, 55 years and older that also included a subgroup of participants at risk for heart disease and stroke, measured by increased thickness in the carotid arteries that supply blood flow to the brain.
In the second study, 53 Native Hawaiian men in Kohala, Hawaii, 55 years and older, who had at least one additional major risk factor for cardiovascular disease were followed to find the health benefits of Transcendental Meditation for treatment of depression that is a known risk factor for heart disease.
Depression scores were measured at baseline and again at 3, 9 and 12 months to compare symptoms between the Transcendental Meditation and health education group.
Sanford Nidich, EdD, lead author and senior researcher at the Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention at Maharishi University of Management. "The findings of these studies have important implications for improving mental health and reducing the risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. “
Both studies showed that practicing Transcendental Meditation had a “significant” clinical impact that could save health spending by easing depression and reducing the risk of heart disease among individuals at high risk. According to the National Institutes of Health, twenty percent of the elderly experience some form of depression, putting them at high risk for cardiovascular disease.
Gary P. Kaplan MD PhD, Clinical Associate Professor of Neurology NYU School of Medicine. "Any technique not involving extra medication in this population is a welcome addition. I look forward to further research on the Transcendental Meditation technique and prevention of depression in other at-risk elderly populations, including those with stroke and other chronic diseases."