Study: Meditation Lowered Cardiac Risk by 50 Percent
(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Patients with coronary heart disease (CHD) who practiced transcendental meditation techniques had nearly 50 percent lower rates of heart attack, stroke, and death compared to non-meditating controls. CHD is the leading cause of death in the United States.
The trial was conducted at The Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee in collaboration with the Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa.
The nine-year, randomized control trial followed 201 African American men and women, average age 59 years, with narrowing of arteries in their hearts. They were randomly assigned to either practice transcendental meditation or to participate in a control group which received health education classes in traditional risk factors, including dietary modification and exercise, but which did not practice meditation. All participants continued standard medications and other routine medical care.
Among those practicing transcendental meditation, the study found a 47 percent reduction in the combination of death, heart attacks, and strokes, a clinically significant reduction in blood pressure and significant reductions in psychological stress in the high-stress subgroup.
Robert Schneider, M.D., FACC, lead author and director of the Center for Natural Medicine and Prevention, was quoted as saying, "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."
"This study is an example of the contribution of a lifestyle intervention—stress management—to the prevention of cardiovascular disease in high-risk patients," Theodore Kotchen, M.D., co-author of the study, professor of medicine, and associate dean for clinical research at the Medical College, was quoted as saying.
Dr. Schneider said that the effect of transcendental meditation in the trial was like adding a class of newly discovered medications for the prevention of heart disease. "In this case,” he said, “the new medications are derived from the body's own internal pharmacy stimulated by the Transcendental Meditation practice."
SOURCE: Presented at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association, Orlando, FL, November 16, 2009
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