Risk of heart attack, stroke, and death by heart disease reduced 50% by meditation.

16 January 2010

A study funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has found that patients with coronary heart disease who practiced Transcendental Meditation (TM) had almost a 50% lower rate of heart attack, stroke, and death compared to a matched group that didn't meditate.

The $3.8 million study - 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 — followed 201 African American men and women for 9 years. All participants in the randomised controlled trial had an average age of 59 and were all diagnosed with narrowing of arteries in their hearts. Half the participants were randomly assigned to a group that practiced stress-reducing TM while the other half were placed in a non-meditating group that received health education classes covering standard cardiovascular risk factors. All the participants continued to take their regular medications and their other medical care throughout the study.

The study - presented at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association in Orlando, Florida — showed that in addition to the dramatic reduction in the risk of death, heart attacks and strokes the researchers found that the TM group also exhibited a clinically significant reduction in bloody pressure. Meditation was also found to reduce psychological stress in a sub-group of patients who were experiencing anxiety and signs of extreme stress.

The director of the Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention, and the study's lead author, Robert Schneider, M.D., said in a statement to the media, “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."

: Diet & Lifestyle

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