Are you spending big bucks at the pharmacy to buy drugs to medicate your heart?
A new piece of research reveals that practising a form of meditation for 10-20 minutes at least once a day can slash your heart attack and stroke risk by upto 66 percent.
According to the study’s lead author, Robert Schneider, M.D., Transcendental meditation is at least as effective as the drugs sold at pharmacies: “The effect [of this form of meditation] is as large or larger than major categories of drug treatment for cardiovascular disease. However, subjects were already taking standard medications and this effect [of practicing the meditation] was on top of that.”
What Happened In The Study?
Two hundred and one African American men and women, with an average age of 59, were randomly allocated to one of two groups. Those in the first group participated in a Transcendental Meditation program, while participants in the second group attended a health education program. All patients had at least one coronary artery with 50% blockage or greater, and were already taking medication. They were also monitored every 6 months for an average of 5 years.
Participants who performed meditation twice daily decreased their risk of heart attack and stroke by a massive 66 percent. Individuals in the high risk group experienced a 64 per cent drop in risk, and patients with high blood pressure had a 55 per cent lower risk. On average, systolic blood pressure (the first of the two numbers in your blood pressure reading) also decreased by 5 mmHG, which alone lowers the risk of serious cardiovascular problems by 20 percent.
How Does Meditation Do This?
Living a stressful life increases the activity (tone) of the sympathetic nervous system, (think fight or flight, or adrenaline) which leads to accelerated aging and damage to organs such as the heart and arteries.
Meditation helps people to reduce the amount of psychological stress they feel, and tones down the amount of sympathetic activity in nerves. Simultaneously, this stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, which kicks-in when we’re relaxing, and leads to a reduction in damage to our organs, and increased healing of tissues.
Dr. Schneider added, “These findings are the strongest documented effects yet produced by a mind-body intervention on cardiovascular disease. They indicate that stress reduction with the TM technique is an effective approach in the prevention of heart disease. This study builds on previous research findings showing that the Transcendental Meditation program reduces high blood pressure, high cholesterol, insulin resistance, psychological stress, and atherosclerosis, and takes it to the next step—lower rates of death, heart attack, and stroke,” he added.
The Take Home Message
Maybe it’s time to start taking your health back into your own hands and contemplate practicing meditation or prayer twice daily for 10-20 minutes? It’ll help you to be healthier, happier, and have more money in your pocket.
- Want to know more about how to use prayer to heal, check out Larry Dossey M.D.’s book Prayer is Good Medicine
- Interested in Transcendental Meditation? Visit: www.tm.org
- Would you like to explore meditation for free? Check out: www.iamfreemeditation.com
Source: Schnedder, R. H. et al., (2011). Stress reduction in the secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease. Archives of Internal Medicine, doi: 10.1001/archinternmed.2011.310.