Compared to other approaches, the Transcendental Meditation research is the most diverse and deepest, including, for example, studies on improved atherosclerosis, decreased insulin resistance, and reductions in the rate of heart attack, stroke, and death.
by Maharishi University of Management, Fairfield, Iowa, USA, The Review
11 November 2017
After a broad review of the scientific research, a September 2017 scientific statement by the American Heart Association recommended meditation be considered to help prevent and treat heart disease as an adjunct to conventional care.
Unlike a 2013 AHA statement that examined a range of alternative approaches for lowering blood pressure, the current statement, titled "Meditation and Cardiovascular Risk Reduction," exclusively focuses on meditation and the research on all six of the contributing factors to cardiovascular disease, not just blood pressure.
"It's the first time in the modern history of health care that an established medical body has recommended meditation in the treatment and prevention of heart disease," said Robert Schneider, MD, FACC, dean of MUM's College of Integrative Medicine.
Dr. Schneider explained that it's long been a goal to have the Transcendental Meditation technique recognized in a major medical guideline. He said that physicians, who don't ordinarily have the time to follow the research in science journals, rely on such professional guidelines in their clinical practice.
"This is the culmination of 30 years of federally sponsored clinical research by our institute and others," Dr. Schneider said.
The statement reviewed five different approaches to meditation, with the majority of studies being on the Transcendental Meditation technique and mindfulness meditation. Dr. Schneider said that, compared to other approaches, the Transcendental Meditation research was the most diverse and deepest, including, for example, studies on improved atherosclerosis, decreased insulin resistance, and reductions in the rate of heart attack, stroke, and death.
"The recent AHA scientific statement on meditation and cardiovascular risk reduction is groundbreaking in the acknowledgement that meditation may present a valuable adjuvant approach to traditional medical and lifestyle therapies for controlling risk factors and helping prevent cardiovascular diseases," said Dr. Robert Brook, a professor at the University of Michigan and chair of the expert panel that authored the previous AHA statement on blood pressure.
"The statement correctly recognizes limitations of previous studies and the fairly unique data in regards to the benefits of Transcendental Meditation for preventing clinical events, and I hope will reawaken an interest in a robust collaborative research effort."
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