Earlier studies have shown that the Transcendental Meditation technique reduces risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, and insulin resistance.
by Maharishi International University, Fairfield, Iowa, USA, The Review
17 February 2020
A new study has found that patients with coronary heart disease greatly benefited from the practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique, which increased blood flow to the heart as much as 20% compared to a control group.
The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and conducted at Columbia University Medical Center.
“This was the first study to show that the cardiovascular benefits of lifestyle modification such as structured exercise and dietary counselling may be enhanced by adding Transcendental Meditation in patients with heart disease,” said MUM Professor Robert Schneider, MD, a senior author of the study. “It also found that the Transcendental Meditation
technique alone was able to reverse the effects of coronary heart disease.”
The researchers were also the first to use positron emission tomography to measure the effect of these lifestyle modalities on cardiac function.
The study was published in the Journal of Nuclear Cardiology.
The research involved 56 patients who had cardiovascular disease, such as a recent heart attack, coronary artery bypass, or angina.
The researchers randomly divided the subjects into four groups: cardiac rehabilitation, Transcendental Meditation, Transcendental Meditation plus cardiac rehabilitation, or usual care.
The results showed that of the 37 patients who completed posttesting, myocardial blood flow increased by 20.7% in the group that did both Transcendental Meditation and cardiac rehabilitation. Blood flow in the group that practiced Transcendental Meditation alone increased 14%. Cardiac rehabilitation by itself showed an improvement of 5.8%. And patients who received the usual treatment actually showed a decrease in blood flow of -10.3%.
“Although this is a pilot study, it clearly suggests that managing one’s mind-body connection with Transcendental Meditation can improve the function of the heart in cardiovascular patients,” said Dr. Schneider, dean of MUM’s College of Integrative Medicine.
He said that psychosocial and environmental stress is known to be a risk factor for coronary heart disease but that stress reduction therapies aren’t usually included in cardiac rehabilitation.
“More research needs to be done, but this study and previous research strongly suggest that medical professionals should be introducing this simple yet effective mind-body intervention into their heart health treatment and prevention programs,” Dr. Schneider said.
Earlier studies have shown that the Transcendental Meditation technique reduces risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, and insulin resistance. A 2012 study found a 48% reduction in heart attack, stroke, and death.
The study was codirected by Sabahat Bokhari, Columbia University Medical Center. MUM coauthors were John Salerno, Maxwell Rainforth, Carolyn Gaylord-King, and Sanford Nidich.
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