African Americans with heart disease who practiced Transcendental Meditation regularly were 48 percent less likely to have a heart attack, stroke or die from all causes compared with African Americans who attended a health education class over more than five years, according to new , says a new study from the U.S.'s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute..
Those practicing meditation also lowered their blood pressure and
reported less stress and anger. And the more regularly patients
meditated, the greater their survival, said researchers who conducted
the study at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.
"We hypothesized that reducing stress by managing the mind-body
connection would help improve rates of this epidemic disease," said
Robert Schneider, M.D., lead researcher and director of the Institute
for Natural Medicine and Prevention in Fairfield, Iowa. "It appears that
Transcendental Meditation is a technique that turns on the body's own
pharmacy — to repair and maintain itself."
TM uses a mantra to focus attention; in mindfulness meditation, an object such as the breath is used.
Researchers tracked 200 people for more than five years and found that
meditation lowers blood pressure and improves anger control. The study
asked participants to sit quietly with eyes closed for 20 minutes twice
daily, but most did so only once a day - and results were still
impressive. "Stress on the brain hurts the heart because stress hormones
like cortisol damage arterial walls," says lead author Dr. Robert
Schneider, who is also dean of Maharishi College of Perfect Health in
Fairfield, Iowa, says that the research "on Transcendental Meditation and cardiovascular
disease is established well enough that physicians may safely and
routinely prescribe stress reduction for their patients with this easy
to implement, standardized and practical program."
(Note that the Mararishi College of Perfect Health is part of the mandala of programs that spring from the Marharisi Mahesh Yogi, who popularized TM in the west.)