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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Doctors prescribe meditation

The Wall Street Journal reports that doctors increasingly are prescribing meditation for a variety of conditions.
At Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, doctor’s orders can include an unlikely prescription: meditation.
“I recommend five minutes, twice a day, and then gradually increase,” said Aditi Nerurkar, a primary-care doctor and assistant medical director of the Cheng & Tsui Center for Integrative Care, which offers alternative medical treatment at the Harvard Medical School-affiliated hospital. “It’s basically the same way I prescribe medicine. I don’t start you on a high dose right away.” She recommends that patients eventually work up to about 20 minutes of meditating, twice a day, for conditions including insomnia and irritable bowel syndrome.
Integrative medicine programs including meditation are increasingly showing up at hospitals and clinics across the country. Recent research has found that meditation can lower blood pressure and help patients with chronic illness cope with pain and depression. In a study published last year, meditation sharply reduced the risk of heart attack or stroke among a group of African-Americans with heart disease.
Meditation is seen as complementary to traditional medicine, not a substitute for it, the article says.