Meditation :: Meditation can also heal your heart
Meditation has always shown to have calming effect on the body and the soul, but the researchers now have uncovered yet another benefit of transcendental meditation, that it may reduce cardiac risk factors in patients with coronary heart disease.
A relaxation technique known as transcendental meditation, which is derived from the ancient Vedic tradition in India, and is taught through a standard protocol involving lectures, personal instruction and group meetings, may decrease blood pressure and reduce insulin resistance among patients with coronary heart disease.
There are a cluster of symptoms that increase cardiac risk, including high blood pressure (hypertension), abdominal obesity, high cholesterol and insulin resistance, which occurs when the body is unable to use the insulin produced by the pancreas to process sugar into energy.
Maura Paul-Labrador, M.P.H., Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, and colleagues conducted a 16-week trial of transcendental meditation in patients with coronary heart disease. At the beginning and end of the trial, the patients fasted overnight and then gave a blood sample, participated in a medical history review and underwent tests of blood vessel function and heart rate variability.
Results showed that patients who were in the transcendental meditation group had significantly lower blood pressure; improved fasting blood glucose and insulin levels, which signify reduced insulin resistance; and more stable functioning of the autonomic nervous system.
“These physiological effects were accomplished without changes in body weight, medication or psychosocial variables and despite a marginally statistically significant increase in physical activity in the health education group,” the authors said.
“These current results also expand our causal understanding of the role of stress in the rising epidemic of the metabolic syndrome. Although current low levels of physical activity, unhealthy eating habits and resultant obesity are triggers for this epidemic, the demands of modern society may also be responsible for higher levels of chronic stress,” they added.
The researchers concluded that transcendental meditation is a useful tool to control the body’s response to stress, and that it may provide a new treatment and prevention of coronary heart disease.