Meditation

Meditation Good for Heart

Meditation is known to cut chances of heart diseases. A new study by some Georgia researchers gives evidence that meditation may help keep heart disease at bay. While the researchers admit that the study is too small to offer conclusive evidence, the findings are encouraging. Thirty-six teenagers were given the option of including meditation in a health education program. Those who choose the meditation lessons had better results on heart tests done after the four month study.

A relaxation technique known as Transcendental Meditation may decrease blood pressure and reduce insulin resistance among patients with coronary heart disease, according to a report in the June 12 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.

Transcendental Meditation, derived from the ancient Vedic tradition in India, is taught through a standard protocol involving lectures, personal instruction and group meetings. It has previously been shown to lower blood pressure but its effect on other risk factors associated with coronary heart disease, including those linked to the metabolic syndrome, has not been thoroughly examined.

In the April 2004 issue of the American Journal of Hypertension, Dr. Barnes and his colleagues reported that 15 minutes of twice-daily transcendental meditation steadily lowered the blood pressure of 156 black, inner-city adolescents and their pressures tended to stay lower.

This new study, being presented during the 63rd Annual Scientific Conference of the American Psychosomatic Society held March 2-5 2007 in Vancouver, focused on 111 of those adolescents, 57 who meditated and 54 controls.

MCG researchers found among the meditators an increased ability of the blood vessel lining, called the endothelium, to relax. Dysfunction in the ability of the endothelium to dilate is an early event in heart disease, a process that starts at a young age,” says Dr. Barnes.

At four months and again at eight months, researchers used echocardiography to measure the diameter of the right brachial artery; the main artery that feeds the arm, before and after a blood pressure cuff was inflated for two minutes. They found essentially no difference in the ability of that vessel to relax after stress in either group at four months. But by eight months, EDAD or endothelial-dependent arterial dilation, was significantly improved in the meditators, says Dr. Barnes, noting that as with all lifestyle changes, the full benefits of meditating may take a while.

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