November 19, 2009

Meditation reduces heart attack risk


by Benjamin Graham

People with heart disease who practice meditation significantly reduce their risk of having a heart attack, new research has discovered.

Heart disease patients who practised Transcendental Meditation were 47% less likely to suffer from a heart attack or stroke, the study found.

The nine-year study of 201 African-Americans was conducted by the Medical College of Wisconsin with the Maharishi University in Iowa.

Those participating in the study were randomly assigned tasks. Some were told to meditate, others to take part in health education.

Dr Robert Schneider, lead author of the research, and director of the Centre for Natural Medicine and Prevention at the Maharishi University in Iowa, said: “At the end of the 9 years, 80% of the meditation group were still practising at least once a day.

“But there was very little change in the health education group.

“Their lifestyle was much the same in terms of diet and exercise – it’s a very difficult thing to make those changes.”

According to Schneider, Transcendental Meditation has in the past been shown to reduce blood pressure and stress.

“This is the first controlled clinical trial to show that long-term practise of this particular stress reduction programme reduces the incidence of clinical cardiovascular events, that is heart attacks, strokes and mortality,” he said.

Transcendental Meditation, made famous by the Beatles, is based on an Ancient Indian tradition of enlightenment.

It involves sitting quietly and focusing the mind on a silent mantra.

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