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Transcendental Meditation program helps heart disease patients lower cardiac disease risks by 47 percent

Transcendental Meditation - USA
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17 January 2011

Patients with coronary heart disease who practiced the Transcendental Meditation® technique had nearly 50 percent lower rates of heart attack, stroke, and death compared to non-meditating controls, according to the results of the first-ever study.

The trial was sponsored by a $3.8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) – National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, and was conducted at The Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee in collaboration with the Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, USA.

The randomized, controlled trial followed 201 African American men and women, with an average age of 59 years, who had narrowing of arteries in their hearts. Participants were randomly assigned to either practice the Transcendental Meditation technique or to participate in a control group who received health education classes in traditional risk factors, including dietary modification and exercise. All participants continued standard medications and other usual medical care.

Results for the group practicing the TM technique included:
∙ A 47 percent reduction in the combination of death, heart attacks, and strokes
∙ Clinically significant (5 mm Hg average) reduction in blood pressure associated with decrease in clinical events
∙ Significant reductions in psychological stress in the high-stress subgroup

''This study is an example of the contribution of a lifestyle intervention—stress management—to the prevention of cardiovascular disease in high-risk patients,'' said Theodore Kotchen, M.D., co-author of the study, professor of medicine, and associate dean for clinical research at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Other investigators at the Milwaukee site included Drs. Jane Kotchen and Clarence Grim.

According to Robert Schneider, M.D., FACC, co-author and director of the Center for Natural Medicine and Prevention at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, ''Previous research on Transcendental Meditation has shown reductions in blood pressure, psychological stress, and other risk factors for heart disease, irrespective of ethnicity. But this is the first controlled, clinical trial to show that long-term practice of this particular stress reduction program reduces the incidence of clinical cardiovascular events, that is, heart attacks, strokes and mortality.''

Dr. Schneider said that the effect of the Transcendental Meditation technique in the trial was like adding a class of newly discovered medications for the prevention of heart disease. ''In this case, the new medications are derived from the body's own internal pharmacy stimulated by the Transcendental Meditation practice,'' he said.

Results of the nine-year study were presented at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association in Orlando, Florida on November 16, 2009.

Fast Facts on Coronary Heart Disease:
∙ Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the leading cause of death in the United States.
∙ There are nearly 1.5 million heart attacks per year in the US, according to the American Heart Association.
∙ An American will suffer a heart attack every 34 seconds.
∙ Coronary heart disease is also the leading cause of health care costs. More than $475 billion is spent annually on treating CHD, including: - $100,000 for each coronary bypass surgery
- $50,000 for each angioplasty
- $30,000 for each diagnostic cardiac catheterization
∙ There are nearly 500,000 coronary artery bypass grafts and 1.3 million angioplasties performed every year.
∙ Stress is thought to contribute to the development of CHD.

© Copyright 2011 Maharishi Foundation USA

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