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Hard evidence grows for including meditation in government-sponsored health programs
Maharishi University of Management Translate This Article
17 October 2012
This model shows how regular practice of the Transcendental Meditation program may reduce chronic stress, which in turn reduces cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors and improves stress reactivity, thereby decreasing cardiovascular disease, and consequential morbidity and mortality.
More people still die from cardiovascular disease than any other illness. Dubbed the number one killer and the silent killer, modern medicine has been researching and incorporating complementary and alternative approaches to help treat and in some cases reverse and hopefully prevent this health problem at an earlier stage of the disease. One of those modalities is meditation.
A new research review paper on the effects of the stress-reducing Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique on the prevention and treatment of heart disease among youth and adults provides the hard evidence needed to include such evidence-based alternative approaches into private- and government-sponsored wellness programs aimed at preventing and treating cardiovascular disease.
The paper, ''Prevention and Treatment of Cardiovascular Disease in Adolescents and Adults through the Transcendental Meditation® Program: A Research Review Update,'' is published in Current Hypertension Reviews, 2012, Vol. 8, No. 3.
∙ In teens, the TM technique has been found to reduce blood pressure, improve heart structure and improve school behavior. According to the paper, the technique has been shown to be a safe alternative. The NIH-sponsored clinical trials conducted with TM mentioned in this review did not observe any adverse effects from TM practice.
∙ In adults the technique reduced stress hormones and other physiological measures of stress and produced more rapid recovery from stress, decreased blood pressure and use of blood pressure medication, decreased heart pain in angina patients, cleared the arteries, reducing the risk of stroke, improved distance walked in patients with congestive heart failure, and decreased alcohol and tobacco use, anxiety, depression, and medical care usage and expenditures. The technique also decreased risk of death from heart disease, cancer, and all causes.
''These findings have important implications for inclusion of the Transcendental Meditation program in medical efforts to prevent and treat cardiovascular disease,'' says Dr. Vernon Barnes, lead author and research scientist at Georgia Health Sciences University, in Augusta, Georgia.
''This review is potentially more important than individual research papers because it shows that TM has an integrated, holistic effect on all levels of cardiovascular disease,'' says co-author Dr. David Orme-Johnson.
Orme-Johnson says that no other meditation technique has been shown to produce this constellation of changes, especially when it comes to hard measures of cardiovascular disease.
Dr. Barnes said it was important to start preventing heart disease with adolescents before the disease sets. ''Adding Transcendental Meditation at a young age could prevent future cardiovascular disease and save many lives, not to mention reduce the national medical bill by billions of dollars.''
Global Good News will feature more about this research review paper, with reference to the 'uniqueness of the Transcendental Meditation technique', in a subsequent article.
Contact: Ken Chawkin
+1 641-470-1314 Maharishi University of Management
© Copyright 2012 by AAAS, the science society
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