Friday, October 14, 2011

Would Meditation Help Heart Disease Patients?

Any practice in which the practitioner trains his or her minds or self-induces a mode of consciousness can be called meditation. As it is generally an inwardly oriented, personal practice, people can usually practice it by themselves. While meditation has been practiced since thousands of years ago for various reasons, it is now commonly used for relaxation and stress reduction.

Since 1960s, meditation has been the subject of scientific research. There were more than 1,000 published studies that linked various methods of meditation to changes in bodily processes including metabolism, blood pressure, and brain activation.

Meanwhile, popularity of meditation has grown steadily. A 2007 study by the United States government found that about 9.4 percent of adults (over 20 million) had practiced meditation within the past 12 years, up from 7.6 percent (more than 15 million people) in 2002.

In a paper published on June 27, 2011 in the ‘Archives of Internal Medicine’, researchers from the Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa reported that meditation would cut the rate of death, heart attack and stroke by half.

The 9-year study on the effects of meditation of heart disease patients was funded by the National Institute of Health, and the stress-reducing technique used is Transcendental Meditation.

Trial was conducted at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee in collaboration with Schneider’s Institute. The study tracked 201 African American men and women, with an average age of 59. These participants had narrowing of arteries in their hearts. While staying on the prescribed medications, they were randomly assigned to either a meditation group or a control group that was given conventional health education classes.

A comparison of results from the 2 groups showed that those who practiced Transcendental Meditation had the risk of death, nonfatal heart attack and stroke decreased by 47 percent. Significant drops in blood pressure, stress and anger found among people in the meditation group might help explain the results.

Researchers felt that more studies should be carried out to confirm the results. They also pointed out that meditation should not be a substitute for drug therapy for heart disease patients.

The study, nevertheless, highlights a hope that health conditions of heart disease patients could be improve if these patients are taught how to effectively reduce psychosocial stress.


  1. This just goes to show that we need to look at heart disease, and health in general, holistically. There are many great benefits from meditation, and it would be no surprise to see a decreased risk of heart disease.

  2. Yes. I agree with the information present in this post. Meditation is one which provides healthy life. I hope meditation is also helpful in maintaining healthy heart.