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Meditation: The silent path of the spirit is good for the heart
by Lynne Hasselmann, MPH
Health Plus Translate This Article
14 August 2005
On 14 August 2005 Health Plus reported:
Meditation, long an important part of Christian, Jewish, Hindu, and Buddhist traditions, is attracting a new generation of advocates as research demonstrates the strong correlation between spirituality and good health. The Vanderbilt University staff and faculty wellness programme newsletter cited two recent studies on the Transcendental Meditation Programme (TM) and noted that the technique is a simple, practical way to combat anxiety and relieve stress.
It is a joy for Global Good News service to feature this news, which indicates the success of the life-supporting programmes Maharishi has designed to bring
fulfilment to the field of health.
The first 'remarkable study' discussed was published in Stroke, a journal of the American Heart Association (AHA). It showed that the accumulation of fatty plaques on artery walls actually diminished in people who practised TM for 20 minutes twice a day.
In the study, one hundred thirty-eight African American adults with borderline or high blood pressure were randomly assigned to either a Transcendental Meditation (TM) programme or an education programme about heart disease risk factors. The results showed that those in the meditation group reduced their risk of a heart attack by 11 per cent and their risk of a stroke from between 7.7 per cent to 15 per cent. The heart disease education group had actually increased their risk factors.
The second study looked at was published in Psychosomatic Medicine. The research indicated that Transcendental Meditation results in greater decreases in systolic blood pressure than relaxation alone.
The study looked at 32 healthy adults, 16 men and 16 women, between the ages of 39 and 55. The participants were tested before and during 20 minutes of open-eyed relaxation, 20 minutes of TM (TM group), and 20 minutes of eyes-closed relaxation (control group). The TM group experienced significant decreases in systolic blood pressure and total peripheral resistance (constriction of the blood vessels) during both phases of the study.
Continuing to look at positive effects of spiritual practices, the article noted that researchers are now looking into how spirituality influences recovery following cardiac surgery. It noted that preliminary research has indicated strong belief systems can positively affect wound closure, pain levels, medication usage, and the length of hospital stay for patients treated for heart disease.
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