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Physicians explain role of Transcendental Meditation and diet in decreasing risk factors for cardiovascular disease

Ask the Doctors -    Translate This Article
1 April 2011

Three eminent physicians discuss beneficial effects of the Transcendental Meditation technique (TM) on risk factors for cardiovascular disease, in context of questions about the role of diet.

James Krag, M.D.,* César Molina, M.D., F.A.C.C.,** and Robert Schneider, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.A.B.M.R.,*** give comprehensive answers to questions on this topic on the Ask the Doctors website.

Q: I thought that hardening of the arteries was due primarily to genetic factors and diet. How is it that practice of Transcendental Meditation can reduce atherosclerosis?

Dr. Krag: You are right when you say that genetic factors are very important, but it is a medical fact that most people are not living as long as genes would potentially allow. Instead, they are dying years earlier. The foods you eat are important, but equally important is how your body metabolizes that food.

As an example, imagine a meal that is perfectly healthy in every way. One day you sit to eat when you are feeling calm and happy and are surrounded by loving family and friends. Another day you eat the exact same meal but you are tired, worried, angry and surrounded by discord. As far as your body is concerned, it is not the same meal and will be metabolized differently. Clearly, diet alone is not the key. The Transcendental Meditation technique produces a state of calm that we carry with us. Then we not only metabolize food better, we also ''metabolize'' everything that comes into the senses better.

Q: Don't I have to change my diet to get any improvement?

Dr. Schneider: No, the research showed that subjects who practiced the Transcendental Meditation technique experienced a reduction in coronary risk factors without any change in diet or lifestyle. Of course, it's always best to choose healthy foods for improved health and longevity.

Dr. Molina: No, there are no dietary requirements to practice the Transcendental Meditation technique. Changing your diet is not a requirement to practice the Transcendental Meditation program nor is it a requirement to obtain the benefits reported in research studies. However, it is always wise for patients to eat regular meals and to eat healthy, freshly prepared foods, especially fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains.

Click here for more about related scientific research.

Also see this related article about Transcendental Meditation and cardiovascular disease.

* James Krag, M.D., is a Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, president of the Psychiatric Society of Virginia, and former president of the Virginia Association of Community Psychiatrists for four years. He is currently Medical Director of Liberty Point, a residential treatment program for adolescents with psychiatric problems.

** César Molina, M.D., F.A.C.C., is Medical Director of the South Asian Heart Center at El Camino Hospital in Mountain View, California, USA. He is a graduate of Yale University School of Medicine and a fellow of the American College of Cardiology. Dr. Molina has recently appeared in the international edition of CNN discussing the benefits of diet and exercise in the treatment and prevention of coronary heart disease.

*** Robert Schneider, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.A.B.M.R., has been awarded more than $20 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the US for his pioneering research on natural approaches to heart disease. Dr. Schneider is the author of Total Heart Health and 100 medical research articles, and he has been featured in more than 1,000 media reports, including CNN Headline News, The New York Times, and Time magazine.

© Copyright 2011 American Association of Physicians Practicing the Transcendental Meditation Technique

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