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Medical researcher on how Transcendental Meditation reduces high blood pressure

Ask the Doctors -    Translate This Article
8 September 2011

Physiologist and researcher Vernon Barnes, Ph.D,* discusses the causes of hypertension and the effects of the Transcendental Meditation technique in reducing blood pressure.

Q: What are the possible causes of high blood pressure and heart disease? 

Dr. Barnes:
Factors such as advancing age, genetic predisposition, being overweight, and living a sedentary lifestyle—along with dietary factors such as too much salt and sodium—are commonly attributed as the cause of high blood pressure. Exaggerated cardiovascular reactivity to stress, due to exposure to both chronic and acute psychosocial and environmental stressors, has also been hypothesized as playing a particularly significant role in the development of hypertension. This is where regular practice of a stress reduction technique, such as Transcendental Meditation, could be very helpful.

Recurrent and/or sustained exaggerated increases in blood pressure responses to stress are associated with naturally accompanying increases in heart and blood vessel wall tension. It is hypothesized that over time the Transcendental Meditation practice leads to secondary cardiovascular structural adaptation; that is, blood vessel and heart muscle wall remodeling to help normalize heart muscle and blood vessel wall tension.

These results concern the Transcendental Meditation technique specifically and may not apply to other techniques of meditation as not all the techniques work in the same way. By way of introduction, the Transcendental Meditation technique has been described as a simple, natural procedure, practiced for 20 minutes twice a day while sitting comfortably with one's eyes closed. The Transcendental Meditation technique has its origin in the ancient Vedic approach to health. It is not a religion and does not require changes in personal belief, lifestyle, or philosophy.

Click here for more about Transcendental Meditation and hypertension, including lower blood pressure, reduced atherosclerosis/stroke, reduced congestive heart failure, decreased free radicals, reduced metabolic syndrome/pre-diabetes, reduced stress and faster recovery from stress, and decreased cholesterol.

* Vernon Barnes, Ph.D., is a researcher at the Georgia Prevention Institute of the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, which received $1.5 million from the American Heart Association and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to study the effects of the Transcendental Meditation technique on African American teens at risk for high blood pressure.

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

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