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Major risk factors for atherosclerosis reduced through Transcendental Meditation

Ask the Doctors -    Translate This Article
10 September 2011

Cardiologist and researcher Robert Schneider,* M.D., F.A.C.C., F.A.B.M.R., discusses the effects of the Transcendental Meditation technique in reducing risk factors for atherosclerosis.

Q: How can the Transcendental Meditation technique affect the physical risk factors for atherosclerosis (commonly known as hardening of the arteries), such as blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and insulin resistance? 

Dr. Schneider:
It's true that atherosclerosis is caused by a variety of risk factors, such as high blood pressure, smoking, high cholesterol, metabolic syndrome or insulin resistance. In addition there are underlying biochemical imbalances due to free radicals or oxidative stress. Research has shown that chronic stress contributes to the development and progression of atherosclerosis directly and by increasing just about every other risk factor for heart disease. The effects of chronic stress are mediated by stress hormones such as cortisol and by the sympathetic nervous system, which releases adrenaline and noradrenalin.

Research on the Transcendental Meditation program has shown that it deceases most of the major risk factors for atherosclerosis [heart disease]—psychological stress, high blood pressure, smoking, cholesterol, oxidized lipids, and insulin resistance. At the level of neurohormones, there are reductions in stress hormones and sympathetic nervous system disorders. The neuroendocrine and cardiovascular changes are likely the result of greater orderliness and balance in the central nervous system.

Besides reduction in cardiovascular risk factors, research has shown reductions in narrowing of the arteries (regression of atherosclerosis), reduced hypertrophy of the heart (left ventricular hypertrophy), and reductions in mortality from heart disease and other causes. So this is a well-established sequence of events whereby transcending through the Transcendental Meditation technique leads to greater heart health.

Click here for more about Transcendental Meditation and coronary risk factors, including related research showing reduced atherosclerosis/stroke, lower blood pressure, decreased cholesterol, reduced congestive heart failure, decreased free radicals, and metabolic syndrome/pre-diabetes.

* 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) 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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