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Aum, I have a question.

Posted by wmagnus On November - 16 - 2009

Long touted as a great way to get your mellow, Transcendental Meditation has been looked at by medical researchers for years. Are there physical effects that follow the purported mental and spiritual benefits of mantra meditation?

Since first appearing in the West in the mid-twentieth century, the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi‘s teachings of transcendental meditation have been the focus of much scientific research. Until now, there has been little to show clear and long term benefits to this type of meditation.

Researchers at the Medical College of Wisconsin today announced findings that are remarkable. It appears after a nine year study that people with known disease have fewer heart attacks and strokes if they meditate.

The nine-year study followed 201 African American men and women. All of the participants averaged 59 years old and had known narrowing of the arteries in the hearts. They were either assigned to learn Transcendental Meditation or to participate in a control group which received traditional health classes including diet and exercise. Everybody got the usual treatments for their heart condition.

The study found that those in the meditation group had:

  • 47% reduced incidence of death, heart attacks, and strokes
  • Significantly reduced blood pressure and fewer blood pressure related problems
  • Much less psychological stress

What makes this exciting is that a technique known for years and yet to be proven truly beneficial can, as an add on to traditional treatments, make a big difference in the progress of a major killer like heart disease.

This is certainly not the first study of meditation. Previous studies support the notion that meditation can have a role in reducing blood pressure during meditation, improving quality of life for chronic heart failure (CHF) patients, reducing metabolic syndrome, impacting atherosclerosis, and even possibly reducing death rates in the elderly.

There are many potential benefits. It’s worth pointing out that meditation is something anybody can do almost regardless of their present level of health, and requires no expensive, specialized equipment. However, since improved vitamin D levels have been associated with lower rates of stroke, heart attack, and heart disease, you might consider meditating outdoors.

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