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17697Meditation can cut heart attacks by as much as half

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  • medit8ionsociety
    Jun 28 4:33 AM
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      Transcendental meditation, the relaxation technique
      made famous by the Beatles, can cut heart attack and
      stroke death rates by up to 50%, new research has found.

      The practice, which involves the continual repeating
      of a mantra, was found to reduce high blood pressure,
      cholesterol and thickening of the arteries. It is
      also protects against diabetes.

      "This is a seminal finding," said Dr Norman Rosenthal
      of the American government's National Institute
      of Mental Health.
      "The prevention of heart attack and stroke and
      actual lengthening of lifespan by an alternative
      treatment method is exceedingly rare, if not unprecedented.
      "If Transcendental Meditation were a drug conferring so many benefits, it would be a billion-dollar blockbuster."
      Stress is a major factor in heart disease and
      meditation experts say the technique can help control it.

      Researchers at the Medical College of Wisconsin
      followed 201 men and women with an average age of
      59 who suffered from the narrowing of arteries in
      their hearts for nine years.

      Half of the group were taught Transcendental
      Meditation along with their normal treatment
      while the others just received advice on how
      to modify their diets and exercise routines.

      They found that those who regularly meditated
      reduced their chances of dying or having a heart
      attack or stroke by 47 per cent compared with
      those who received traditional care.

      In those who were particularly enthusiastic about
      the meditation or unusually susceptible to stress,
      the results were even stronger.

      They showed a two-thirds reduction in chances
      of dying during the trial.

      Professor Theodore Kotchen, the co-author of
      the £2.5 million trial, said: "These findings
      are the strongest documented effects yet produced
      by a mind-body intervention on cardiovascular disease.

      "The effect is as large or larger than major
      categories of drug treatment for cardiovascular disease."

      "This study builds on previous research findings
      showing that the Transcendental Meditation program
      reduces high blood pressure, high cholesterol,
      insulin resistance, psychological stress, and
      atherosclerosis, and takes it to the next step —
      lower rates of death, heart attack, and stroke,"
      explained Dr Robert Schneider, co-author.

      The research was carried out in the African American
      population but there is no reason that the same results
      would not be repeated in the wider world.

      Cardiovascular disease is Britain's biggest killer
      accounting for almost 200,000 deaths a year.

      The researchers said that meditation technique
      should be used as a compliment to the usual drug
      treatment and not as an alternative.

      Transcendental meditation. which is based on an
      ancient tradition of enlightenment in India, involves
      sitting quietly and concentrating to focus the
      mind inwards by silently repeating a mantra – a word or phrase.

      The practice, which is carried out for 20 minutes,
      twice a day, is said to induce inner peace by allowing
      thoughts to flow in and out of the mind.

      It was popularised in the 1960s through the Beatles
      who learnt the technique through their guru
      Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

      The study was due to appear in Archives of Internal
      Medecine but last night its editor said publication
      was being delayed while last minute data provided by
      the research team was analysed.
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