Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Health & Balance

Font Size

Meditation May Cut Heart Disease Death

Path to Enlightenment Could Lower Risk of Dying in People at Risk for High Blood Pressure
WebMD Health News

May 2, 2005 -- Want to live longer? Good genes, plenty of exercise, and eating right should help, but you might also want to sit down, close your eyes, and breathe.

There is increasing evidence that meditation is not only good for the soul, but for the body as wellmeditation is not only good for the soul, but for the body as well. It has been embraced by Western medicine as a powerful tool for lowering stress, reducing chronic pain, and even lowering blood pressure.

Now comes word that it can also prolong your life. A follow-up of two studies of transcendental meditationtranscendental meditation (TM) conducted in the late 1980s and mid-1990s showed that people who had normal to high blood pressure and who practiced the technique were 23% less likely to die than people who did not.

The TM group had a 30% decrease in the rate of deaths due to heart disease and stroke and a 50% reduced rate of cancer deaths. However, the number of cancers was not large enough in these studies for this to be a significant finding.

TM advocate Robert H. Schneider, MD, of the Maharishi University Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention, tells WebMD that one of the most significant findings was that meditation appeared to be as effective as drug therapy for preventing deaths from heart disease.

"None of the conventionally recommended nondrug treatments for hypertension, such as salt restriction, exercise, and even weight loss, have been proven to have an impact on deaths from heart disease," he says. "This is the first time that I am aware of that any nondrug treatment has been shown to do this."

Living in the Moment

There is no denying that meditation has gone mainstream. No longer the exclusive domain of New Age types, more than 10 million Americans now practice some form of meditation on a regular basis. For many, the practice has been recommended by a physician.

At New York's Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, psychologist Patricia Vroom, PhD, teaches meditation to cancer patients. The aim is not to cure their cancer but to help them reduce anxiety and stress.

Today on WebMD

woman in yoga class
6 health benefits of yoga.
beautiful girl lying down of grass
10 relaxation techniques to try.
mature woman with glass of water
Do you really need to drink 8 glasses of water a day?
coffee beans in shape of mug
Get the facts.
Take your medication
Hand appearing to hold the sun
Hungover man
Welcome mat and wellington boots
Woman worn out on couch
Happy and sad faces
Fingertip with string tied in a bow
laughing family