Meditation May Benefit Heart Patients
Study: Black Patients With Heart Failure Improve Significantly After Meditation
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The remaining patients participated in nonmeditation-based educational
training that paralleled the time spent teaching the meditation technique. They
were then asked to listen to music or read for 20 minutes, twice each day, as a
way to relieve stress.
The researchers reported significant benefits for meditation in terms of
physical functioning, as measured by the six-minute walking test, and
depression. And just two heart-failure related events were reported in the
meditation group during the six-month study, compared with five in the patients
who did not meditate.
The findings are reported in the Winter 2007 edition of the journal
Ethnicity and Disease. The study was sponsored by the National Center
for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, a division of the National
Institutes of Health.
Stress Reduction Is Key
Although the researchers evaluated only TM, Jayadevappa says other types of
meditation may also benefit heart patients, as long as the practice helps lower
Florida cardiologist Gerald Fletcher, MD, of the Mayo Clinic in
Jacksonville, tells WebMD that other interventions designed to relieve stress
may also help prevent and treat heart disease.
He points to a recent study from Greece suggesting that taking a daily nap
can reduce the risk of death from heart disease.
"It is not easy to study the impact of stress reduction on the heart, so
we don’t have the hard data to prove unequivocally that meditating or taking
naps to relieve stress is beneficial," he says. "But it is certainly
something that deserves a more thorough look."