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    Meditation May Benefit Heart Patients

    Study: Black Patients With Heart Failure Improve Significantly After Meditation

    What Is Heart Failure? continued...

    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 stress.

    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."

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