Transcendental Meditation Can Help Ward Off Stroke
"What TM seems to do is enliven or enhance the body's own self-repair mechanisms," he tells WebMD. "We see this in terms of a decrease in hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, which affect the development of atherosclerosis [hardening of the arteries] in the blood vessels."
For people interested in trying TM, Schneider suggests checking the phone book under "meditation" or "transcendental meditation." "Trained TM instructors are available in every major city, not just in the U.S., but all over the world," he says.
"This is one of the few proven stress management techniques that has been tested with our best science," says Noel Bairey-Merz, MD, director of the Preventive Cardiology Center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. She was not involved in this study, but is working with the authors on the effect of TM in preventing sudden death in people at high risk of heart disease. "I would concur that it appears to have an effect on blood pressure and carotid artery thickness, and it has no adverse effects. I would say this is ready for prime time."
- Researchers say the ancient practice of transcendental meditation, or TM, may have a new benefit: lowering the risk of heart attack and stroke by lessening blood vessel blockage.
- The researchers found that two 20-minute sessions of daily TM led to a widening of the space inside the practitioners' arteries. In the comparison group, which did leisure activities instead of TM, arterial thickening continued to worsen.
- An associate of the researchers, who is working with them on a similar study, agrees that TM is helpful, because it seems to benefit both blood pressure and the flow of blood through the neck arteries that serve the brain.