Want yet another way to lower your risk of heart attack and stroke??
According to the latest study, we have the strongest reasons ever to get into the habit of meditation. It's no longer a practice of the kooky, but rather a practice of the healthy!
“The main finding [of our research] is that, added on top of usual medical care, intervention with a mind-body technique — transcendental meditation — can have a major effect on cardiovascular events."
The study followed 201 African American men and women, who are at higher risk of heart disease than whites, but also had also been diagnosed with coronary heart disease.
Everyone had their normal medical care, but some were randomly assigned a transcendental meditation program. The others were given a health education class about heart-friendly diet and exercise. If you don't know what transcendental meditation is, it involves shutting out the outside world and focusing thoughts inward, or resting while remaining alert.
They followed up for 5 years!
Meditation caused a 48% reduction in the overall risk of heart attack, stroke, and death from any cause compared to those from the health education group. The meditating group had an average drop of 4.9 mm Hg in systolic blood pressure compared to the control group and also reported less stress and less anger!
The only problem is, this study was pretty exclusive and involved a small number of people — plus it doesn't tell us how or why this works. Makes us think it's all about stress management though!
In the end, it doesn't hurt to try!
[Image via AP Images.]