Meditation Beats Drugs for Heart Disease

Photo courtesy Julia Whitty


A new clinical trial found that meditation cuts the risk of heart attack, stroke, and death by nearly 50 percent in patients with existing coronary heart disease—making relaxation and mental focusing as effective as powerful new drugs in treating heart disease, reports AAAS News.

The study tested transcendental meditation on 201 African American patients with narrowed coronary arteries who were at high risk factor for heart attack and stroke. All the patients were given standard prescription drugs, as well as an educational course in cardiovascular health. Half the patients also practiced transcendental meditation for 15 to 20 minutes a day.

The results? Patients who mediated on top of standard treatment experienced 47 percent fewer heart attacks, strokes, and deaths compared to the control group. The benefits lasted more than 5 years and up to 9 years in some patients.

In comparison, statin drugs taken to reduce cholesterol levels only lessen the risks of heart disease by 30 to 40 percent relative to existing treatments. Common blood pressure drugs reduce these outcomes by only 25 to 30 percent. Meditation proves as powerful as any new class of heart disease medications entering the market.

Oh, and once you’ve learned the technique, it’s free.

Om.
 

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  • Julia Whitty is the environmental correspondent for Mother Jones. Her latest book is Deep Blue Home: An Intimate Ecology of Our Wild Ocean. For more of her stories, click here.