Findings published in Circulation suggest that practicing meditation can reduce the overall risk of heart attack and stroke. Participants in the study were randomly assigned to take part in either a health education class about diet and exercise, or to participate in a transcendental meditation program. The participants in both groups continued to receive their normal medical care, including medication.  After about five years of follow-up, the researchers found a 48% reduction in general risk of heart attack, stroke and death from any cause in the meditation group versus the health education group. “The main finding 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,” says Robert Schneider, lead author of the study.

Still, some experts are skeptical of the claim that meditation can reduce stress substantially. The group studied had 201 participants – larger trials are needed to substantiate the findings. However, these results may continue the discussion of meditation becoming a part of heart disease care in the future.  The practice of transcendental meditation involves closing off the outside world and focusing inward – an application that may be helpful to migraineurs as well……   11/14/12

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