Transcendental Meditation can effectively reduce high blood pressure, according to a recent meta-analysis of 107 published studies on high blood pressure and stress reduction programs. The study appears in a recent issue of Current Hypertension Reports.
The Transcendental Meditation technique produces a significant reduction in high blood pressure that is not found with other forms of stress management, meditation or biofeedback. The new meta-analysis reviewed trials of all relaxation and stress reduction methods in participants with high blood pressure that have been published in scientific journals.
Blood pressure reductions for the Transcendental Meditation technique included an average of 5.0 points on systolic blood pressure and 2.8 on diastolic blood pressure, according to the review. Significant changes in blood pressure were not produced with the other relaxation and stress reduction programs.
Among participants in the Transcendental Meditation program, blood pressure changes associated with Transcendental Meditation practice were consistent with other studies showing improved markers of heart disease, reductions in cardiovascular risk factors and reduced mortality rates.
The recent meta-analysis was conducted by researchers at the NIH-funded Institute of Natural Medicine and Prevention at Maharishi University of Management and the University of Kentucky College of Medicine.
The findings of the review contradict a July 2007 report sponsored by the NIH-National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, which concluded that the majority of research on meditation found little evidence that any specific stress reduction method effectively lowers blood pressure. The recent meta-analysis included high quality studies on stress reduction interventions published through 2006.
Most of the Transcendental Meditation studies were funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health and were conducted at five independent medical institutions and universities.
"The magnitude of the changes in blood pressure with the Transcendental Meditation technique are at least as great as the changes found with major changes in diet or exercise that doctors often recommend," Anderson said. "Yet the Transcendental Meditation technique does not require changes in lifestyle. Thus many patients with mild hypertension or prehypertension may be able to avoid the need to take blood pressure medications--all of which have adverse side effects. Individuals with more severe forms of hypertension may be able to reduce the number or dosages of their BP medications under the guidance of their doctor.”
"This is important to everyone because cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in the U.S. and worldwide," said Anderson. Long-term reductions in blood pressure indicated by the findings of the Transcendental Meditation studies are associated with at least a 15 percent reduction in rates of stroke and heart attack.
The recent meta-analysis identifies the Transcendental Meditation program as more effective in reducing blood pressure when compared to other scientifically studied techniques, according to Dr. Robert Schneider, director of the Institute of Natural Medicine and Prevention and study co-author.
“In addition, related studies show an integrated set of positive 'side benefits' of Transcendental Meditation such as reduced stress, reduced heart disease levels and longer lifespan with this technique; restoring balance in the cardiovascular system, mind and body,” said Schneider. “For those 100 million Americans with elevated blood pressure, here is a scientifically documented, yet simple and easy way to lower blood pressure without drugs and harmful side effects.”
For more information about Transcendental Meditation for health and wellness, call Dr. Richard Browne, Acupuncture Physician, at (305) 595-9500.