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Effects of a randomized controlled trial of transcendental meditation on stress response.

02 Mar

Cardiology researchers from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles found that Transcendental Meditation (T M) can modulate the physiological response to stress and thus improve coronary heart disease risk factors..

Cardiology researchers from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles evaluated the efficacy of Transcendental Meditation (T M) on several aspects of metabolic syndrome. A total of 103 subjects were randomized to either 16 weeks of TM or active control treatment (health education), matched for frequency and time, in this placebo-controlled clinical trial.

Blood pressure, lipoprotein profile, and insulin resistance were measured, as well as brachial artery reactivity and heart rate variability.

The TM group had beneficial changes in adjusted systolic blood pressure, insulin resistance and heart rate variability as compared with the health education group. There was no effect of brachial artery reactivity.

The study concludes that using TM for 16 weeks in CHD patients improved blood pressure and insulin resistance components of the metabolic syndrome as well as cardiac autonomic nervous system tone, as compared with a control group receiving health education. These results suggest that TM may modulate the physiological response to stress and improve CHD risk factors, which may be a novel therapeutic target for the treatment of CHD.

Citation: Paul-Labrador M, Polk D, Dwyer JH, Velasquez I, Nidich S, Rainforth M, Schneider R, Merz CN. Effects of a randomized controlled trial of transcendental meditation on components of the metabolic syndrome in subjects with coronary heart disease. Archives of Internal Medicine. 2006 Jun 12; 166 (11): pages 1218-24.
Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award