American Heart Association Recommends TM

New report by   American Heart Association informs doctors that
Transcendental   Meditation lowers blood pressure

A report   from the American Heart Association published on April 22 2013 concluded that   the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique lowers blood pressure, and   recommends that TM may be considered in clinical practice for the prevention   and treatment of hypertension.

The purpose of the report, entitled “Beyond Medications and Diet —   Alternative Approaches to Lowering Blood Pressure: A Scientific Statement   From the American Heart Association,” is to inform physicians which   alternative approaches to lowering blood pressure have been shown by research   to be effective.

After considering meta-analyses and the latest clinical trials on different   types of meditation, the report stated that while Transcendental Meditation   is recommended to lower BP, there is not enough scientific evidence to   recommend other meditation or relaxation techniques.

“This is an important breakthrough in the evolution of medical practice,   since it is the first time that the Transcendental Meditation technique has   been recognised and recommended for consideration by a national medical   organisation that provides professional practice guidelines to physicians,   health care payers, and policymakers,” said Robert Schneider, MD, FACC,   director of the Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention who has been   the principal investigator for several research studies on the Transcendental   Meditation technique and cardiovascular disease. “This type of guideline   statement has been what health insurance companies have been requesting for   many years.”

The authors of the report assessed three categories of alternative   approaches: behavioural therapies such as meditation, non-invasive procedures   or devices, and exercise-based regimens. The report did not review diets or   dietary supplements.

Part of the impetus for this statement from the AHA came from the patients   themselves, who are sometimes reluctant to take medication. “A common request   from patients is, ‘I don’t like to take medications, what can I do to lower   my blood pressure?’”said Robert Brook, MD, chair of the expert panel that   authored the report. “We wanted to provide some direction.”

Meta-analyses referenced in the report found that Transcendental Meditation   practice lowers blood pressure on average 5 mmHg systolic and 3 mmHg   diastolic. Although this is by some accounts modest, Dr Schneider pointed out   that for millions of people with high blood pressure, this reduction may help   to bring them into a more normal range or prevent the need for hypertension   medication with attendant side effects and costs.  Clinical trials have   shown that lower blood pressure through Transcendental Meditation practice is   associated with significantly lower rates of death, heart attack, and stroke.

“We are gratified that our research demonstrating the efficacy of TM on blood   pressure is being recognised and hope that this consensus will result in its   wider use in clinical practice,” said C. Noel Bairey Merz, professor of   medicine at Cedars Sinai Medical Center and principal investigator for an   NIH-sponsored clinical trial on Transcendental Meditation and cardiovascular   health.

The report also recognised that Transcendental Meditation is generally   considered safe and without harmful side effects. As an additional advantage,   the statement noted that many of the reviewed alternative therapies, such as   meditation, may provide a range of health or psychological benefits beyond BP   lowering or cardiovascular risk reduction.

The report concluded that, “It is the consensus of the writing group that it   is reasonable for all individuals with blood pressure levels >120/80 mm Hg   to consider trials of alternative approaches as adjuvant methods to help   lower blood pressure when clinically appropriate.”

UK press contact:   Charles Cunningham (+44) 208 894 9229;


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