Could Meditation Cut Heart Disease Risk?
For World Health Day on September 29, the American Heart Association (AHA) released its first-ever statement suggesting meditation may reduce the risk for heart disease. According to the AHA, the key word is “may.”
Although researchers have discovered possible heart benefits from meditation, most of the 57 studies they examined were small and inconclusive. The researchers mostly included studies involving common types of “sitting meditation,” such as samatha, mindful meditation, and transcendental meditation. They excluded studies that involved meditation with physical activity, such as yoga and Tai Chi.
The effects of meditation on stress, mental health, and conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have been well studied and documented, but research on meditation and heart health remains somewhat limited. According to a survey conducted by the National Institutes of Health, 17 percent of heart patients surveyed expressed interest in participating in a meditation clinical trial. But until more research is done, the AHA recommends adherence to proven cardiovascular disease therapies, and using meditation as an added boost to cardiovascular health, if you want.