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Meditation decreases blood pressure

Transcendental Meditation decreases blood pressure by reducing constriction of the blood vessels and thereby decreases the risk of heart disease, new research shows.

Scientists at the Medical College of Georgia examined how Transcendental Meditation decreases constriction of blood vessels and effects the heart's output.

"For years we've known that long-term practitioners of Transcendental Meditation generally have lower blood pressure than others the same age," said Vernon A. Barnes, Ph.D., lead researcher in the study. "We are now beginning to understand the underlying mechanisms responsible for the beneficial influence of Transcendental Meditation on risk factors for heart disease. One of these mechanisms may be reduced blood pressure related to reduced vasoconstriction."

The researchers conducted two tests with 18 long-term daily Transcendental Meditation practitioners and a control group of 14 very healthy middle aged adults who did not meditate.

In the first test, both groups were simply at rest with eyes open. In the second test, for the Transcendental Meditation group only, participants were told to close their eyes and "begin meditating." For the control group only, participants were told to close their eyes and "relax as completely as possible." The results of the study appear in the current issue of Psychosomatic Medicine.

Measurements were taken before, during, and after each session. The participants' cardiac output, vasoconstriction, heart rate, heart stroke volume, and blood pressure were measured with blood pressure cuffs and two sets of tetrapolar electrodes, one emitting current and the other sensing for thoracic bioimpedance-derived measures of stroke volume.

During the 20-minute resting session, the Transcendental Meditation group showed significant decreases in systolic blood pressure and vasoconstriction while meditating, compared with increases in the control group while resting.

The Transcendental Meditat
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Contact: Vernon A. Barnes, Ph.D. or Frank Treiber, Ph.D.
vbarnes@mail.mcg.edu
706-721-2195
Center for the Advancement of Health
2-Aug-1999


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