The first-of-its-kind, long-term, randomized trial evaluated 202 men and women, average age 71, who had mildly elevated blood pressure. Subjects in the study participated in the Transcendental Meditation program; behavioral techniques, such as mindfulness or progressive muscle relaxation; or health education. The study tracked subjects for up to 18 years. Vital statistics were obtained from the National Death Index.
The study found that compared to combined controls, the TM group showed:
- 23% reduction in the rate of death from all causes
- 30% reduction in the rate of death from cardiovascular disease
- 49% reduction in the rate of death from cancer
Transcendental Meditation Reduces Risk Factors in Heart Disease
"Research has found the Transcendental Meditation program reduces risk factors in heart disease and other chronic disorders, such as high blood pressure, smoking, psychological stress, stress hormones, harmful cholesterol, and atherosclerosis," said Robert Schneider, M.D., FACC, principal author of the study and director of the Center of Natural Medicine and Prevention.
"These reductions slow the aging process and promote the long-term reductions in death rates."
Researchers collaborated on the study from Harvard, University of Iowa, Medical College of Georgia, West Oakland Health Center, and Maharishi University of Management. The study was funded, in part, by a grant from the National Institutes of Health's National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
Interviews and b-roll are available.
The Center of Natural Medicine and Prevention at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, was established by an $8 million grant from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, a component of the National Institutes of Health, to serve as a Specialized Center for Research and to study natural medicine in relation to cardiovascular disease in minority populations.