Heart-related illnesses are at epidemic levels all over the world. Millions have high blood pressure and cardiovascular problems, and when most of them visit the doctor they come away with powerful medicines that can cause troublesome side-effects.
But science and modern medicine are catching up to the fact that it’s not just about pills anymore.
Research published in “Current Hypertension Reviews”, shows that Transcendental Meditation can deliver some pretty impressive health benefits.
It’s been around for so long because it works, and practitioners know that it reduces stress, combats anxiety and fights depression. But what wasn’t known before now was that it can also play a role in improving cardiovascular health.
It’s not just the relaxing effects that help to lower high blood pressure. It’s also great at clearing arterial plaque, so between them, these two effects significantly reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Not to mention that it can fix heart pain, which is a blessing for heart failure patients.
If meditation has a side effect, then it’s probably this: people who did it regularly were found to be less likely to use harmful substances like alcohol, drugs and cigarettes. So, even the side-effects are good for you!
Researchers say that it works by allowing the body to reach a deep state of rest, even though the mind is still awake. This combination of resting while being alert lets the body attend to “repairs” without the need to fall asleep. Not that it takes the place of sleep, but it does add an extra restorative power to the body’s recuperation toolbox.
Meditation isn’t an exotic skill that only specialists can practice. It’s a tool for self-healing and well-being that all of us can use.
If you can spare 15-20 minutes out of your day and you have access to a quiet place, then you can easily get started. Begin by focusing on your breathing, and if it helps to listen to sounds of nature or calming music, then you can do this. There is no right or wrong way, so you can experiment to find what suits you. Some people repeat prayers while others prefer to recite positive affirmations, such as, “Love, peace, gratitude”.
The difficult part is doing it. It sounds very simple, but many of us are so used to lives filled with noise that the act of sitting calmly and peacefully and focusing without distraction can be hard at first. But with practice you will find your groove, and even after your very first session you will feel calmer and more peaceful. You may even find that your blood pressure drops.
This study is one that we welcome because our own mind/body exercises (which resemble meditation) have helped thousands of clients to help themselves.
But it’s worth pointing out that our exercises were designed to lower blood pressure, so they’re even more effective than meditation.
They are so effective that most people with high blood pressure experience see those drop below 120/80 inside a week. Some people manage this even on the first day.
And the beauty of this approach is that there is nothing to learn, because all you need to do is follow along with the guided audio.