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Meditation protects against cancer and heart attack

Elderly people who do transcendental meditation live longer, and meditation reduces the chance of dying from cancer or cardiovascular disease. This is the conclusion from a re-analysis of two studies on the health effects of meditation among people over 55, in which the researchers grouped the results together.

Meditation protects against cancer and heart attack
Faithful Ergo-log readers will already be familiar with one of the studies that the researchers used for their re-analysis: we wrote about it a few days ago. The Maharishi University conducted research on people in their eighties, and one of the groups was taught meditation techniques. The other study that these researchers used was one done on elderly black Americans with high blood pressure. In this study one group of test subjects was also given a Transcendental Meditation (TM) course. Control groups were given information on health or were taught a relaxation technique.

The researchers monitored the test subjects for an average of almost eight years. In a few cases the researchers monitored test subjects for as long as nineteen years. The graph below shows the effect of transcendental meditation on the death rate. The solid line represents the TM group.

Meditation protects against cancer and heart attack

The effect is most clear in the first ten years after learning transcendental meditation. We should mention that the researchers had little data on the test subjects that were monitored for a longer period.

Transcendental meditation reduces the chance of dying by 23 percent. Further analysis of the data showed that transcendental meditation reduces the chance of a fatal heart attack by 30 percent and the chance of dying from cancer by 50 percent. Meditation had no effect on diabetes-2.

The test subjects had high blood pressure. Meditation reduced their blood pressure in the same way as you would expect from treatment in the form of medication, the researchers write.

Although the researchers were linked to the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s TM University, the company did not finance the research completely. The researchers also received American government money through the National Institutes of Health.

Am J Cardiol. 2005 May 1;95(9):1060-4.

Meditation lengthens lifespan 20.02.2009