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April 8th, 2010 at 9:55 am

Studies Find Meditation Could Be An Antidote For High Blood Pressure and Depression

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The Beatles and Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in Wales in 1967

It was embraced by The Beatles and became synonymous with the 1960s hippy lifestyle of peace and love.  Now medical experts believe transcendental meditation could be used to treat high blood pressure and psychological problems.

 

More than five decades after the relaxation therapy became popular, two studies have found that it worked significantly better than good diet and exercise in tackling the stresses of modern life.

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Transcendental meditation – known as TM – was spread by the teaching of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who started a worldwide movement in 1957.

The technique involves the daily chanting of a mantra. Advocates include film directors Clint Eastwood and David Lynch and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg. 

Following research in the U.S., natural medicine expert Dr Robert Schneider said: ‘The clinically significant reductions in depression without drugs or psychotherapy in these studies suggest the transcendental meditation programme may improve mental and associated physical health in older high-risk subjects.’

The two studies, at Charles Drew University in Los Angeles and the University of Hawaii, looked at more than 100 people aged 55 years and older who were at risk from cardiovascular disease.

Those who practised TM showed a 48 per cent reduction in depressive symptoms compared with those given dietary and exercise advice.

Dr Sanford Nidich, of Maharishi University of Management in Iowa, said: ‘The findings of these studies have important implications for improving mental health and reducing the risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.’

Those doing TM were asked to spend at least 20 minutes twice a day meditating with their eyes closed.

The findings were presented yesterday at the Society of Behavioral Medicine in Seattle.

Last year separate U.S. research found heart attacks, strokes and deaths fell by 47 per cent in a group using TM. Experts said the results suggested the technique lowers blood pressure by keeping vessels open.

TM was famously practised by The Beatles after they met the Maharishi in the 1960s. He died in 2008.

Critics claim it can be used to spread a quasi-religious message and that meditation can be dangerous for some.

Via Daily Mail

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