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Meditate for a longer life, medical study advises


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Meditate for a longer life, medical study advises

Sharon Kirkey

CanWest News Services

May 2, 2005

People who practise transcendental meditation -- the mind-body therapy made famous by The Beatles -- live longer and are significantly less likely to die from heart disease, a new study suggests.

The research, published today in the American Journal of Cardiology, is the first long-term study to show the controversial mental technique may extend lifespan.

U.S. researchers tracked 202 older men and women who participated in studies testing TM against other non-drug, stress-reducing interventions on high blood pressure.

After checking death records, researchers found the TM group was 23 per cent less likely to die from all causes, and 30 per cent less likely to die from cardiovascular disease during up to 18 years of follow-up.

They were also less likely to die from cancer, though the difference was not statistically significant because of the small number of people who developed cancers.

TM "can have an integrated effect on aging-related risk factors for death, for mortality, for chronic disease, and that pays off in the bottom line of increased longevity through this mind-body intervention alone," says lead author Dr. Robert Schneider, director of the Center of Natural Medicine and Prevention at Maharishi University of Management in Iowa.

TM involves repeating a mantra, a sound (such as "Aum" or "Om"), word or phrase over and over again, either aloud or silently. Mahrishi Mahesh Yogi brought it to the West in the 1960s. Some practitioners claim TM can help people levitate.

Schneider says about 600 published scientific studies exist on the physiological and psychological effects of the "TM program."

The practice -- where people enter a state of "restful alertness" -- has been shown to reduce stress hormones that can weaken the immune system and contribute to high blood pressure and clogged arteries. One study found transcendental meditation appears to reduce thickening in the carotid arteries in the neck that supply blood to the brain.

"We did some earlier studies showing that TM was able to lower blood pressure in hypertensive people but we just didn't know if it prevented heart attacks or prevented death from heart disease," Schneider says. "No one had really looked at the bottom line in any rigorous way."

What's more, most non-drug treatments for high blood pressure -- such as lowering salt intake, exercise and weight loss -- have not been studied to see if they make any difference on mortality.

His team pooled data from two randomized trials. One study by Harvard University researchers involved 77 men and women, mean age 81, who were living in homes for the elderly in the Boston area. The other involved 125 African-Americans living in Oakland, Calif.; the mean age in that group was 67. © The Vancouver Sun 2005

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uh whats the point ... meditate so you can live longer to do what .. meditate? if thats the best reason they can some up with then no thanks

have you ever heard of term "peace of mind" ?

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