Meditation appears to decrease stress, anxiety and depression, but a recent study has shown that doing meditation daily can lower your chances of dying from heart disease.
Although the practice of meditation dates back as far as 5,000 BC and is associated with certain philosophies and religions, still meditation is increasingly practised as a secular and therapeutic activity.
"Although studies of meditation suggest a possible benefit on cardiovascular risk, there hasn't been enough research to conclude it has a definite role," said study author Glenn N. Levine from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.
" Since education on how to meditate is widely available and meditation has little, if any, interested people may want to use these techniques, in addition to established medical and lifestyle interventions, as a possible way to lower heart disease risk," Levine noted.
The review excluded studies on combination mind-body practices, such as yoga and Tai Chi, since the physical activity included in these practices has an established positive impact on heart disease risk.
They analysed sitting meditation of common forms such as: Samatha; Vipassana (Insight Meditation); Mindful Meditation; Zen Meditation (Zazen); Raja Yoga; Loving-Kindness (Metta); Transcendental Meditation; and Relaxation Response.
They found that that meditation may be associated with decreased levels of stress, anxiety and depression, and improved quality of sleep and overall well-being;
They also found that meditation may lower blood pressure, although there is not enough evidence to determine whether or how much it may lower blood pressure in a given individual.
However, it's important that people should understand that the benefits remain to be better established and that meditation is not a substitute for traditional medical care.
Levine noted that until they know more, the mainstay for the prevention and treatment of heart disease remains lifestyle advice and medical treatment.
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