Transcendental Meditation

Study on cardiovascular function

Impact of Transcendental Meditation on cardiovascular function at rest and during acute stress in adolescents with high normal blood pressure

Authors:  Barnes, V.A., Treiber, F.A., Davis, H.

Published: Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 2001 Oct; vol 51(4): pp 597-605.

Objective:This study examined the impact of the Transcendental Meditation (TM) program on cardiovascular (CV) reactivity in adolescents with high normal blood pressure.

Methods: Thirty-five adolescents [34 African Americans (AAs), 1 Caucasian American (CA); ages 15-18 years] with resting systolic blood pressure (SBP) between the 85th and 95th percentile for their age and gender on three consecutive occasions, were randomly assigned to either TM (n=17) or health education control (CTL, n=18) groups. The Transcendental Meditation group engaged in 15-min meditation twice each day for 2 months including sessions during school lunch break. Primary cardiovascular outcome measures were changes in blood pressure (BP), heart rate (HR), and cardiac output (CO) at rest and in response to two laboratory stressors, a simulated car driving stressor and an interpersonal social stressor interview.

Results: The Transcendental Meditation group exhibited greater decreases in resting systolic blood pressure (P<.03) from pre- to postintervention, compared to the health education control group. The Transcendental Meditation group exhibited greater decreases from pre- to postintervention in systolic blood pressure, heart rate, and cardiac output reactivity (P’s<.03) to the simulated car driving stressor, and in systolic blood pressure reactivity (P<.03) to the social stressor interview.

Conclusion: The Transcendental Meditation program appears to have a beneficial impact upon cardiovascular functioning at rest and during acute laboratory stress in adolescents at-risk for hypertension.

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