A major report from the American Heart Association (AHA) based on evaluation of data published from 2006 to 2011 concludes that Transcendental Meditation lowers blood pressure.
AHA’s scientific statement therefore recommends that Transcendental Meditation may be considered in clinical practice for the prevention and treatment of hypertension. The report also recognized that Transcendental Meditation is generally considered safe and without harmful side effects.
Robert D. Brook, chair of the expert panel of 12 scientists authoring the report:
“A common request from patients is, ‘I don’t like to take medications, what can I do to lower my blood pressure?’ We wanted to provide some direction.”
“This is an important breakthrough since it is the first time that the TM technique has been recognized and recommended by a national medical organization that provides professional practice guidelines to physicians, health care payers, and policymakers.This type of guideline statement has been what health insurance companies have been requesting for many years.”
C. Noel Bairey Merz: “We are gratified that our research demonstrating the efficacy of Transcendental Meditation on blood pressure is being recognized and hope that this consensus will result in its wider use in clinical practice.”
The purpose of the report was to inform physicians which alternative approaches to lowering blood pressure have been shown by research to be effective. It compared three categories of alternative treatments:
1) behavioural therapies,
2) non-invasive procedures or devices, and
3) exercise-based regimens.
Interventions included several types of exercise, yoga, various styles of meditation, biofeedback methods, acupuncture, device-guided breathing, relaxation and stress reduction techniques.
After considering meta-analyses and the latest clinical trials, the report stated that while Transcendental Meditation is recommended to lower BP, there is not enough scientific evidence to recommend other meditation or relaxation techniques.
Earlier clinical trials have shown that lower blood pressure through Transcendental Meditation practice is associated with significantly lower rates of death, heart attack, and stroke.
The full AHA report:
Brook, Robert D. et al., “Beyond Medications and Diet: Alternative Approaches to Lowering Blood Pressure. A Scientific Statement from the American Heart Association”, published on April 22, 2013.