Meditation is good for the body as well as the mind, scientists have discovered, as the practice significantly reduces the risk of a heart attack for people with heart disease.
Patients with heart disease who practised Transcendental Meditation cut their chances of a heart attack, stroke and death by half, compared with non-meditating patients, the first study of its kind has found.
Stress is a major factor in heart disease and meditation experts say the technique can help control it.
Transcendental Meditation, practised by the Beatles and based on an ancient tradition of enlightenment in India, involves sitting quietly and concentrating to focus the mind inwards by silently repeating a mantra. The practice is said to induce inner peace by allowing thoughts to flow in and out of the mind. The results of the research are being presented at the American Heart Association scientific meeting in Orlando, Florida.
Over nine years, 201 African American people with an average age of 59 and who had all been diagnosed with heart disease were randomly assigned to either Transcendental Meditation or health education classes about diet and exercise. Both groups continued with their normal medication.