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Meditation reduces atherosclerosis.

Regular meditation may reduce the incidence of atherosclerosis by lowering stress and therefore preventing its occurrence. But this research is more extraordinary than that. Reporting in the prestigious journal, Stroke, researchers randomly assigned 138 adult, hypertensive volunteers to either a Transcendental Meditation group or a health education group. At the end of a six- to nine-month period, carotid artery thickness (this is the major artery in the neck) was measured and compared to measurements from the beginning of the study period.

Thickening of the artery is characteristic of arteriosclerosis. The meditation group enjoyed a statistically significant reduction in the arterial thickness compared to a slight increase in the control group.

Meditation is thought to decrease stress with the regular practice of a relaxed, but internally alert state of mind. Stress increases the risk of atherosclerosis (thickening of the arterial walls), increased blood pressure, and increased risk of stroke (when a chunk of plaque is forced loose in the blood stream). The research suggests that meditation can have the long-term effect of reducing atherosclerosis already established in the arteries.

As a runner, you already benefit from reduced risk of atherosclerosis, lower blood pressure, lower resting heart rates, and better blood lipid profiles. While it is not proven by this study, and more research will need to be done, it could be that by adding meditation to a good diet and regular exercise, your risk of arterial disease could be lowered even more.

(Stroke, 2000, Vol. 31, No. 3, pp. 568-573)
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Publication:Running & FitNews
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 1, 2000
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