American Heart Association Gives Meditation a Thumbs Up
The American Heart Association (AHA) made its first statement on meditation and its relation to heart health last month.
The respected organization says the practice has plenty of potential benefits when it comes to matters of the heart.
The statement, which was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, relies on research from a number of studies that have examined the link between meditation and the heart.
And while the AHA attests meditation shouldn’t completely replace traditional heart health measures such as a low fat diet and exercise, the practice shows a lot of promise when it comes to potential benefits.
Meditation as a Treatment
The AHA was prompted to speak out on the practice after finding that a number of patients with cardiovascular disease had questions about using meditation as a treatment.
In fact, the AHA reported that 17 percent of people with cardiovascular issues had interest in participating in a clinical trial that focused on meditation.
With that in mind, the AHA decided to “formally and systematically review” all the data on meditation to see if there was an established positive link. This isn’t the first time this correlation has been studied by a respected institution, either.
Lowering Overall Heart Health
In 2014, the Harvard Medical School posted a public letter which stated meditation appears to lower:
- Heart rate
- Blood pressure
- Breathing rate
- Adrenaline levels
- Oxygen consumption
All of these elements are all closely associated with overall heart health and cardiovascular disease.
Also, meditation has been shown to reduce the levels of cortisol, which is a hormone associated with stress that wreaks havoc on multiple parts of the body, including and especially the heart.
Brain activity is also affected by meditation, which is also linked with stress levels and anxiety, and which relives some pressure on the heart. After all, when we’re stressed, the heart has to work harder to keep up, and this long-term wear and tear can lead to permanent damage down the road.
The statement from the American Heart Association looked at multiple effects of meditation as well, from Insulin Resistance and Metabolic Syndrome to smoking cessation. They found at best positive and demonstrable correlations, and at worse no negative side effects at all.
The complete article can be reviewed at http://jaha.ahajournals.org/content/6/10/e002218, but suffice it to say, meditation looks promising to the AHA as well as other notable health organizations, universities, and researchers.
Reasonable Thing to Do
The AHA further expanded on their findings in a recent interview, stating that the data may not be definitive, but meditation was a “reasonable thing to do” for patients and people who were concerned about their heart health.
They also stated worst case scenario, meditation certainly couldn’t harm patients. It seemed to assist with other lifestyle changes that would lead to better heart health – like having the motivation and willpower to stop smoking, exercise more and eat healthier.
The benefits of meditation for the heart has become an accepted fact for many medical professionals and researchers. But with a seal of approval from the American Heart Association, meditation fans have another reason to embrace and continue this healthy practice.
I Can Help
Once you’re on the path, you’ll be amazed at how far meditation will take you. I offer both classes in my office and online.