The American Heart Association just came out with a report in which they say meditation practices may help decrease heart disease risk factors. Specifically, it reduces stress and anxiety levels and lowers blood pressure.
This statement comes from the review of dozens of studies that investigated the impact of a variety of sitting meditation practices on cardiovascular health. Heart disease outcomes considered in the review ranged from heart attack to blood pressure, stress, atherosclerosis and smoking cessation.
Meditation is known to decrease psychological and physiological markers of stress, such as cortisol, which may be in part why it can be helpful in heart health. The practice of meditation is also known to increase empathy and compassion. A part of many practices is the cultivation of loving kindness and tuning into the heart space and wisdom. Together, we like to think that meditation keeps the heart healthy on lots of levels!
This statement from the AHA is encouraging but emphasizes the need for meditation to be considered as an additional treatment for more well-studied traditional interventions. Hopefully there will be some larger clinical studies coming out soon to clarify the specific role meditation can have in cardiovascular disease prevention and health. Here at EbbTide we agree, complementary approaches to health and wellness are the smart approach.