Metabolic syndrome is one of the main contributors to coronary heart disease (CHD). The study titled, ‘Effects of a Randomized Controlled Trial of Transcendental Meditation on Components of the Metabolic Syndrome in Subjects with Coronary Heart Disease’ and authored by Maura Paul-Labrador, Donna Polk, James H. Dwyer, Ivan Velasquez, Sanford Nidich, Maxwell Rainforth, Robert Schneider, Noel Bairey Merz, aims at investigating the efficacy of transcendental meditation (TM) on components of metabolic syndrome and coronary heart disease (CHD).
Metabolic syndrome is considered the new means of CHD indication. Hypertension, visceral obesity, insulin resistance, and dyslipidemia are other characteristic presentations of metabolic syndrome. Unhealthy eating patterns and physical inactivity are the main causes of alarming increase of metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome associated CHD is on the rise.
A randomized placebo controlled clinical trial was conducted.
- 103 patients were recruited from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and surrounding community.
- All participants suffered from CHD and had undergone myocardial infarction, coronary artery bypass surgery, angiography, or angioplasty.
- Participants were randomized to 16 weeks of TM or health education (HE).
- This was performed via computerized program.
- Participants were grouped according to age and low density lipoprotein levels and assigned to treatment program accordingly.
- Once a group was randomized, a new group was be assigned the intervention.
- Data was collected and analyzed.
- Study entry and exit involved an overnight fast followed by medical history evaluation including physical activity level, cardiac risk factors, medical assessment, blood sampling, psychosocial variables, BART, medication assessment, Hotler monitoring of HRV.
- Class attendance and self-reported compliance were used for compliance of TM and HE programs.
- Of the 103 participants, 84 completed the study.
- Compliance was 97% for TM and 88% for HE.
- There were no reported changes in life stress levels for both groups.
- Adjusted blood pressure, cardiac autonomic nervous system, insulin resistance showed beneficial changes in the TM group.
- Thus, TM can adapt physiological response to stress through neurohumoral activation and hence prove to be a therapeutic target for CHD treatment.
About TM and HE
Transcendental meditation has its origin in the Vedic traditions of India. It involves a specific form of mantra meditation and is based on Indian philosophy. The technique is a version passed down from Brahmananda Saraswati. TM is among the most widely practiced meditation techniques and is considered to be spiritual, scientific, and non-religious.
In this study, TM was introduced in two lectures of 1.5 hr duration each, followed by a personal interview of 10 to 15 minutes. Personal instructions were given in sessions of 1.5 hrs each. Three group meetings and a follow up maintenance meeting was held twice a week for the first 4 weeks and weekly thereafter. Professional health educators led the HE intervention. Same number and frequency of meetings were adhered to in HE group too.
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