Richard G. Petty, MD

Meditation for the Failing Heart

There is a remarkable study in the current issue of the journal Ethnicity and Disease that seems to show that Transcendental Meditation significantly decreases the severity of congestive heart failure.
Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania evaluated 23 African American men and women with an average age of 64 years, who had recently been hospitalized with New York Heart Association Functional Class II or III congestive heart failure. Participants were randomized to either the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique or health education, in addition to usual medical care.

The investigators used a standard battery of tests to measure changes in heart function with a six-minute walk test, and scales to evaluate quality of life, depression, and re-hospitalizations. They analyzed changes in outcomes from baseline to three and six months after treatment.

The TM group improved significantly on the six-minute walk test after both three and six months of TM practice compared with the control group. The TM group also showed improvements in quality of life measurements, depression, and they had fewer re-hospitalizations.

Congestive heart failure is a serious illness carrying a very significant morbidity and mortality. According to the American Heart Association, congestive heart failure accounts for more than 2.5 million hospital admissions per year in the U.S. Each year, nearly 500,000 new patients are diagnosed with congestive heart failure – and 300,000 patients die annually from this disease. Despite advances in treatment, the number of deaths from congestive heart failure increased steadily over the past decade.

African Americans have twice the mortality rates from congestive heart failure as white Americans.

It is most likely that TM improves the functioning of the heart by reducing the stress associated activation of the sympathetic nervous system that is known to contribute to the failing heart.

The study was sponsored by the National Institutes of Health – National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NIH-NCCAM) in a collaboration between the University of Pennsylvania with the Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention at Maharishi University of Management.

“Meditation is the tongue of the soul and the language of our spirit.”

–Jeremy Taylor (English Anglican Clergyman, Writer and Bishop, 1613-1667)

"The purpose of meditation is not enlightenment, it is to pay attention even at extraordinary times, to be of the present, nothing-but-in-the-present, to bear this mindfulness of now into each event of ordinary life.”
–Peter Matthiessen (American Naturalist and Writer, 1927-)

About Richard G. Petty, MD
Dr. Richard G. Petty, MD is a world-renowned authority on the brain, and his revolutionary work on human energy systems has been acclaimed around the globe. He is also an accredited specialist in internal and metabolic medicine, endocrinology, psychiatry, acupuncture and homeopathy. He has been an innovator and leader of the human potential movement for over thirty years and is also an active researcher, teacher, writer, professional speaker and broadcaster. He is the author of five books, including the groundbreaking and best selling CD series Healing, Meaning and Purpose. He has taught in over 45 countries and 48 states in the last ten years, but spends as much time as possible on his horse farm in Georgia.

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