A widely practiced meditation technique of stress reduction has been found to be effective in decreasing the severity of congestive heart failure.
Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania evaluated the efficacy of the technique over 23 African American men and women who were recently hospitalised with New York Heart Association for congestive heart failure.
The participants, having average age of 64 years, were randomised to either the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique or health education, in addition to usual medical care.
Boffins measured changes in the participantsí heart function with a six-minute walk test, and measures for quality of life, depression, and re-hospitalisations. Changes in outcomes from baseline to three and six months after treatment were analysed.
Lead author Dr Ravishankar Jayadevappa said that the TM group significantly improved on the six-minute walk test after both three and six months of practice compared to the control group. The group also showed improvements in quality of life measurements, depression, and had fewer re-hospitalisations.
The authors believe that TM improves heart functioning presumably by reducing sympathetic nervous system activation associated with stress that is known to contribute to the failing heart, according to the authors.
"The results indicate that TM can be effective in improving the functional capacity, and quality of life, of congestive heart failure patients. These results also suggest long-term improvements in survival in these individuals," Jayadevappa said.