Previous research has shown the affects of meditation across various health aspects across both mental and physical health. While the practice is known to reduce stress and anxiety, more research has begun to show the benefits of meditation on a person’s physical health.
After a 2017 study from the American Heart Association suggested that meditation may be a benefit for cardiovascular risk reduction, more researchers have begun to investigate what other benefits meditation may have.
The connection between cardiovascular health and meditation is not definitive, but a new study, published in the American Journal of Cardiology, found further connection between the practice and a person’s risk for cardiovascular issues.
New study found link between healthier heart and meditation
The new study, done by Veterans Affairs researchers and colleagues, found that practicing meditation is linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
The researchers collected data from the National Health Interview Survey, which is conducted each year by the National Center for Health Statistics, particularly looking at data from 61,000 survey participants. Of those participants, almost 10% said that they practice meditation in some form.
They found that, compared to those who don’t meditate, people who practice meditation regularly had lower rates of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, and coronary artery disease.
Meditation benefits coronary artery disease the most
In this study, the greatest benefit from mediation is seen with coronary artery disease. The participants who noted that those who meditated were only about half as likely (51%) to have coronary heart disease than those who did not mediate.
With other conditions, the meditation group was 65% as likely to have high cholesterol, 70% as likely to have diabetes 76% to have a stroke, and 86% as likely to have high blood pressure when compared to those who did not meditate.
To be sure, the researchers controlled for factors linked to cardiovascular risk, like age, sex, cigarette smoking, and body mass index. Even after adjusting for each of these factors, the benefits of mediation were still significant.
How does meditation lower risk for cardiovascular disease?
Meditation has been shown to increase both physical and mental relaxation.
“I believe in meditation, as it can give us a sense of calm, peace, and stress reduction, leading to improvement of our emotional well-being,”said Dr. Chayakrit Krittanawong, one author of the study and researcher from the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center.
While the study was important for pointing out the benefit of meditation, it had limits in that it was not able to capture what type of meditation a person used. The researchers noted that some types of meditation may offer more cardiovascular benefits than others. Additionally, the survey did not ask participants about the intensity or duration of their meditation. The researchers noted that it is possible that those who practice longer and more frequently could reap more benefits from the practice.
The authors noted that further research is necessary to confirm the link between cardiovascular health and meditation.
“We would need a powerful study such as a clinical trial to determine whether meditation could benefit cardiovascular health in veterans,” the authors wrote.
Jennifer Fabiano is an SEO reporter at Ladders.