This article is from the American Heart Association News. The original story can be found at this link.
Meditation may decrease the risk of heart disease, according to a first-ever statement on the practice issued by the American Heart Association, with contributions from the Center for Healthy Minds.
But the key word to remember is “may.”
“The research is suggestive, but not definitive,” said Glenn N. Levine, M.D., chairman of the group of cardiovascular disease experts who reviewed recent science to determine whether meditation could help reduce heart disease risks.
The experts found a potential benefit to the heart from meditation, but mostly the small studies were not conclusive.
“Overall, studies of meditation suggest a possible benefit on cardiovascular risk, although the overall quality and in some cases quantity of study data is modest,” said the statement, released Thursday Sept. 28.
"This statement is significant in that the major American professional society of cardiologists has systematically reviewed the scientific evidence on the impact of different forms of meditation on important contributors to cardiovascular disease, including blood pressure, insulin response and myocardial ischemia,” says Richard Davidson, the William James & Vilas Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and the Director of the Center for Healthy Minds. “It's the first time that a professional medical society has issued a consensus statement recommending meditation as part of the armamentarium of treatments for a medical illness."
The committee looked at 57 studies that researched common types of “sitting meditation” and whether the practice had any impact on heart disease.
Some types of meditation included in the research were: Samatha; Vipassana (Insight Meditation); Mindful Meditation; Zen Meditation (Zazen); Raja Yoga; Loving-Kindness (Metta); Transcendental Meditation; and Relaxation Response.
The group excluded studies of meditation that incorporated physical activity – such as yoga or Tai Chi – because physical activity itself has been proven to help the heart.