New research published online in the American Journal of Cardiology uncovered a link between meditation and improved cardiovascular health, in addition to other health benefits. The study was funded by the Department of Veteran Affairs.
For the study, researchers analyzed the data of over 60,000 participants originating from the National Health Interview Survey. A portion of those participants, about 10 percent, engaged in meditative practices in the past.
Based on their analysis, the research group, led by Chayakrit Krittanawong of Baylor College of Medicine, determined that the participants who meditated were at a lower risk of several health risks, including diabetes, coronary artery disease, and high blood pressure.
A reduction in risk of coronary artery disease was regarded as the biggest health benefit from meditation sessions, as those who practiced meditation were up to 51 percent less likely to develop the disease, the findings proclaim.
“The researchers controlled for other factors connected to cardiovascular risk, such as age, sex, cigarette smoking, and body mass index,” the co-authors also explained in their findings. “After adjusting for these factors, the effect of meditation was still significant.”
But despite the significance of the effects, the survey did not take into account the form of meditation used by the participants. Some types of meditation are considered more efficient toward physical and psychological health compared to others.
“The survey did not capture what type of meditation people were using. Some types of meditation may offer more cardiovascular benefit than others,” according to researchers.
“The survey also did not ask about the duration or intensity of that meditation. It is possible that those who practice longer and more frequently will get more benefit, but the study cannot measure these effects.”