Meditation Extends Life, Wastes More

A new study shows that transcendental meditation may slightly prolong the lifespan of some very old people with hypertension.

Vital Signs: Therapies: T.M. for Your B.P.? Hmmm . . . (NYT | RSS)

According to a paper published yesterday in The American Journal of Cardiology, Transcendental Meditation, or T.M., is highly effective in reducing the rate of death from cardiovascular disease in people with high blood pressure. In a retrospective 18-year follow-up of two randomized controlled trials, Transcendental Meditation was associated with significantly lower mortality than other mental relaxation techniques or standard drugs for high blood pressure. The two studies analyzed 202 patients with high blood pressure. Their average age was 72.

The authors conceded that their sample was small, that the results should be considered preliminary and that larger clinical trials would be needed to confirm their findings. But their analysis reported that the death rate of study participants using T.M. techniques was 23 percent lower from all causes and 30 percent lower from cardiovascular disease, compared with the participants using the two other treatment methods.

Dr. Arthur Hartz, a professor in the family medicine department at the University of Iowa College of Medicine and a co-author of the study, said avoiding unnecessary medicine was always a good idea. But he added: “T.M. classes are expensive, and all behavioral interventions require considerable effort to learn, and time and discipline to maintain. My guess is that they represent the best therapy for only a small percentage of patients with hypertension.”

Of course, unless the extension is substantially more than that wasted sitting around chanting to oneself, it hardly seems worth it. Indeed, maybe not even then. . . .

FILED UNDER: Health
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. bryan says:

    The authors conceded that their sample was small, that the results should be considered preliminary and that larger clinical trials would be needed to confirm their findings. But their analysis reported that the death rate of study participants using T.M. techniques was 23 percent lower from all causes and 30 percent lower from cardiovascular disease, compared with the participants using the two other treatment methods.

    Yes, all things being equal and all…

    But I don’t see how they could lower the mortality rate, which – I may be wrong on this – is very near 100 percent for all human beings.