Drs. Molina and Schneider answer questions on stroke.
Q: Does practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique decrease the risk factors of stroke?
Dr. Molina: The Transcendental Meditation has been shown to DECREASE CAROTID ARTERY ATHEROSCLEROSIS , the thickening of the carotid artery. Carotid artery atherosclerosis, after hypertension, is one of the top three risk factors for stroke. (The three top risk factors are high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation and carotid atherosclerosis.) The Transcendental Meditation program has also been shown to DECREASE HYPERTENSION.
Q: Do you recommend the Transcendental Meditation technique to help reduce the risk factors for heart attack and stroke?
Dr. Molina: Actually, I recommend the Transcendental Meditation technique to anyone, because you don't have to be sick to meditate.
There have been studies showing that Transcendental Meditation technique increases longevity and decreases cardiovascular death, as compared to control groups that did nothing, received regular medical care and practiced other relaxation techniques. Also, the TM technique does reduce the risk factors for heart disease and stroke.
The Transcendental Meditation technique is a very simple mental technique, and when practiced regularly, it is associated with a decrease in blood pressure and improved neuro-physiological integration and endocrine integration; therefore, it is a process in which you can decrease high blood pressure, decrease atherosclerosis, and at the same time become more awake, alert, bright and happy.
Q: I recently suffered from a stroke. Will practicing the TM technique reduce my chances of having another stroke?
Dr. Molina: Having a stroke is an important risk factor for having subsequent strokes. Practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique, along with the recommendations of your physician (such as anti-platelet medications, statins and anti-hypertensives), may reduce the chances of having another stroke.
Dr. Schneider: Research shows that practicing the TRANSCENDENTAL MEDITATION PROGRAM REDUCES RISK FACTORS for recurrent stroke, such as high blood pressure. TM practice might aid stroke recovery due to its effects on enhancing brain integration and mental functioning. For example, Professor Lubimov, a member of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, found that the Transcendental Meditation technique enlivens brain reserve capacity, resulting in improved speed and efficiency of brain-body coordination.
Q: Besides lowering blood pressure, how does practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique reduce the risk of stroke?
Dr. Schneider: The Transcendental Meditation technique reduces the risk of stroke by reducing atherosclerosis and cardiovascular risk factors. The risk factors for stroke are basically the same as the risk factors for coronary artery disease, including atherosclerosis, high cholesterol and metabolic syndrome.
Our medical experts
César Molina, M.D., F.A.C.C. is Medical Director of the South Asian Heart Center at El Camino Hospital in Mountain View, CA. He is a graduate of Yale University School of Medicine and a fellow of the American College of Cardiology. Dr. Molina has recently appeared in the international edition of CNN discussing the benefits of diet and exercise in the treatment and prevention of coronary heart disease.
Robert Schneider, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.A.B.M.R. has been awarded more than $20 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for his pioneering research on natural approaches to heart disease. Dr. Schneider is the author of Total Heart Health and 100 medical research articles, and he has been featured in more than 1,000 media reports, including CNN Headline News, The New York Times, and Time magazine.