Background: Chest pain from coronary heart disease (CHD) accounts for more than 8 million emergency department visits every year in the United States, emphasizing the need for cardiovascular (CV) interventions to help reduce this high number. Meditation--a state of contemplation, concentration, and reflection--has the potential to help decrease CV disease.
Methods: This article reviews the available data regarding the effects of meditation on various aspects of CV health.
Results: During the past few decades, multiple studies have demonstrated the beneficial effects of meditation on various CV risk factors. In addition to decreasing CV mortality, meditation has also been shown to improve conditions such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia, and high cortisol levels. Still unclear is how current medical therapies impact overall CHD in comparison to meditation techniques.
Conclusion: Prospective trials are needed to study the effects of meditation on CV risk factors, to provide guidelines for daily meditation practice, and to determine the efficacy of meditation compared to current pharmacologic therapies.
Keywords: Cardiovascular disease; coronary disease; meditation; mind-body therapies.