Friday, November 20, 2009
Meditation Cuts Risk Of Heart Attack By Half
A while back I was watching someone do a Karate kata, Sanchin I believe. Every change in posture was accompanied by loud hissing of breath, dynamic tension and intense straining of arms, legs and torso. You could see the veins pop out in his forehead.
And this is healthy? I think not.
Again, we see the Taoist philosophy of not harming the body during exercise as being a superior path. No pain no gain is pretty much bullshit for longevity, which is why practitioners of the internal or "soft" martial arts reach their peak in their fifties.
With all the stress of daily life, why would someone hiss and strain in a kata that is ment for health and self-defense? Even in self-defense we have to cultivate a calm mind. While I find seated meditation difficult and a little boring, the moving meditation of Tai Chi Chuan, Bagua and Xingyi really helps me focus and center. The difference from Trancendental Meditation is that instead of trancending the body to a seperate state, we strive to have full and complete mind-body integration.
Here's a great article from The Telegraph.UK that cites medical studies showing that meditation cuts heart attack risk by half. Here's some quotes:
"The researchers from the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee in collaboration with the Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, calculated heart attacks, strokes and deaths as one result and found a 47 per cent reduction in meditating patients.
They also had lower blood pressure and significant reductions in their stress levels, the researchers said.
Dr Robert Schneider, lead author and director of the Center for Natural Medicine and Prevention, said: "Previous research on Transcendental Meditation has shown reductions in blood pressure, psychological stress, and other risk factors for heart disease, irrespective of ethnicity.
"But this is the first controlled clinical trial to show that long-term practice of this particular stress reduction program reduces the incidence of clinical cardiovascular events, that is heart attacks, strokes and mortality."
Dr Schneider said that the effect of Transcendental Meditation in the trial was like a newly discovered medicine for the prevention of heart disease.
"In this case, the new medications are derived from the body's own internal pharmacy stimulated by the Transcendental Meditation practice," he said".
I gotta go practice my Tai Chi Chuan now...