Meditation is normally recommended as a stress management technique used to bring about a calm and relaxed state of mind. However, researchers have recently discovered that meditation offers other significant health benefits through its ability to alter deeper and more dynamic processes in the body, even so far as being able to strengthen the heart.
Researchers at the Margaret and H.A. Rey Laboratory, Boston, USA discovered that meditation influences prominent heart rate oscillations traditionally associated with practising slow breathing during specific traditional forms of Chinese Chi and Kundalini Yoga meditation techniques.
The amplitude of these oscillations during meditation was significantly greater than when compared to those not practising any meditation in healthy young adults and even elite athletes during sleep. These results reveal that meditation can have a deep and very profound influence on the heart and its activity. The researchers observed that the variability of beat-to-beat heart rate was directly affected by meditation.
The report concluded that meditation should not be seen as just a method of relaxation and stress management, but also as an aid to strengthen the heart and create a more active state in the body.
Source: Int J Cardiol 1999 Jul 31;70(2):101-7
Exaggerated heart rate oscillations during two meditation techniques.
Peng CK, Mietus JE, et al.
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