The problem: Growing concerns over heart health
In most developed countries, cardiovascular health issues are responsible for more fatalities than the next 16 causes of death categories combined.
Coronary Heart Disease (CHD), is the UK’s single biggest killer, responsible for nearly 74,000 deaths in the UK each year.
Research suggests that stress is, directly and indirectly, a major risk factor for heart health.
Indeed, “researchers have suggested at least six different ways by which psychological stress can kill you, all of which involve some form of damage to the heart or arteries.”
It shows that human diagnostic capabilities, surgical interventions, and pharmaceutical tools are not enough to stem the tidal wave of maladies threatening our hearts.
People of all walks of life are affected, whether through genetic predisposition or lifestyle disease.
In more recent times, cardiovascular issues have been responsible for more female hospitalisations and deaths than all the forms of cancer combined. Women are 12 times more likely to perish from cardiovascular problems than from breast cancer.
It’s time for all of us to give consideration to the stress we are putting on our cardiovascular systems.
It may be less important what you're eating than what's eating you.
What causes this to happen?
The heart is an elegant mechanical pump with blood vessels for hoses that send and return the blood flow. Whenever we experience physical stress or psychological stress, this pump and hose system goes into overdrive and if we do this regularly enough, the pump and hoses will wear out quicker than required.
Other issues come into play. If our heart is beating faster, our blood pressure will rise, which itself is a massive issue, and when blood pressure is elevated, it returns to the heart with such force that the heart walls have to grow thicker to cope.
This leads to a lopsided heart which increases the likelihood of developing an irregular heartbeat. The thickened muscle tissue also requires more blood supply, often beyond what is available, causing further problems.
This is known as left ventricular hypertrophy and controlling for other variables, is the single biggest cause of cardiac risk. We also leave ourselves at much greater risk of diabetes, atherosclerosis, and hypertension.
The consequences of chronically activating your cardiovascular system are deadly.
As a heart surgeon, I see the effects of stress on the heart as the leading cause of death in the western world. This meditation, we believe, can help a lot of people.
Dr Mehmet Oz, heart surgeon, author and TV host
How does Vedic meditation for heart health help?
In the midst of this heart disease pandemic, all of us will benefit greatly from allowing the heart to start functioning at its natural best.
A simple daily practice of meditation allows us to do this while enjoying the plethora of other benefits that come from de-exciting our nervous system and allowing all aspects of our being to sing.
Meditation for heart health helps stimulate the vagus nerve, which helps reduce our heart rate by an average of five beats per minute (BPM). (If you have low blood pressure, the balancing of the nervous system function allows the normalisation process to occur in the opposite way, raising your BPM to a healthier rate).
Electroencephalograph (EEG) studies also reveal specific changes in certain frequencies of the heartbeat when we meditate regularly, and this indicates a much healthier heart.
Within the first few weeks of learning, the practice of Vedic meditation is an oasis of rest for a heart otherwise overworked by the stresses and strains of modern life and the overdrive this entails.
When practised regularly, it will decrease the workload on the heart significantly. It is one of the reasons why admissions for heart disease have been shown to fall by 87% in those over 40 when meditating using personalised mantras.
Practise of this type of meditation for heart health leads to considerable gains in many of the most harmful heart-related conditions and has been found to be a potent preventative tool for Coronary Heart Disease, heart attack, and strokes.
We also wonder whether there is a correlation between the physical health of the heart and our emotional heart health. Poor heart health almost always results from over-activation of the stress response, and when we are stressed, we are also emotionally closed.
A very happy by-product of Vedic meditation is that we begin to feel a lot more empathy, compassion, and love for those around us.
This practice doesn’t only prevent the undesirable; it has been consistently found to promote all things desirable and uplifting.
What's the proof?
In Vedic meditators, the stress hormone cortisol is reduced by an average of 33%.
Research on congestive heart failure (CHF) has shown that those who learn this meditation make significant gains in their ability to exercise and the depressive symptoms that typically accompany CHF.
Research has also shown that this meditation practice prevents increases in left ventricular mass, allowing the heart to continue to beat rhythmically and naturally.
Adults with mild or moderate hypertension (high blood pressure) demonstrated a reduced use of medications, and indeed this practice has been shown to be as effective as any blood pressure medication on the market.
Other cardiovascular risk factors that are aggravated by stress show significant reductions when you practise Vedic meditation. This includes alcohol and smoking,cholesterol levels, decreased insulin resistance, decreased cardiovascular reactivity, decreased symptoms of angina pectoris, decreased symptoms of carotid artheriosclerosis, improved conditions of patients with cardiac syndrome X, and increased stability of the cardiac autonomic nervous system.
Vedic meditation reduces our heart rate by an average of 5 beats per minute (BPM) (unless your blood pressure is low, in which case the opposite occurs).
Admissions for heart disease have been shown to fall by 87% in those over 40 when meditating using this technique.
All of this shows that there is a natural way to significantly boost your heart health through the simple and enjoyable act of meditation.