Mindfulness, meditation and heart health are intimately connected. Practicing meditation techniques like breathing, quiet contemplation or sustained focus on something (e.g., an image, phrase or sound), can not only help you let go of your stress and help you feel calmer, but it can also help you sleep better, feel more balanced, manage high blood pressure and lower your risk of heart disease.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death for men, women and people of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States, accounting for approximately 655,000 deaths each year.
Can you lower your risk of heart disease with a daily practice of meditation? Is there a connection between meditation and heart rate?
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), yes. Meditation activates our bodies’ “rest and digest” functions, which is linked to a lower heart rate. Meditation techniques may also slightly lower blood pressure levels when used alone or along with medication.
Transcendental meditation and mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques, in particular, may produce clinically significant reductions in systolic (measured pressure when the heart beats) and diastolic (measured pressure when the heart rests in between beats) blood pressure.
Transcendental meditation (TM) refers to a specific form of silent, mantra meditation that eliminates distracting thoughts and promotes a state of relaxed awareness. It involves sitting comfortably with your eyes closed for about 20 minutes twice per day. Mindfulness-based stress reduction is an 8-week evidence-based program that offers secular, intensive mindfulness training to assist people with stress, anxiety, depression and pain.
While these two programs have clinically significant results for lowering blood pressure and heart rate, meditation practice of any kind can have many mental and physical health benefits, especially when it becomes a part of your daily routine.
The link between meditation and heart health is clear. Here are three science-based health benefits of meditation:
If you’re concerned about your heart health, visit Coastal Urgent Care of Baton Rouge and ask about our EKG test. We provide comprehensive care and onsite diagnostic technology, like an echocardiogram (EKG) so we can measure your heart activity quickly and painlessly. We also have an onsite lab for blood tests to save time when you need answers. We welcome walk-in appointments Mon-Fri, 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. and Sat-Sun 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.