Mind-body therapy for cardiovascular diseases

Meditation

Unknown-1Transcendental meditation program was described as the principal mind-body technique,  a comprehensive traditional system of natural medicine derived from ancient Vedic tradition in India (Schneider et al., 2005).  Transcendental meditation allows the mind to settle while alertness is maintained. The results is generally calm and clear thinking (Arthur et al., 2006).

Hypertension and cardiovascular morbidity/mortality were improved in patients taught transcendental meditation (Schneider et al., 2005). More recently, transcendental meditation has been shown to improve not only blood pressure but also the insulin resistance components of the metabolic syndrome as well as cardiac autonomic nervous system tone (Paul-Labrador et al., 2006)

Yoga

images-3After 2 month-Yoga training, the exercise-induced increases in heart rate and systolic blood pressure were significantly reduced (Madanmohan et al., 2004). The Yoga group showed a significant decrease in heart rate and blood pressure and greater aerobic performance, than the control group (Telles et al., 2000). Following a daily Yoga practice (1 hr/day for 20 weeks), the participants had decreased blood pressure, blood glucose, cholesterol and triglycerides and improved subjective well-being and quality of life (Damodaran et al., 2002).

Following one year of Yoga training, serum cholesterol level was reduced by 23% in the Yoga group, while the standard treatment control group showed a 4% reduction. The serum LDL-cholesterol was also significantly decreased in Yoga group (26%), compared to control group (3%) (Yogendra et al., 2004).

After one year of weekly sessions, Yoga group had fewer anginal episodes, improved exercise capacity, decreased body weight and lower serum total cholesterol levels. Revascularization procedures (coronary angioplasty or bypass surgery) were less frequently required in Yoga group, and coronary angiography showed that more lesions regressed and fewer lesions progressed in the dietary change plus Yoga group (Manchanda et al., 2000).

Tai-chi

UnknownTai-chihas been shown to acutely decrease sympathetic nervous system activity (Motivala et al., 2006). Tai-chi reduces cortisol levels (Lee et al., 2004). After Tai-chi practice, the parasympathetic activity increased, while sympathetic activity decreased.

Heart rate, systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure also decreased sequentially after Tai-chi. These suggest that Tai-chi may enhances the vagal modulation and tilt the sympatho-vagal balance (Lu et al., 2003).