Heart diseases particularly CAD (coronary artery disease) or ischemic heart disease has become a killer disease of modern times. Not only in the developed western world but also in underdeveloped countries, many people both old and young suffer from coronary artery disease. It is responsible for many young deaths also.
Apart from this high blood pressure and heart failure are also responsible for the burden of sickness in the community. There are many risk factors for CAD including hypertension, diabetes, high lipid levels, smoking and alcohol. It also tends to run in families because it is inherited genetically.
Other types of heart diseases like rheumatic valvular lesions and congenital heart diseases are treatable. But hypertension and CAD are chronic conditions requiring lifelong medicines to maintain quality of life and even to survive. After some time the body tends to become resistant to these medicines and higher doses have to be used. A person using these medicines invariably develops one or more adverse effects, for which the drug is changed or dose is reduced.
If a person does not respond to drug therapy, he has to undergo invasive procedures like coronary angiography, bypass surgery and other interventions like coronary stents. All these procedures are expensive, cumbersome and are associated with risks.
In this scenario, attention of scientists and researchers has gone towards alternate methods of treating heart diseases and meditation has emerged as a very good harmless and simple technique for controlling heart diseases with minimum medications and no intervention. It can be done at home simply without spending a penny.
Research trials done have shown that meditation done regularly cuts the risk of heart diseases by 50%. It was found to be more effective than counseling and simple life style changes. These measures along with meditation done regularly can greatly improve the quality of life of a person suffering from heart disease.
Different groups teach different techniques for meditation. Transcendental meditation is a form of meditation where one is asked to keep repeating one word repeatedly in the mind. It is said that initially one would find it difficult to focus on that word; later on his mind will be vibrating with that word. After some days, his mind will get devoid of that word also. Thus he will attain the state of supreme calmness or relaxation which is desirable.
In another method, one is asked to focus on the glow of a red bulb or a spot or dot for about 10 to 20 minutes. When one does so, the mind gets relaxed and with regular practice, it remains calm for greater part of the day.
One can just sit straight with eyes closed and focus on his breathing. This also helps in relaxing the mind.
Any one of this technique done regularly is very helpful in relaxing the mind. When the mind is relaxed the adrenergic activity of the body is reduced and fewer amounts of catecholamine are released. This decreases the load on the heart muscle and improves its functioning. Perfusion of the heart and entire body is also improved. Risk factors like hypertension and diabetes are also well controlled, when one does regular meditation. If one is addicted to alcohol and or smoking, he can quit it easily after some days of regular practice of meditation, thus further reducing the risk of CAD.
One can do meditation any time at home or at work. Only prerequisite is that the stomach should be empty. It can be done either in the morning before breakfast or 2 to 3 hours after any major meal. One can do meditation while sitting down ordinarily but the ideal position is to sit squatting with a straight back on a mat or blanket. In this position the body is relaxed and one can concentrate more on the mind. Best results are obtained when meditation is done regularly 2 times for at least 15 to 20 minutes. But if that is difficult then it can be done at least one time in the day, either in morning or evening.
After all, there are many benefits and no harm whatsoever from meditation. Those suffering from heart diseases and those who wish to prevent it, both should try to learn the technique of meditation and practice it.