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Meditation can cut heart attacks by as much as half


By Richard Alleyne



Transcendental meditation, the relaxation technique made famous by the Beatles, can cut heart attack and stroke death rates by up to 50%, new research has found.

The practice, which involves the continual repeating of a mantra, was found to reduce high blood pressure, cholesterol and thickening of the arteries. It is also protects against diabetes.
"This is a seminal finding," said Dr Norman Rosenthal of the American government's National Institute of Mental Health.
"The prevention of heart attack and stroke and actual lengthening of lifespan by an alternative
treatment method is exceedingly rare, if not unprecedented.
"If Transcendental Meditation were a drug conferring so many benefits, it would be a billion-dollar blockbuster."
Researchers at the Medical College of Wisconsin followed 201 men and women with an average age of 59 who suffered from the narrowing of arteries in their hearts for nine years.
Half of the group were taught Transcendental Meditation along with their normal treatment while the others just received advice on how to modify their diets and exercise routines.
They found that those who regularly meditated reduced their chances of dying or having a heart attack or stroke by 47 per cent compared with those who received traditional care.
In those who were particularly enthusiastic about the meditation or unusually susceptible to stress, the results were even stronger.
They showed a two-thirds reduction in chances of dying during the trial.
Professor Theodore Kotchen, the co-author of the £2.5 million trial, said: "These findings are the strongest documented effects yet produced by a mind-body intervention on cardiovascular disease.
"The effect is as large or larger than major categories of drug treatment for cardiovascular disease."
"This study builds on previous research findings showing that the Transcendental Meditation program reduces high blood pressure, high cholesterol, insulin resistance, psychological stress, and atherosclerosis, and takes it to the next step — lower rates of death, heart attack, and stroke," explained Dr Robert Schneider, co-author.
The research was carried out in the African American population but there is no reason that the same results would not be repeated in the wider world.
Cardiovascular disease is Britain's biggest killer accounting for almost 200,000 deaths a year.
The researchers said that meditation technique should be used as a compliment to the usual drug treatment and not as an alternative.
Transcendental meditation. which is based on an ancient tradition of enlightenment in India, involves sitting quietly and concentrating to focus the mind inwards by silently repeating a mantra – a word or phrase.
The practice, which is carried out for 20 minutes, twice a day, is said to induce inner peace by allowing thoughts to flow in and out of the mind.
It was popularised in the 1960s through the Beatles who learnt the technique through their guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
The study was due to appear in Archives of Internal Medecine but last night its editor said publication was being delayed while last minute data provided by the research team was analysed.

For more information on Mindfulness check this out: Mindfulness

Sunblock ….Sunscreen….What’s the difference?
I get confused with Sunblock and Sunscreen, aren’t they the same thing? Well, they both protect you from getting sun burned, but they work in very different ways.
You have seen those Lifeguards with the white noses… yes that is one form of sunblock. Fortunately, they now come in transparent lotions too! A sunblock physically blocks the rays from reaching your skin. It covers your skin with a protective barrier usually made with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. The rays are not absorbed at all, they are reflected away.
They protect your skin by absorbing specific wave lengths, reflecting some UV rays and allows a certain range of UV light to be absorbed into the skin. With sunscreens you can still get tanned, the sunscreen stops the harmful rays from penetrating too deep. Sunscreens must be applied BEFORE exposure to the sun to be effective. While Sunblock works instantly.
Difference in Harmful Rays
UVB-rays affect the top layers of the skin, responsible for “Sun Burn”.
UVA-rays affect the lower layers of the skin, responsible for “Wrinkles” or Aging.
What dose SPF mean?
SPF is the Sun Protection Factor. This rating tells you how long (not how strong) the product will last. So the lower the rating the more often you have to reapply.
There is a formula, but you have to know how long it takes YOUR skin type to burn in the sun. Once you have that number than you can calculate how long the SPF will last for you. I am fair skinned and will start to burn in the sun in 20 minutes (here in Sunny California, if in the tropics I will burn in 10 minutes). So, if I have a sunscreen with a SPF of 15, I will be protected from burning 15 times longer than if I wasn’t wearing the product.
15(SPF) x 20(minutes for me to burn) = 120 minutes is how long this 15 SPF product will protect me from burning.
The higher the SPF number the longer the product will protect me. When I am sweating, or in and out of the water, I will have to reapply the product more often. Some manufactures will put different ingredients in the higher SPF products to give you more protection. Always read the labels. “Broad Spectrum” screens will protect against both UVB and UVA rays.
When purchasing a sun protection product, know in advance your skin type (how long it takes you to burn), do you need a waterproof product? Are you going to the tropics?(skin burns more quickly there), do you want a complete block, or do you want a bit of a tan? Most importantly are you a different skin type than your spouse, partner, or children?
Since skin cancers run in my family and I am in the sun for hours at a time, I always buy blocks and screens with the most protection I can find. I have found that “Coppertone Sport” continuous spray, 30 SPF, ultra sweat proof, will last for my 4 hour cycling rides. It’s a “Broad Spectrum”, UVA/UVB protection spray. I do recommend this product; it works for both me and my husband. Find what works for you and use it.

Other Sun Facts:

-80% of sun damage occurs before age 18
-The most damaging rays occur between 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
-80% of damaging UV rays can get through clouds
-UV rays bounce off sand, water, and decks
-Tightly woven clothing offers more protection
Hope this has gotten you ready for the lazy days of summer and sun!  

Remember “Protect your Skin”


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