WHAT IS MEDITATION?

Meditation is a very broad term that encompasses diverse practices whose common goal is to develop a peaceful, serene state of mind and clarity of thought. It can involve developing control over one’s thoughts, for example by intentionally letting go of thoughts that cause distress, or learning to attain a state of conscious awareness that is free of thoughts altogether.

Our Purpose

Our purpose is to be a global facilitator of health and wellness through access, education and advancement of Traditional & Complementary Medicine (T&CM). The World Health Organization (WHO) advises that lifestyle-related diseases (or non-communicable diseases) are responsible for more than 70% of deaths worldwide each year.

Knowledge represents empowerment. By sharing this evidence-based, peer-reviewed research, we aim to supporteveryday people to take ownership of their wellness, by making informed decisions and choices in conjunction with their health professional.

How This Study Could Help Support Your Heart

According to statistics published by the WHO, cardiovascular disease – a common cause of heart failure – isresponsible for an estimated 31% of all deaths globally. This study investigates how meditation may help people with heart failure. It is titled

MEDITATION INTERVENTIONS AMONG HEART FAILURE PATIENTS: AN INTEGRATIVE REVIEW

You can read the full study here: https://academic.oup.com/eurjcn/article/18/8/720/5925392?login=true#210890918

Why Is This Study Important?

Heart failure occurs when the heart is too weak to pump enough blood for the body’s needs, which may result in one’s muscles and organs receiving less nutrients and oxygen.

In   Australia,   approximately   30,000 people  are  diagnosed  with  heart  failure  each  year.  It  is a condition that may develop suddenly or overtime, but is most commonly caused by other cardiovascular conditions such as  heart  attack  or heart disease and is linked with other non- communicable diseases such as lung disease or diabetes.

Heart failure is a long-term condition,  which often cannot be cured and requires lifelong management. This may include medication that makes it easier for the heart to pump blood. For this reason, researchers are investigating non- invasive methods that do not require medication, or complementary therapies that can work alongside conventional treatments to support the body’s natural healing abilities.

What Does This Mean For My Wellness?

According to the Heart Foundation of Australia, the best way to reduce the risk of heart failure is to prevent coronary heart disease and heart attack. This includes lifestyle management techniques such as engaging in physical activity and refraining from smoking. However, given the prevalence of heart failures, it is desirable to have more options available for managing heart failure should it occur.

Given the large body of evidence showing that meditation can benefit symptoms of anxiety, depression and sleep quality in people with conditions such as cancer and multiple sclerosis, researchers were keen to investigate the effects of meditation for heart failure patients. This is particularly as poor sleep quality, depressive symptoms, and poor quality of life are common in people experiencing heart failure.

This integrative review considered the available literature to see what kind of outcomes measures previous studies had examined, and the effect of meditation on heart failure patients. As at 2018, they were able to find six studies involving 306 participants that met their selection criteria. The researchers were careful to exclude therapies that combined meditation and movement, such as yoga or tai chi, so that they could better isolate the effect of meditation on heart failure.

On the whole, the researchers found that meditation could be useful in reducing heart failure symptoms, improving mental wellness and a person’s quality of life.

How Does This Relate To Meditation?

The types of meditation techniques used in the six studies ranged from transcendental meditation, mindfulness meditation to compassionate meditation. While the studies measured different outcomes, five of six studies were interested in the impact of meditation on a person’s mental wellness, whether that be on depression, anxiety, stressor quality of life. Many studies examined the effects of meditation on physical measures such as heart failure symptoms, serum biomarkers and aerobic capacity.

All studies also engaged the use of a qualified or certified meditation practitioner, provided face to face training sessions and required the participants to engage in at least daily meditation at home.

Despite the variables between the research methods in the studies, researchers concluded that meditation had a positive impact on depression and quality of life for heart failure patients. These findings were consistent with the evidence on the benefits of meditation for other chronic illnesses such as cancer and fibromyalgia.

Key Findings About Meditation for Heart Failure

  • Researchers found that meditation had a stronger impact on psychosocial variables such as depression and quality of life than on physical outcomes like aerobic fitness.
  • The results in three of four studies showed that meditation enhanced participants’ quality of life. Four studies also examined the impact of meditation on a person’s depressive symptoms, with three studies reporting significant improvement among heart failure participants.
  • Three studies measured the impact of meditation on heart failure symptoms. While all three reported positive results, the heart failure symptoms measured in each study were Meanwhile, the two studies that evaluated the impact of meditation on patients’ 6 minute walk time, which measures aerobic fitness, showed inconsistent results. As such, researchers recommended further research on the impact of meditation on physical measures such as heart failure symptoms and aerobic fitness.

Disclaimer: The above does not constitute medical advice, and as with any exercise or wellness program, please consult your medical professional before commencing treatments involving meditation.

References

Meditation | SoulAdvisor
Cardiovascular diseases | World Health Organization
Meditation interventions among heart failure patients: An integrative review | European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing
What is heart failure? | Heart Foundation Heart failure | HealthyWA
Heart failure | National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute Yoga | SoulAdvisor
Tai Chi | SoulAdvisor

 

Quoted from journal description

The European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing (EJCN) is a peer- reviewed international journal dedicated to the advancement of knowledge in the field ofcardiovascular nursing and the promotion of evidence-based clinical practice.