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Ayurvedic medicine reverses atherosclerosis

IHN logo Ayurvedic medicine (meditation, yoga, walking, herbal remedies) has been found to be effective in reversing atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis involves a thickening of the inner wall (intima) of the arteries. It is thus possible to follow the progression/regression of atherosclerosis by a non-invasive, ultrasonic measurement of the intima-media thickness (IMT) of the carotid arteries. Researchers at Maharishi University and the St. Joseph Hospital in Chicago have just completed a study in which they evaluated the effect of various diet and lifestyle modifications on IMT. The study involved 43 men and women over the age of 65 years. Fifteen of the participants had two or more risk factors for coronary heart disease and were classified as a "high risk" group. The participants were randomly allocated to either receive just usual care from their normal health care providers (control group), to receive the best atherosclerosis prevention care offered by modern medicine (modern medicine group) or to participate in a preventive program based on Ayurvedic medicine (Maharishi Vedic Medicine [MVM] program). The MVM program included daily meditation, yoga, walking, herbal remedies and a diet high in fruit and vegetables. All participants had their IMT measured at the beginning of the study and after having followed the program for a year. Followers of the MVM program were found to be four times more likely to have experienced a decrease in IMT than were those who had been assigned to the modern medicine or the control group. The difference was particularly noteworthy in the high-risk group. Here the IMT in the MVM group decreased by 0.32 mm on the average as compared to a decrease of 0.08 mm in the modern medicine group and a 0.02 mm increase in the control group. The researchers conclude that the MVM program resulted in regression of atherosclerosis in 80 per cent of all members of the MVM group and in 100 per cent of the members of the high risk MVM group. This is comparable to the results achieved with the program designed by Dr. Dean Ornish. They do emphasize though that their study was really only a pilot program and that larger scale trials are required to confirm their findings.
Fields, Jeremy Z., et al. Effect of a multimodality natural medicine program on carotid atherosclerosis in older subjects: a pilot trial of Maharishi Vedic Medicine. American Journal of Cardiology, Vol. 89, April 15, 2002, pp. 952-58
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