Echo Meditation: Medicine for the Modern Soul   By Edye Caine, MA and Mark P. Abrams, MD

Combining Mental and Physical Wellness

According to the CDC, heart disease is the number one cause of death and yet is 80% preventable. You may ask if so much of it is preventable, why don’t we treat it better? Well, much of that 80% is related to lifestyle changes years – even decades – before any problem would arise. While the usual risk factors like high blood pressure and cholesterol are commonly identified, did you know that mental health issues also contribute to heart disease?

Much of traditional Medicine focuses on treating issues once they’re already there instead of focusing on preventing them in the first place. Because of that culture of being reactive instead of proactive, physical symptoms are often treated while risk factors best addressed with non-pharmacologic therapy may be de-emphasized or even ignored. Stress, for example, is something that everyone experiences. In fact, many researchers have studied how it can actually contribute toward heart disease. So should you be seeing a Cardiologist for stress? Perhaps not, but you should come to think that your mental health matters for your heart health. That’s why Heartbeat Health, a unique cardiology practice focused on cardiovascular disease prevention, and Edye Caine, an intuitive therapist, have teamed up to provide a new experience that allows you to put your mind in your heart, physically and metaphorically.

What is Echo Meditation?

Echo Meditation is a private meditation that uses guided imagery, biofeedback, and real-time ultrasound videos of your own beating heart so you can see your heart while you journey deeper into your soul. It is a micro-retreat that leaves you relaxed, refreshed, and inspired. You will be able to leave your worries at the door and completely relax in a soothing setting. This is not your normal visit to the doctor!

After learning about the structure and function of the heart, it becomes easy to take the journey physiologically as well as mentally and emotionally. The experience provides an opportunity to integrate real images from the screen with those conjured up throughout the meditation.

Clients that have participated were pleasantly surprised by what they experienced.

“So much more than I expected… beyond words.”

This was what Donna Murano said after her Echo Meditation session. She went onto say, “Everybody should experience this. It really made me aware of how hard my heart works to keep me alive.” She commented that it made her realize that while she’s always thought of needing to take care of her heart, the experience changed her perspective about how much her heart takes care of her.

Ruth Kambar from Greenwich, CT, who had never meditated before, but tried Echo Meditation said:

“I really did not know what to expect, but once giving into the experience, I was carried… and then comforted.”

Why Meditation for Heart Health?

We’ve all been told about the benefits of meditation. It is said to reduce stress, improve concentration, increase self-awareness, slow aging, and benefit cardiovascular health. So if that’s the case, why aren’t we all taking time each day to meditate? Perhaps we claim not to have the time, or we feel as if we can’t possibly quiet our minds long enough to meditate. Maybe it’s because we don’t believe that it can really be effective. Well, there’s quality research that says otherwise.

In a study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, consistent meditative practice reduced the grey-matter density in the areas of the brain connected to anxiety and stress. People who meditate were better able to focus their attention on tasks at hand.

Another study from All India Institute of Medical Sciences included 32 adult participants that had never meditated before. The results showed that if participants meditated before stressful events, the negative impacts of the stress were lessened.

Furthermore, Harvard Medical School conducted a study that demonstrated that after participants practiced meditation, they improved mitochondrial energy production, consumption, and resiliency. This led to higher immunity levels and resilience to stress.

With regards to heart disease and its risk factors, clinical research shows that practicing Zen Meditation not only reduces stress, but actually lowers blood pressure. Two-thirds of patients with high blood pressure showed significant improvements in their numbers after 3 months of meditation. Relaxation, as demonstrated in this study, resulted in the formation of nitric oxide, thereby opening up blood vessels to reduce blood pressure. Studies like these have led the American Heart Association to conclude that meditation can reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and help prevent cardiovascular disease.

In summary, not only does meditation lead to reduced stress, which in and of itself is thought to be a risk factor for heart disease, but it can also help manage other more traditional risk factors such as high blood pressure. A consistent meditative practice can help you to maintain your physical and mental health. There are no risks and no negative side effects. The only consequences are improved health, balance, and ease!

For more information about Echo Meditation, Heartbeat Health, and Edye Caine, click here: echo meditation.

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