On my Podcast REACH, I will be interviewing a transformative meditative leader who helps individuals and employees reduce stress and enhance health through meditation.
As I research more about meditation, and the different types of meditation one can do, I was drawn to Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, who is a believer and practicer of Transcendental Meditation for Heart Health.
I had a heart condition in 2012 where I was having more than 20,000 PVCs (Premature Ventricular Contractions) every 24 hours. There were times I thought my heart was going to stop, or race so fast that I would have a heart attack. One time I was driving my son to High School and I was on the Golden Gate Bridge going into San Francisco. There are no shoulders on the GG Bridge – nowhere to pull over. I went into an episode and literally wanted to stop the car on the bridge and scream for an ambulance.
Instead, I opened all of the windows, turned the air conditioning on full blast and told (not asked) my son to talk to me – tell me I’m OK, I’m doing great – basically distract me.I took deep breaths trying not to hyperventilate. I wasn’t sure I was going to make it over the bridge. I literally thought I was going to die – and would have been OK with it as opposed to the freaked out experience.
A little way over the bridge it subsided, but then it kicked in again on Lombard Street as traffic was stopped on all sides of me. Just breathe…
Somehow, someway I was able to drop my son off and make my way back to a bathroom in the Presidio Park, go into the bathroom and splash cold water on my face.
I made it home and passed out from exhaustion.
Something was up.
It wasn’t until after a few appointments with a cardiology PVC specialist that I learned that my heart issue had to do with STRESS.
Being the overachiever I am, I hid it well. But I was under A LOT OF STRESS. Stress in my marriage, stress with my work and stress with running too many marathons.
I ended up having a heart ablation, which helped, but didn’t cure it. I meditate every morning now and refuse to let stress consume me. I don’t absorb other people’s stress either. I left my marriage. And…I don’t run marathons anymore, but I do jog a few miles a couple of days a week, which seems fine.
Here is Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum with all the advice and science behind it. Funny coincidence….my first child was born at the same hospital in NYC where she is a heart specialist.
Stay tuned next week for my interview with yet another meditation specialist.
I’m dr. Suzanne Steinbaum. I’m the director of women’s heart health at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. For many years, I’ve been spokesperson for Go Red For Women through the American Heart Association, speaking to people across the country, about risk factors for heart disease, and throughout this time I was able to address the major risk factors:
high blood pressure, high Cholesterol, diabetes, sedentary lifestyle, family history and smoking, but it’s not been until very recently that we’ve understood the impact of stress living with that fight-or-flight response that increases epinephrine, norepinephrine and cholesterol.
These are hormones that flow throughout our bodies. During that stress response, it increases blood pressure, they increase cholesterol and they increase inflammation. All of these things lead to high blood pressure lead to plaque in the arteries, and that, in turn, is what leads to heart disease.
When I prescribe a statin that can lower cholesterol, I’m happy when I get efficacy of treatment at about 30 %. But now I know when I treat stress I can get as much as a 48 to 66 percent improvement with TM.
The American Heart Association made a scientific statement that Transcendental Meditation was the only form of stress management and meditation to reduce blood pressure. It is the most efficacious way for us to treat one of the major risk factors of heart disease, which is stress.
There have been 350 studies and 28 million dollars put towards the research of Transcendental. Meditation studies have shown that it not only decreases blood pressure, but it helps people who have heart disease function, better live healthier lives and it actually has been shown to reduce stroke heart attacks along with high blood pressure. It is a very effective treatment tool.