Heart Patients More Hopeful And Less Depressed After Meditation, Drumming

A new study found that patients with severe heart trouble who attended a non-denominational spiritual retreat for just a few days were more hopeful about the future and less depressed following the getaway. In a news release, researchers from the University of Michigan report:

Heart patients who participated in a four-day retreat that included techniques such as meditation, guided imagery, drumming, journal writing and outdoor activities saw immediate improvement in tests measuring depression and hopefulness. Those improvements persisted at three- and six-month follow-up measurements.

The study was the first randomized clinical trial to demonstrate an intervention that raises hope in patients with acute coronary syndrome, a condition that includes chest pain and heart attack. Previous research has shown that hope and its opposite, hopelessness, have an impact on how patients face uncertain futures.

Readers, do you have a spiritual or nonspiritual practice that makes you more hopeful or less depressed? We'd love to hear your stories.

This program aired on August 2, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

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Rachel Zimmerman Reporter
Rachel Zimmerman previously reported on health and the intersection of health and business for WBUR. She is working on a memoir about rebuilding her family after her husband’s suicide. 



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