Date of Award
Master of Physician Assistant Studies
Physician Assistant Education
Attention has long been paid to the mysterious nature of the mind’s impact on physiologic function. This has been central to medicine whether disseminated as anecdotal and cliché in nature or founded in science. Interest has been increasing as patients and providers alike become fascinated with integration of western and eastern approaches to medicine. Diet and exercise are consistent components of clinician mantra. Recently though, integrated terms like mindful meditation, yoga, and spiritual healing are growing in popularity and reframing lifestyle change interventions. These terms will be collectively referred to as mind-body exercises (MBE), unless any distinction is necessary.
Heart disease has been the leading cause of death for nearly one hundred years in the United States despite large efforts from healthcare providers to educate, prevent, and treat cardiovascular diseases (CVD).1,2 Diet and exercise have been implemented as first line therapy to improve cardiovascular health, prevent CVD, treat hypertension, and improve blood cholesterol values. The second approach is utilizing an arsenal of medications with varying efficacy and side effect profiles. As alternative medicine has become more popular, patients are becoming increasingly skeptical of these medications. At the same time compelling evidence for non-pharmaceutical options outside of dietary modification and physical fitness is growing. Studies show a strong link between MBE and improving cardiovascular measures. The goal of this literature review is to elucidate what parameters are most susceptible to MBEs, how those parameters can be modified to reduce CVD risk, and how the knowledgeable clinician can utilize MBEs to optimize patient-centered care. This review will demonstrate a judicious clinical approach to interpreting current recommendations for treating CVD patients and understanding what about the current model can be improved upon and what patient demographics should be considered when prescribing MBE.
Hernandez, Jordan, "Effective Use of Meditation as an Intervention to Cardiovascular Disease" (2020). Physician's Assistant Program Capstones. 60.