A study by a Pune-based cardiac surgeon and a geopathologist has claimed that chanting God's name keeps a person's heart healthy. While the research aims to bring science and spirituality together, doctors say any form of meditation can benefit the body.
The researchers – Dr Avinash Inamdar, former head of cardiac surgery department at Pune's Sassoon General Hospital and geopathologist Pandit Pramod Joshi – monitored heart functions of 30 individuals and energy levels of their heart 'chakra'.
The team documented that heart parameters showed significant improvement when compared to results carried out before and after the chanting which continued for about ten minutes. The study was recently published in the Asiatic Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
The researchers said they were greatly inspired by the Warkaris who walk kilometers chanting the Vitthal mantra on their way to Pandharpur.
Many cardiologists, however, refused to draw a direct link between chanting God's name and a healthy heart. They said any form of meditation can improve a person's heart rate and bring in positive outcome if done on a long-term basis.
Dr C N Makhale, head of cardiac cathlab at Ruby Hall Clinic said that such activities help control the autonomic nervous system, which regulates the functions of internal organs such as the heart, stomach and intestines. "For example, during a bad dream, a person gets palpitations. Similarly, by concentrating on a single object associated with a positive feeling can improve heart functions."
Another cardiologist, Dr Rahul Patil, said when a person concentrates on a single point, it results in reduction of stress and benefits the heart. "I don't believe that only God's name will bring this effect. Any form of deep meditation helps one's health," he said.
Meanwhile, the researchers agreed that their sample size was small. The plan to conduct a larger clinical trial in the coming months to explore the role of chanting Vitthal on both healthy as well as cardiac patients.
"The tests were done before and after the individuals chanted Vitthal for nine minutes. The results showed an average improvement of 20 per cent in the heart energy level," said Inamdar.
He said though the normal heart rate is between 70 and 80 beats a minute, half the patients in the study had a heart rate of above 85.