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Man wearing tefillin

Expanded Cardiovascular Benefits Shown When Wearing Tefillin - Study

The cardiovascular health of both men and women who wear tefillin (phylacteries) around their arms can improve, according to new research at the University of Cincinnati (UC).

The study suggests those benefits are the result of ischemic, or reduced, blood-flow preconditioning that produces protection from the damage caused by heart attacks.

“Tefillin is used for morning prayers for Jewish men over the age of 13 on weekdays,” said clinical internal medicine Prof. Jack Rubinstein of the Division of Cardiovascular Health in UC’s College of Medicine.

“It is placed on the non-dominant arm around the bicep and the forearm in a fairly tight manner,” he said. “It is never worn in a fashion as to occlude the blood flow. This is traditionally worn for about 30 minutes continuously during prayers, which involve sitting and standing, resulting in occasional retightening of the strap around your arm.”

The study included 14 men and 16 women. The binding of the arm and the discomfort users often report may serve as a form of preconditioning, and offer a substantial degree of protection against the damage that occurs when someone suffers a sudden loss of blood flow (acute ischemia) or after the blood supply is restored to a tissue or organ after an ischemic event (reperfusion), Rubinstein said.

“It means that if we can have people wearing tefillin or a similar device, and they can get themselves to be preconditioned every day, we expect that those people should be protected or should have a decreased amount of damage if they should get a heart attack during the time they are protected,” he said. “This is a low-intensity way of protecting people from heart attacks.” (JPost / VFI News)

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