Tags: High Blood Pressure | blood pressure | meditation

Meditation and Blood Pressure Reduction: Does It Work?

By    |   Friday, 24 Jun 2016 05:31 PM

Meditation has relaxing effects that can help reduce risk of heart disease, but research on its effectiveness at reducing blood pressure still remains inconclusive.

Meditating includes quiet contemplation, deep breathing, and other exercises to relax the mind and body.

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A 2013 study by researchers at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, Canada, found that meditation did not lower blood pressure for people whose levels were slightly above normal, Reuters reported.

In previous studies, meditation appeared to work to lower blood pressure, but most of the subjects had also been taking medication for the same reason, according to Dr. Sheldon Tobe, who led the Toronto study.

About half of the 101 people in the study underwent mindfulness meditation for eight weeks. They showed no significant difference in their blood pressure levels from those who had not practiced meditation.

Although most of the participants doing mediation exercises reported they felt better, it had no effect on blood pressure.

“Few interventions are as powerful as medication (to reduce blood pressure),” Tobe told Reuters Health.

A 1995 study found African-Americans with high blood pressure had significantly reduced blood pressure when practicing transcendental meditation — which combines meditation with repeated words or phrases and other yoga practices — compared to a group that used muscle relaxation techniques, WebMD reports.

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Another study in 2012 on African-Americans with heart disease found they were less likely to have a heart attack or stroke when practicing transcendental meditation over a five-year period, according to the American Heart Association.

Meditation for 20 to 30 minutes a day helps reduce stress that can affect the body over a long period, Richard A. Stein, professor of medicine at New York University’s Center for Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease, tells the AHA.

Frequent or chronic stress releases adrenaline that increases blood pressure, and meditation helps to reduce stress, he says.

Because study results are mixed on meditation’s role in lowering blood pressure, using other methods to lower stress along with meditation might help with a person’s overall health. These methods include a healthy diet, lowering salt intake, and getting regular exercise.

Meditation should not be a replacement for diet, exercise, and medication to treat risk factors for heart disease, Stein says.

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Meditation has relaxing effects that can help reduce risk of heart disease, but research on its effectiveness at reducing blood pressure still remains inconclusive.
blood pressure, meditation
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2016-31-24
Friday, 24 Jun 2016 05:31 PM
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