An intervention program that combines yoga and meditation can help manage prehypertension, often referred to as borderline high blood pressure.
The study reported in Psychosomatic Medicine: Journal of Biobehavioral Medicine found that the mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program helped lower blood pressure in people diagnosed with prehypertension.
Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is a program developed by Dr Jon Kabat-Zinn from the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in the US that combines mindfulness meditation with yoga.
Researchers looked at 56 people, both men and women. All participants had prehypertension, a situation where blood pressure crosses the normal level, but does not reach a point where medication is required. The condition is among the major medical concerns as it can increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases, including heart disease.
The participants were divided into two groups. The first group received the MBSR program for two-and-half hours per week, while the rest took a program that included lifestyle advice and muscle relaxation activity. The program concentrated on body scan exercises, yoga and meditation.
At the end of the study, the researchers found that the yoga and meditation-based program helped lower systolic blood pressure in the first group -both the first high number (5mm Hg) and the second lower number (2mmHg), compared to the second group (1 mm Hg and 1 mm Hg, respectively).
"Our results provide evidence that MBSR, when added to lifestyle modification advice, may be an appropriate complementary treatment for BP in the prehypertensive range," Dr. Joel W. Hughes, from the Kent State University, Ohio in the US, said in a news release. The authors added that mindfulness-based interventions can help avoid the need to take antihypertensive medications.
"Mindfulness-based stress reduction is an increasingly popular practice that has been purported to alleviate stress, treat depression and anxiety, and treat certain health conditions," Dr Hughes added.
The power of yoga in keeping the mind and body relaxed and curing many deadly diseases is well known. A study presented at the International Conference on Endgame for Tobacco, held in Delhi last month, provided solid evidence to prove that yoga can help smokers to quit their habit.
Another study published in the Journal of Yoga and Physical Therapy, recently reported that yoga can treat early stage diabetes and heart disease, effectively.