Guided ImageryHigh Blood PressureMeditationYoga

Beneficial response to yoga in reducing hypertension

Researchers reported during the annual meeting of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians that “mind-body interventions may be prudent choices for adjunctive treatment for motivated patients.”

First, the details.

  • Studies comparing mind-body techniques (meditation, yoga, and guided imagery) alone or combined with conventional treatment vs conventional treatment alone or no treatment were reviewed.

And, the results.

  • Results from 12 studies were included in the reanalysis (meta-analysis).
  • Mind-body techniques significantly reduced systolic blood pressure (BP) by 12 mmHg and diastolic BP by 7 mmHg.
  • Yoga therapies showed the best results, with average systolic BP reductions of 19 mm Hg and diastolic BP by 13 mmHg.
  • Significant lowering of systolic BP was reported with yoga and meditation therapy, but only yoga therapies demonstrated significant reductions in diastolic BP.

The bottom line?
The authors concluded, “The absolute reductions in blood pressure were comparable to pharmacologic monotherapy in both effect size and temporality. Additionally, reductions in systolic and diastolic blood pressure to the degree found in yoga interventions were associated with reductions in vascular death rates as well as decreased overall cardiac risk.”

Despite the limitations of a review, Dr. Ather Ali suggests “mind-body interventions may be prudent choices for adjunctive treatment for motivated patients.”

Recommendations for asanas (postures in a yoga exercise) that regulate blood pressure are discussed here. My recommendation: get yourself a yogi.

8/23/07 20:10 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.