Heart DiseaseRelaxationYoga

Benefits of yoga for lowering blood pressure in cardiac-rehab pateints

Just don’t call it yoga!

Klinik Roderbirken der Deutschen Rentenversicherung, in Germany reported their findings during the EuroPREVENT 2010 meeting.

First, the details.

  • 340 male cardiac-rehabilitation patients with high blood pressure following their initial heart attack or percutaneous coronary intervention (coronary angioplasty) were randomly assigned to a “relaxation” group for 5 sessions per week lasting 30- to 60-minutes for 3 weeks.
    • Relaxation #1: Standard intensive cardiac-rehab program that included PMR (progressive muscle relaxation; a technique based on alternate tensing and relaxing of muscles)
    • Relaxation #2: Viniyoga (most of the patients didn’t realize they were doing yoga)
  • Cardiac rehabilitation is a medically supervised program to help heart patients recover quickly and improve overall physical and mental functioning.
  • After 3 weeks, men were encouraged to continue their programs at home and told that a questionnaire would be sent to them after 6 months.

And, the results.

  • At 3 weeks, systolic blood-pressure in men in the Relaxation #2 (yoga group) declined by 8 mmHg vs 6 mmHg in the Relaxation #1 group.
  • Among men with the highest systolic blood pressures (greater than 140 mmHg), declines in the yoga group were significantly more pronounced: 21 mmHg vs 13 mmHg in the Relaxation #1 group.
  • Most of the patients were on multidrug antihypertensive regimens.
  • By 6 months, 50% of Relaxation #1 patients continued therapy at least once per week vs 30% of the Relaxation #2 (yoga group).

The bottom line?

The author’s concluded, it’s too soon to make yoga an integral part of cardiac-rehab. However, ongoing studies in patients with higher blood pressure might change this.

They were impressed that 30% of the patients (mostly “low educated” males) continued with yoga for 6 months.

5/13/10 17:08 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 www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.