Reducing blood pressure and stress

Ponte, P., et al. (2018). Benefits Of Mindfulness Meditation In Reducing Blood Pressure And Stress In Patients With Arterial Hypertension. Journal of Hypertension36, e294-e295.

From the Abstract. The objective of this randomized controlled trial is to evaluate the benefits of mindfulness meditation in controlling ambulatory blood pressure (BP) and the impact of the intervention on anxiety, stress and depression levels in a Mediterranean population.

Twenty-four and 18 patients [n = 42; mean age 56.5 (7.7) years; similar men and women proportions] with high-normal BP or grade I hypertension were enrolled to an intervention and a control group, respectively.

For 2 h/week over 8 weeks, the intervention group received mindfulness training and the control group attended health education talks. The patients attended pre-intervention, week 4, week 8 and week 20 follow-up visits. . . .

Improvements were observed in the intervention group in terms of being less judgemental, more accepting and less depressed. In conclusion, by week 8 the mindfulness group had lower clinically measured SBP, 24-h SBP, at-rest SBP and diastolic BP values.

Measured effect of Himalayan singing bowl

Landry, J. M. (2013). Physiological and Psychological Effects of a Himalayan Singing Bowl in Meditation Practice: A Quantitative Analysis. American Journal of Health Promotion. From the Abstract.

Purpose.  To determine the physiological and psychological effects of adding a Himalayan singing bowl (HSB) to a directed relaxation (DR) session.

Subjects.  Fifty-one participants completed two randomly assigned sessions beginning with either 12 minutes of HSB or silence, followed by a 20-minute DR session.

Measures.  Blood pressure (BP), heart rate (HR), Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS) scores measured before and after both sessions.

Results.  Fifty-one participants completed both sessions. There was a greater decline in systolic BP and HR with HSB compared to silence prior to DR. Changes in diastolic BP were greater with HSB, with a nonsignificant trend. Hypertensive subjects had similar and significant BP changes with HSB and silence when compared to normotensive subjects).

Conclusions.  BP and HR responses were enhanced by HSB exposure.

Posititve influence on cardiovascular system

Olex, S., Newberg, A., & Figueredo, V. M. (2013). Meditation: Should a cardiologist care?. International Journal of Cardiology. Published online. Abstract.

Meditation refers to a family of practices that may share many similarities, but can have differences in underlying methods and goals. Religious and spiritual associations are common but are not requisite for meditation practice and it should be recognized that the basis of many if not all practices is the training of the brain and body, a process that appears to have profound effects on both structure and function.

In recent decades there has been interest regarding the effects of these ancient practices on the cardiovascular system, as meditation has intuitive appeal for benefit in this area. Though there is a relative shortage of quality data, available evidence suggests that meditation may exert beneficial effects on autonomic tone, autonomic reflexes, and decrease blood pressure acutely and after long term practice. In addition, meditation has the potential to positively influence the cardiovascular system through the mind–heart connection and the anti-inflammatory reflex.

There is limited but promising data to suggest that meditation based interventions can have beneficial effects on patients with established cardiovascular disease. More high quality and unbiased studies of meditation practices on relevant endpoints in cardiovascular disease are needed, including the effects of such practices on inflammation, baseline heart rate variability, arrhythmias, myocardial infarction, and cardiovascular mortality.

Reduces symptoms of anxiety, depression, blood pressure in patients with coronary heart disease.

Parswani, M. J., Sharma, M. P., & Iyengar, S. S. (2013). Mindfulness-based stress reduction program in coronary heart disease: A randomized control trial. International Journal of Yoga, 6(2), 111. Full text.

From the Abstract: Psychological risk factors such as anxiety and depression have been associated with coronary heart disease (CHD). Stress can have an impact on the risk factors for the disease, such as high blood pressure (BP), physical inactivity and being overweight.

Thirty male patients, age range (30-65 years) with CHD were randomly allocated to either [treatment and control] group. The therapeutic program comprised eight weekly sessions of structured MBSR intervention for the MBSR group and one health education session for the [control] group. Regular medical intervention and monthly consultations with the cardiologist were consistent for both groups.

All patients completed intervention in the MBSR group. Significant reduction was observed in symptoms of anxiety and depression, perceived stress, BP and BMI in patients of the MBSR group after the completion of intervention assessment. At 3-month follow-up, therapeutic gains were maintained in patients of the MBSR group.

Reduces anxiety symptoms and blood pressure

Chen Y., et al. (2012). A randomized controlled trial of the effects of brief mindfulness meditation on anxiety symptoms and systolic blood pressure in Chinese nursing students. [Abbreviated abstract; Abstract in full]. Nurse Education Today, Dec 19.

Method: intervention except pre-post treatment measurements. The Self-Rating Anxiety Scale and Self-Rating Depression Scale were administered to participants, and heart rate and blood pressure were measured.

Conclusions: Brief mindfulness meditation was beneficial for Chinese nursing students in reducing anxiety symptoms and lowering systolic blood pressure. Individuals with moderate anxiety are most likely to benefit from a short-term mindfulness meditation program.

Reduces blood pressure

Goldstein, C. M., et al. (2012). Current perspectives on the use of meditation to reduce blood pressure.  [Abstract]. International Journal of Hypertension. Published online March 5, 2012.

Meditation techniques are increasingly popular practices that may be useful in preventing or reducing elevated blood pressure. We reviewed landmark studies and recent literature concerning the use of meditation for reducing blood pressure in pre-hypertensive and hypertensive individuals. … Meditation techniques appear to produce small yet meaningful reductions in blood pressure either as monotherapy or in conjunction with traditional pharmacotherapy. Read article in full.