Improve Attention with Short-Term Loving Kindness Meditation

Improve Attention with Short-Term Loving Kindness Meditation

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“meditation practice is associated with enduring improvements in sustained attention,” – Anthony Zanesco

 

There has accumulated a large amount of research demonstrating that mindfulness has significant benefits for psychological, physiological, and spiritual wellbeing. It even improves high level thinking known as executive function and emotion regulation and compassion. One of the primary effects of mindfulness training is an improvement in the ability to pay attention to the task at hand and ignore interfering stimuli. This is an important consequence of mindfulness training and produces improvements in thinking, reasoning, and creativity. The importance of heightened attentional ability to the individual’s ability to navigate the demands of complex modern life cannot be overstated. It helps in school, at work, in relationships, or simply driving a car.

 

One understudied meditation technique is Loving Kindness Meditation. It is designed to develop kindness and compassion to oneself and others. The individual systematically pictures different individuals from self, to close friends, to enemies and wishes them happiness, well-being, safety, peace, and ease of well-being. Although Loving Kindness Meditation has been practiced for centuries, it has received very little scientific research attention. As important as attention is, it’s surprising that little is known about the short-term effects of Loving Kindness Meditation on attention.

 

In today’s Research News article “Short-Term Effects of Meditation on Sustained Attention as Measured by fNIRS.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7564228/ ) Izzetoglu and colleagues recruited healthy non-meditating college students. During the one session study the participants had their blood pressure and heart rate monitored and functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) sensors placed on their foreheads. “fNIRS is an optics-based brain imaging modality which can measure relative changes in oxygenated (HbO2) and deoxygenated (Hb) hemoglobin using light in the near infrared range (650–950 nm)”. It is thought to measure blood flow from the prefrontal cortex which is involved in high level thinking.

 

The participants were then measured for sustained attention by performing in order the Stroop Color task, the Stroop word task, and then the Stroop Color Word task. These measurements were followed by a guided 22-minute Loving Kindness Meditation practice. After meditation the three sustained attention (Stroop) tasks were repeated. In the color Stroop test names of colors were presented in colors different from the word, e.g. the word RED appears in a blue color. The participants are asked to report the word (naming) or the color of the word ignoring the meaning of the word itself (inhibition) or switch back and forth (Executive function).

 

They found that in comparison to per-meditation, after Loving Kindness Meditation practice there was a significant increase in the speed of responding on the Stroop tasks and reduction in pulse pressure and systolic blood pressure. The fNIRS measure during the Stroop task suggested that after meditation there was a significant increase in blood flow to the dorsal lateral prefrontal cortex and area thought to be involved in attentional focus.

 

The study was very short term and there was no control comparison group. So, the results must be interpreted carefully. Nevertheless, they suggest that the immediate effects of Loving Kindness Meditation practice is to improve attentional focus reflected in behavioral performance, physiological relaxation, and brain activity. These short term effects of meditation are compatible with the observed long term effects of Loving Kindness Meditation. This suggests that the long-term effects of the meditation on the physiology and behavior occur due to an accumulation of short-term impacts.

 

So, improve attention with short-term Loving Kindness Meditation.

 

meditation training helps people do better at focusing for a long time on a task that requires them to distinguish small differences between things they see.” – Science Daily

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

 

Study Summary

 

Izzetoglu, M., Shewokis, P. A., Tsai, K., Dantoin, P., Sparango, K., & Min, K. (2020). Short-Term Effects of Meditation on Sustained Attention as Measured by fNIRS. Brain sciences, 10(9), 608. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10090608

 

Abstract

Cognitive abilities such as attention, memory, processing time, perception, and reasoning can be augmented using some type of intervention. Within the broad range of conventional and unconventional intervention methods used in cognitive enhancement, meditation is one of those that is safe, widely practiced by many since ancient times, and has been shown to reduce stress and improve psychological health and cognitive functioning. Various neuroimaging studies using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and electroencephalography (EEG) have shown functional and structural changes due to meditation in different types of meditation practices and on various groups of meditators. Recently, a few studies on meditation have used functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) to study the effects of meditation on cerebral hemodynamics. In this study, we examined the short-term effects of loving-kindness (LK) meditation on sustained attention using behavioral performance measures, physiological outcomes, and cognitive activity as measured by fNIRS in first-time meditators during Stroop color word task (SCWT) performance. Our results indicated that behavioral outcomes, assessed mainly on response time (RT) during SCWT performance, showed a significant decrease after meditation. As expected, physiological measures, primarily pulse pressure (PP) measured after meditation dropped significantly as compared to the before meditation measurement. For the hemodynamic measures of oxygenated-hemoglobin (HbO2), deoxygenated-hemoglobin (Hb), and total-hemoglobin (HbT), our findings show significant differences in SCWT performance before and after meditation. Our results suggest that LK meditation can result in improvements in cognitive, physiological, and behavioral outcomes of first-time meditators after a short-term session.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7564228/

 

Reduce Heart Arrhythmia with Yoga

Reduce Heart Arrhythmia with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

the practice of yoga is good for overall heart health, and especially beneficial for afib patients. Yoga can help reduce the number of episodes, lower blood pressure, and alleviate some of the anxiety and depression that may go along with having the condition.” – Midwest Health

 

Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer, claiming more lives than all forms of cancer combined. Lifestyle changes have proved to be quite effective in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. These include quitting smoking, weight reduction, improved diet, physical activity, and reducing stresses. Contemplative practices, such as meditation, tai chi, and yoga, have also been shown to be helpful for heart health. These practices have also been shown to be helpful for producing the kinds of other lifestyle changes needed such as smoking cessationweight reduction and stress reduction. Yoga is a mindfulness practice that has been shown to improve physical well-being and cardiovascular health.

 

An arrhythmia is a problem with the rate or rhythm of the heartbeat. During an arrhythmia, the heart can beat too fast, too slowly, or with an irregular rhythm. When a heart beats too fast, the condition is called tachycardia. When a heart beats too slowly, the condition is called bradycardia.” (NIH). Arrythmias if untreated could lead to heart failure, stroke, cardiac arrest and sudden infant death. So, it is very important to identify treatments for arrhythmias. Research on the ability of yoga practice to treat arrhythmias has been accumulating, So, it makes sense to step back and review what has been learned on the ability of yoga to treat heart arrhythmia.

 

In today’s Research News article “Impact of Yoga on Cardiac Autonomic Function and Arrhythmias.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7533135/ ) Akella and colleagues review and summarized the published research on the effects of yoga practice on heart arrhythmia and its symptoms.

 

They report that the published research studies found that practicing yoga reduces heart arrhythmias. It reduces resting blood pressure and heart rate in these patients and reduces atrial fibrillation, ventricular arrhythmia and syncope. They further report that the published research suggests that these benefits results from yoga practice producing an increase in vagal tone and a reduction in fluctuations in the autonomic nervous system.

 

The autonomic nervous system is responsible for controlling the physiology of the body including the cardiovascular system. The sympathetic division of the autonomic nervous system is the component that oversees activation, including increases in heart rate and blood pressure while the parasympathetic division, controlled through the vagus nerve, oversees relaxation including decreases in heart rate and blood pressure. The increase in vagal tone observed in the yoga practitioners indicates an increase in the parasympathetic, relaxation, responses. The reduction in fluctuation in the autonomic nervous system indicates that there is less variation over time in the physiological systems, fewer wild swings in heart rate and blood pressure. In this way, yoga practice appears to improve cardiovascular function and thereby reduce arrhythmias. Needless to say that this is very beneficial for the health and even survival of these patients.

 

So, reduce heart arrhythmia with yoga.

 

Yoga may improve quality of life in patients with paroxysmal AFib because it gives them a method to gain some self-control over their symptoms instead of feeling helpless,” – Maria Wahlström

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Akella, K., Kanuri, S. H., Murtaza, G., G Della Rocca, D., Kodwani, N., K Turagam, M., Shenthar, J., Padmanabhan, D., Basu Ray, I., Natale, A., Gopinathannair, R., & Lakkireddy, D. (2020). Impact of Yoga on Cardiac Autonomic Function and Arrhythmias. Journal of atrial fibrillation, 13(1), 2408. https://doi.org/10.4022/jafib.2408

 

Abstract

With the expanding integration of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practices in conjunction with modern medicine, yoga has quickly risen to being one of the most common CAM practices across the world. Despite widespread use of yoga, limited studies are available, particularly in the setting of dysrhythmia. Preliminary studies demonstrate promising results from integration of yoga as an adjunct to medical therapy for management of dysrhythmias. In this review, we discuss the role of autonomic nervous system in cardiac arrhythmia,interaction of yoga with autonomic tone and its subsequent impact on these disease states. The role of yoga in specific disease states, and potential future direction for studies assessing the role of yoga in dysrhythmia.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7533135/

 

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Reduce Blood Pressure with Tai Chi

Reduce Blood Pressure with Tai Chi

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

As is true for meditation and deep breathing exercises, tai chi may help lower blood pressure. . .  It’s not as much as you’d see from taking medication, but it’s similar in magnitude to other lifestyle interventions, such as doing modest amounts of exercise and consuming less sodium.” – Harvard Health

 

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) is an insidious disease because there are no overt symptoms. The individual feels fine. But it can be deadly as more than 360,000 American deaths, roughly 1,000 deaths each day, had high blood pressure as a primary or contributing cause. In addition, hypertension markedly increases the risk heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and kidney disease.  It is also a very common disorder with about 70 million American adults (29%) having high blood pressure and only about half (52%) of people with high blood pressure have their condition under control. Treatment frequently includes antihypertensive drugs. But these medications often have adverse side effects. So, patients feel lousy when taking the drugs, but fine when they’re not. So, compliance is a major issue with many patients not taking the drugs regularly or stopping entirely.

 

Obviously, there is a need for alternatives to drugs for reducing blood pressure. Mindfulness practices have been shown to aid in controlling hypertension. Tai Chi is ancient mindfulness practice involving slow prescribed movements. Since Tai Chi is both a mindfulness practice and an exercise, it is particularly acceptable and effective methods to improve cardiovascular health. The research has been accumulating. So, it makes sense to step back and summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials of the Effects of Tai Chi on Blood Pressure.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7563036/ ) Dong and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the ability of Tai Chi practice to reduce blood pressure in both normal and hypertensive patients. They identified 24 published controlled trials.

 

They report that the published research studies found that Tai Chi practice significantly reduced both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in both hypertensive and normal blood pressure participants. But the improvements observed with Tai Chi practice were no greater than those found with other aerobic exercises. The published research studies then demonstrate that Tai Chi practice reduces blood pressure in both normal and hypertensive patients. But is no better than other aerobic exercises.

 

Thus, exercise in general including Tai Chi practice is good for cardiovascular health. Tai Chi practice, though, has a number of advantages. It is gentle and completely safe, can be used with the elderly and sickly, is inexpensive to administer, can be performed in groups or alone, at home or in a facility or even public park, and can be quickly learned. In addition, it can also be practiced in social groups without professional supervision. This can make it fun, improving the likelihood of long-term engagement in the practice. Hence, Tai Chi practice may be better for cardiovascular health than other exercises because it is more likely to be engaged in and maintained.

 

So, reduce blood pressure with Tai Chi.

 

Tai chi may be just as effective as popular methods for lowering blood pressure, such as weight loss and lowered sodium intake.” – Abbott

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Dong, X., Ding, M., & Yi, X. (2020). Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials of the Effects of Tai Chi on Blood Pressure. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM, 2020, 8503047. https://doi.org/10.1155/2020/8503047

 

Abstract

Objectives

The purpose of this study was to investigate the influences of Tai Chi on blood pressure (BP) using the meta-analysis.

Methods

This paper used 6 e-resource databases, and randomized controlled trials on the role of Tai Chi on blood pressure were retrieved. Besides, the meta-analysis was conducted according to the guidelines of the Moose-recommendations and applied with Review Manager 5.3, and the risk of bias assessment was performed with the Cochrane Collaboration’s tool. The inclusion, data extraction, and risk of bias assessment were independently finished by two researchers.

Results

There are 24 trials meeting the criteria of inclusion and the results were reviewed. The meta-analysis indicates that, compared with no exercise, Tai Chi had the influence of lowering systolic blood pressure (mean difference = −6.07, 95%CI (−8.75, −3.39), P < 0.00001) and diastolic blood pressure (mean difference MD = −3.83, 95%CI (−4.97, −2.69), P < 0.00001). No significant discrepancies in all outcomes between Tai Chi and other aerobic exercises were discovered.

Conclusion

Tai Chi can significantly reduce systolic and diastolic pressure than inactivity. However, Tai Chi does not show advantages in reducing blood pressure compared to other aerobic exercises.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7563036/

 

Improve Health and Treat Illness with Qigong

Improve Health and Treat Illness with Qigong

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

in order to do qigong … we have to be pretend to be empty, so the first thing to empty is the mind, so we try not to think of anything and only listen to our breathing, relax all the strength and relax the mind, so it’s some kind of meditation.” – Joe Lok

 

Tai Chi and Qigong are ancient mindfulness practices involving slow prescribed movements. They are gentle and completely safe, can be used with the elderly and sickly, are inexpensive to administer, can be performed in groups or alone, at home or in a facility or even public park, and can be quickly learned. In addition, they can also be practiced in social groups without professional supervision. This can make it fun, improving the likelihood of long-term engagement in the practice.

 

Tai Chi and Qigong are both mindfulness practices and exercises. They have been shown to be beneficial to the health and well-being of individuals of a variety of ages, but particularly the elderly. They also improve the symptoms of a variety of diseases. The studies of the benefits for health of Tai Chi and Qigong are accumulating and so it makes sense to take a moment to summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Benefits of Qigong as an integrative and complementary practice for health: a systematic review.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7365612/) Toneti and colleagues review and summarize the published research studies of the benefits for health of Qigong practice. They identified 28 published clinical trials.

 

They report that the published research studies found that Qigong practice significantly promotes health and is effective in the prevention and rehabilitation of diseases in adults and the elderly. The evidence supports the effectiveness of Qigong practice in treating the symptoms of cancer, fibromyalgia, Parkinson’s disease, cardiovascular disease, and COPD. It has also been shown to be effective in reducing chronic pain including low back pain, cervical pain, and osteoarthritis pain. In addition, it has been shown to be effective in reducing perceived stress, burnout, fatigue, social isolation, and depression.

 

Hence, the available published research suggests that Qigong practice is effective in promoting physical and psychological health in healthy people and people with diseases at a variety of ages including the elderly. These are impressive benefits for a gentle and safe practice that can be rolled out to a wide audience at low cost. This suggests that people should be encouraged to participate in Qigong practice to promote their health and well-being.

 

So, improve health and treat illness with Qigong.

 

Qi gong and tai chi are relaxing ways to improve your flexibility and balance. Both are great ways to stay active and vital. The gentle, flowing movements are easy on the joints.” – Jodi Helmer

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Toneti, B. F., Barbosa, R., Mano, L. Y., Sawada, L. O., Oliveira, I. G., & Sawada, N. O. (2020). Benefits of Qigong as an integrative and complementary practice for health: a systematic review. Revista latino-americana de enfermagem, 28, e3317. https://doi.org/10.1590/1518-8345.3718.3317

 

Abstract

Objective:

to analyze, in the literature, evidence about the benefits of the integrative and complementary practice of Qigong with regard to the health of adults and the elderly.

Method:

a systematic review by searching for studies in the PubMed, CINAHL, LILACS, EMBASE and Cochrane Library databases. Randomized and non-randomized clinical trials were included; in Portuguese, English and Spanish; from 2008 to 2018. The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses strategy was adopted, as well as the recommendation of the Cochrane Collaboration for assessing the risk of bias in the clinical trials analyzed.

Results:

28 studies were selected that indicated the benefit of the practice to the target audience, which can be used for numerous health conditions, such as: cancer; fibromyalgia; Parkinson’s disease; Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease; Burnout; stress; social isolation; chronic low back pain; cervical pain; buzz; osteoarthritis; fatigue; depression; and cardiovascular diseases. However, there was a great risk of bias in terms of the blinding of the research studies.

Conclusion:

the practice of Qigong produces positive results on health, mainly in the medium and long term. This study contributes to the advancement in the use of integrative and complementary practices in nursing, since it brings together the scientific production in the area from the best research results available.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7365612/

 

Improve Adherence to Treatment and Self-Care of Coronary Heart Disease Patients with Mindfulness

Improve Adherence to Treatment and Self-Care of Coronary Heart Disease Patients with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Not only can meditation improve how your heart functions, but a regular practice can enhance your outlook on life and motivate you to maintain many heart-healthy behaviors, like following a proper diet, getting adequate sleep, and keeping up regular exercise,” – Dr. John Denninger

 

Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer. A myriad of treatments has been developed including a variety of surgical procedures and medications. In addition, lifestyle changes have proved to be effective including quitting smoking, weight reduction, improved diet, physical activity, and reducing stresses. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, 60% of cardiovascular disease patients decline engaging in these lifestyle changes, making these patients at high risk for another attack.

 

Contemplative practices have been shown to be safe and effective alternative treatments for cardiovascular disease. Practices such as meditation, tai chi, and yoga, have been shown to be helpful for heart health and to reduce the physiological and psychological responses to stress. They have also been shown to be effective in maintaining cardiovascular health and the treatment of cardiovascular diseaseDialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)  is a mindfulness-based therapeutic technique that produces behavior change by focusing on changing the thoughts and emotions that precede problem behaviors, as well as by solving the problems faced by individuals that contribute to problematic thoughts, feelings and behaviors. In DBT five core skills are practiced; mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, the middle path, and interpersonal effectiveness.

 

It makes sense, then, to study the effectiveness of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) for the treatment of patients with Coronary Heart Disease. In today’s Research News article “The effectiveness of dialectical behavior therapy on adherence to treatment and self-caring behavior in patients with coronary heart disease.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7073803/) Tavakoli and colleagues recruited patients with coronary heart disease. They continued to receive treatment as usual and were randomly assigned to receive either no additional treatment or an 8 weekly 2-hour session of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). They were measured before and after training for medication adherence and self-care for coronary heart disease.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the control group that the patients who received Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) had significantly improved medication adherence and self-care for coronary heart disease. These effects of DBT would predict favorable outcomes. After DBT the patients take their medication more reliably and they better maintain and manage their own care and have greater confidence in their ability to care for themselves. These improvements to the patients’ behavior should lead to better recovery from coronary heart disease and better overall health.

 

So, improve adherence to treatment and self-care of coronary heart disease patients with mindfulness.

 

this practice may be clinically useful in the secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease [the prevention of further heart or stroke events for people who already have the condition].” – Heart Matters

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Tavakoli, F., Kazemi-Zahrani, H., & Sadeghi, M. (2019). The effectiveness of dialectical behavior therapy on adherence to treatment and self-caring behavior in patients with coronary heart disease. ARYA atherosclerosis, 15(6), 281–287. https://doi.org/10.22122/arya.v15i6.1733

 

Abstract

BACKGROUND

The aim of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) on adherence to treatment and self-caring behavior in patients with coronary heart disease (CHD).

METHODS

This was an experimental study based on control and experimental groups with pre-test and post-test. 32 male and female patients with CHD having at least high school diploma, referring to Isfahan cardiovascular research institute, Isfahan, Iran, were selected and placed randomly in two groups of control and experimental. Pre-test stage was done for both two groups by 8-item Morisky Medication Adherence Scale (MMAS-8) and Self-Care of Coronary Heart Disease Inventory (SC-CHDI). The experimental group was placed under the intervention of DBT for 8 sessions of 2 hours (once a week). Afterwards, the post-test was done for both groups.

RESULTS

It was shown by analyzing results from t-test that adherence to treatment and self-care behavior significantly increased in experimental group comparing to control group [(1.81 ± 0.75 vs. 5.19 ± 1.22, P < 0.001) and (72.50 ± 4.38 vs. 55.50 ± 7.42, P < 0.001), respectively]. Also results showed that self-caring and adherence to treatment significantly increased after being adjusted for baseline measurement (P < 0.001). The findings showed that DBT had effect on adherence to treatment and self-caring behavior of patients with CHD.

CONCLUSION

On the basis of results, it could be said that DBT intervention can have positive impact on adherence to treatment and self-caring behavior of patients with CHD.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7073803/

Spirituality but not Religious Affiliation is Associated with Well-Being in Heart Failure Patients

Spirituality but not Religious Affiliation is Associated with Well-Being in Heart Failure Patients

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Spirituality does help heart failure patients do better. . . The secret? Spirituality leads to gratitude.” – Paul Mills

 

Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer. A myriad of treatments have been developed for heart disease including a variety of surgical procedures and medications. In addition, lifestyle changes have proved to be effective including quitting smoking, weight reduction, improved diet, physical activity, and reducing stresses. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, 60% of cardiovascular disease patients decline to alter these lifestyle factors, making these patients at high risk for another attack.

 

Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a major type of cardiovascular disease. “CHF is a chronic progressive condition that affects the pumping power of your heart muscles. While often referred to simply as “heart failure,” CHF specifically refers to the stage in which fluid builds up around the heart and causes it to pump inefficiently” (Healthline). Heart failure is a very serious life-threatening condition. About 5.7 million adults in the United States have congestive heart failure. One in 9 deaths include heart failure as a contributing cause. The seriousness of heart failure is underscored by the fact that about half of people who develop heart failure die within 5 years of diagnosis. Hence, effective treatment is very important. Spirituality, a sense of inner peace and harmony, and religiosity are known to help with a wide range of physical and psychological problems. So, it would make sense to investigate the relationship of spirituality and religiosity to the symptoms of heart failure.

 

In today’s Research News article “Is Belonging to a Religious Organization Enough? Differences in Religious Affiliation Versus Self-ratings of Spirituality on Behavioral and Psychological Variables in Individuals with Heart Failure.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7349115/) Saiz and colleagues recruited heart failure patients who had the diagnosis for at least 3 months. They completed measures of religious affiliation, spirituality, anxiety, depression, positive and negative emotions, anger, satisfaction with life, physical symptoms, sleep, fatigue, and self-efficacy for people with heart disease.

 

They found that spirituality was associated with significantly lower anxiety, depression, negative emotions, anger, and fatigue, and higher levels of positive emotions, sleep quality, satisfaction with life, and self-efficacy. There were no significant differences on these measures between patients who were affiliated with a religion and those that were not.

 

The study was correlational and as such caution must be exercised in drawing causal conclusions. Nevertheless, the results clearly show that heart failure patients who are spiritual have significantly better psychological and physical well-being than those who were not spiritual. Interestingly, simply being religious did not make a difference. The important factor was spirituality.

 

For the present study spirituality is defined as “a complex and multidimensional part of the human experience-our inner belief system. It helps individuals search for the meaning and purpose of life, and it helps them experience hope, love, inner peace, comfort, and support, being the experiences of meaning in life and connectedness, spirituality’s central elements.” It would appear that providing meaning in life and connectedness are very important for heart failure patients. Heart failure can make one’s mortality very clear. Spirituality but not religiosity would appear to help in dealing with the psychosocial consequences of this realization.

 

So, spirituality but not religious affiliation is associated with well-being in heart failure patients.

 

The present qualitative research showed that spirituality is a key for patients with chronic heart failure to better cope with the disease and deal with their multiple problems.” – Parvin Mangolian Shahrbabaki

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Saiz, J., Pung, M. A., Wilson, K. L., Pruitt, C., Rutledge, T., Redwine, L., Taub, P. R., Greenberg, B. H., & Mills, P. J. (2020). Is Belonging to a Religious Organization Enough? Differences in Religious Affiliation Versus Self-ratings of Spirituality on Behavioral and Psychological Variables in Individuals with Heart Failure. Healthcare (Basel, Switzerland), 8(2), 129. https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare8020129

 

Abstract

In the United States, heart failure (HF) affects approximately 6.5 million adults. While studies show that individuals with HF often suffer from adverse symptoms such as depression and anxiety, studies also show that these symptoms can be at least partially offset by the presence of spiritual wellbeing. In a sample of 327 men and women with AHA/ACC classification Stage B HF, we found that more spirituality in patients was associated with better clinically-related symptoms such as depressed mood and anxiety, emotional variables (affect, anger), well-being (optimism, satisfaction with life), and physical health-related outcomes (fatigue, sleep quality). These patients also showed better self-efficacy to maintain cardiac function. Simply belonging to a religious organization independent of spiritualty, however, was not a reliable predictor of health-related benefits. In fact, we observed instances of belonging to a religious organization unaccompanied by parallel spiritual ratings, which appeared counterproductive.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7349115/

 

Decrease Hypertension with Tai Chi

Decrease Hypertension with Tai Chi

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Tai chi may be just as effective as popular methods for lowering blood pressure, such as weight loss and lowered sodium intake. . . tai chi may positively affect blood cholesterol, related lipids and inflammation. This means that enjoying tai chi regularly may lower your chance of heart disease.” – Abbot

 

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) is an insidious disease because there are no overt symptoms. The individual feels fine. But it can be deadly as more than 360,000 American deaths, roughly 1,000 deaths each day, had high blood pressure as a primary or contributing cause. In addition, hypertension markedly increases the risk heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and kidney disease.  It is also a very common disorder with about 70 million American adults (29%) having high blood pressure and only about half (52%) of people with high blood pressure have their condition under control. Treatment frequently includes antihypertensive drugs. But these medications often have adverse side effects. So, patients feel lousy when taking the drugs, but fine when they’re not. So, compliance is a major issue with many patients not taking the drugs regularly or stopping entirely.

 

Obviously, there is a need for alternative to drug treatments for hypertension. Mindfulness practices have been shown to aid in controlling hypertension. Mindful movement practices such Tai Chi and Qigong are ancient Chinese practices involving mindfulness and gentle movements. They are easy to learn, safe, and gentle. So, it may be appropriate for patients with hypertension who lack the ability to engage in strenuous exercises. Indeed, Qigong practice has been shown to reduce blood pressure. There have been a number of studies performed and it is useful to summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Efficacy of Tai Chi and Qigong Exercises on Blood Pressure and Blood Levels of Nitric Oxide and Endothelin-1 in Patients with Essential Hypertension: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7414352/) Liu and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the effectiveness of Tai Chi practice in treating hypertension. They found 9 published randomized controlled trials including a total of 516 patients.

 

They report that the published research found that Tai Chi practice produced a significant reduction in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure and blood endothelin-1 levels and significant increases in blood nitrous oxide levels. Endothelin-1 is a powerful vasoconstrictor and Nitrous Oxide is a powerful vasodilator. So, the reduced levels of Endothelin-1 and increased levels of Nitrous Oxide in patients performing Tai Chi may be a physiological mechanism by which the practice lowers blood pressure.

 

These findings suggest that Tai Chi practice is a safe and effective treatment to lower blood pressure in patients with hypertension. Some advantages of Tai Chi include the facts that it is not strenuous, involves slow gentle movements, and is safe, having no appreciable side effects, it is appropriate for all ages including the elderly and for individuals with illnesses that limit their activities or range of motion. It can also be practiced without professional supervision and in groups making it inexpensive to deliver and fun to engage in. This makes Tai Chi practice an excellent treatment for hypertension.

 

So, decrease hypertension with Tai Chi.

 

High blood pressure can precede cardiovascular complications, such as a heart attack, so it is important to keep it in check. If your blood pressure is too high, there is a simple exercise you can do at home. . . Evidence suggests tai chi, a mind-body practice that has its origin Chinese martial arts, can lower high blood pressure.” – Adam Chapman

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Liu, D., Yi, L., Sheng, M., Wang, G., & Zou, Y. (2020). The Efficacy of Tai Chi and Qigong Exercises on Blood Pressure and Blood Levels of Nitric Oxide and Endothelin-1 in Patients with Essential Hypertension: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2020, 3267971. https://doi.org/10.1155/2020/3267971

 

Abstract

Objective

Tai Chi and Qigong are the two similar traditional Chinese wellness exercises. A strong body of published clinical randomized controlled trials (RCTs) has investigated the health benefits of Tai Chi and Qigong exercises (TCQE) in patients with essential hypertension (EH). This is the first meta-analysis to evaluate the efficacy of TCQE on blood pressure (BP) and blood levels of nitric oxide (NO) and endothelin-1 (ET-1) in EH patients and explore the potential antihypertensive mechanism of TCQE.

Methods

We conducted a literature retrieval for Chinese and English studies in seven databases from their respective inceptions until January 14, 2020. All RCTs examining clinical efficacy of TCQE for EH patients were considered. The major therapeutic outcomes of TCQE were changes in the blood levels of NO, ET-1, and BP in EH patients. Methodological quality of the included RCTs was detected via The Cochrane Risk of Bias tool. We evaluated the data reported and performed the meta-analysis by Review Manager 5.3 software.

Results

9 RCTs involving 516 EH patients were included. The intervention duration lasted from 1.5 months to 6 months. The results of comprehensive analysis showed that compared with control interventions, experimental interventions were more effective in reducing the systolic blood pressure and the diastolic blood pressure and contributed higher blood levels of NO and lower blood levels of ET-1.

Conclusions

TCQE could be an effective complementary and alternative therapy for EH. The lower BP in EH patients who practice TCQE may have some connection with exercise-related increased blood NO levels and decreased blood ET-1 levels. However, further research is needed to make clear the efficacy of TCQE in management of EH and the mechanism of lowering BP in TCQE.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7414352/

 

Reduce Coronary Heart Disease Risk with Tai Chi

Reduce Coronary Heart Disease Risk with Tai Chi

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

tai chi is a promising and safe exercise alternative for patients with coronary heart disease who are unable or unwilling to attend traditional CR, in particular for older people, women, and deconditioned individuals.” – Elena Salmoirago‐Blotcher

 

Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer, claiming more lives than all forms of cancer combined. Lifestyle changes have proved to be quite effective in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. These include quitting smoking, weight reduction, improved diet, physical activity, and reducing stresses. Contemplative practices, such as meditation, tai chi, and yoga, have also been shown to be helpful for heart health. These practices have also been shown to be helpful for producing the kinds of other lifestyle changes needed such as smoking cessationweight reduction and stress reduction.

 

Tai Chi and Qigong are ancient mindfulness practices involving slow prescribed movements. They are gentle and completely safe, can be used with the elderly and sickly, are inexpensive to administer, can be performed in groups or alone, at home or in a facility or even public park, and can be quickly learned. In addition, they can also be practiced in social groups without professional supervision. This can make it fun, improving the likelihood of long-term engagement in the practice. Since Tai Chi and Qigong are both mindfulness practices and exercises, they are particularly acceptable and effective methods to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

 

In today’s Research News article “Tai Chi Improves Coronary Heart Disease Risk by Inactivating MAPK/ERK Pathway through Serum miR-126.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7199556/) Zhang and colleagues recruited coronary heart disease patients after release from the hospital following percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). They were randomly assigned to either receive 90-minute daily Tai Chi training for 3 months or to receive exercise training of varied exercises calibrated to be equivalent to the Tai Chi practice. They were measured before and after training for body fat, epicardial adipose tissue volume, heart rate, blood pressure, quality of life, and balance performance. In addition, they were also measured for miR-126 and Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK)-associated molecules in peripheral blood leukocytes.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the exercise control group, the group that received Tai Chi train had significantly lower body weight and body fat, epicardial adipose tissue volume, heart rate, systolic blood pressure, Serum miR-126, and MAPK signaling, and significantly greater balance stability and quality of life.

 

These results are particularly strong because the comparison condition was equivalent non-Tai Chi exercises. So, the results were not due simply to exercise but specifically to the practice of Tai Chi. The results suggest that Tai Chi practice greatly reduces risk factor for Coronary Heart Disease in patients recovering from percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). In addition, since the miR-126 modulates the Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK)-pathway that is associated with cardiovascular risk, Tai Chi practice also reduces a molecular pathway suggestive of cardiovascular risk.

 

These are impressive results that suggest that Tai Chi practice has substantial benefits for patients at-risk for cardiovascular disease. It improves the patients body composition, cardiovascular function, well-being, and even biochemical pathways associate with risk for coronary heart disease. This combined with the safety, convenience, low expense, and attractiveness of Tai Chi practice, makes it an ideal practice for the reduction of risk for coronary heart disease.

 

So, reduce coronary heart disease risk with Tai Chi.

 

“Tai chi offers other benefits as well for heart patients. The deep breathing enhances oxygen uptake, reducing the shortness of breath that’s also common with heart failure.” – Harvard Health Letter

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Zhang, G., Wang, S., Gu, Y., Song, L., Yu, S., & Feng, X. (2020). Tai Chi Improves Coronary Heart Disease Risk by Inactivating MAPK/ERK Pathway through Serum miR-126. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2020, 4565438. https://doi.org/10.1155/2020/4565438

 

Abstract

Background

Tai Chi is effective in preventing heart disease (CHD) risk, but the molecular mechanism remains unclear. Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling plays a critical role in the pathogenesis of CHD and can be activated by miR-126. Tai Chi may exert its protective function through the miR-126-modulated MAPK pathway.

Methods

The CHD patients after PCI were randomized into the CG group (CG) (n = 19, normal care) and Tai Chi group (TG) (Tai Chi intervention, n = 17). Epicardial adipose tissue volume (EATV) (one main adverse cardiovascular event of CHD), HR (heart rate), QoL (quality of life) scores, and balance performance were measured in the two groups. The body fat content, abdominal subcutaneous fat, and visceral fat were measured to reflect the improvement of adipose tissue dysfunction. The levels of miR-126 and MAPK-associated molecules were measured in peripheral blood leukocytes. Meanwhile, the effects of miR-126 silence and mimic on MAPK-associated molecules were also explored in cardiac cell H9C2.

Results

After the 3-month intervention, Tai Chi reduced EATV and HR and increased QoL scores and balance performance, respectively (P < 0.05). The fat percentage, body fat mass, and BMI were also significantly reduced after Tai Chi intervention (P < 0.05). The levels of miR-126, MAPK, JNK, and ERK in the TG group were lower than those in the CG group (P < 0.05). The miR-126 levels had a strong relationship with the values of EATV, HR, and QoL scores (P < 0.05). miR-126 silence or mimic inactivated or activated MAPK-associated molecules in the cardiac cell lines.

Conclusions

Tai Chi improved CHD risk by inactivating the MAPK/ERK pathway via serum miR-126

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7199556/

 

Improve Cardiovascular Risk Factors and Survival in African Americans with Meditation

Improve Cardiovascular Risk Factors and Survival in African Americans with Meditation

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Twice-a-day Transcendental Meditation helped African Americans with heart disease reduce risk of death, heart attack and stroke. Meditation helped patients lower their blood pressure, stress and anger.” – Science Daily

 

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) is an insidious disease because there are no overt symptoms. The individual feels fine. But it can be deadly as more than 360,000 American deaths, roughly 1,000 deaths each day, had high blood pressure as a primary or contributing cause. In addition, hypertension markedly increases the risk heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and kidney disease.  It is also a very common disorder with about 70 million American adults (29%) having high blood pressure and only about half (52%) of people with high blood pressure have their condition under control. Hypertension is more prevalent in African American populations with 40% having high blood pressure. African Americans were 20 percent more likely to die from heart disease.

 

High blood pressure, because it doesn’t have any primary symptoms, is usually only diagnosed by direct measurement of blood pressure usually by a health care professional. When hypertension is chronically present over three quarters of patients are treated with antihypertensive drugs. But these medications often have adverse side effects. So, patients feel lousy when taking the drugs, but fine when they’re not. So, compliance is a major issue with many patients not taking the drugs regularly or stopping entirely. Obviously, there is a need for alternative to drug treatments for hypertension.

 

Mindfulness practices have been shown to aid in controlling hypertension. Indeed, meditation, tai chi, and yoga, have also been shown to be helpful for heart health. These practices have also been shown to reduce the physiological and psychological responses to stress and to be helpful for producing the kinds of lifestyle changes needed to prevent heart disease such as smoking cessation, and weight reduction. They have also been shown to be effective in maintaining cardiovascular health and the treatment of cardiovascular disease. Hence it is reasonable to study the effects of meditation training on cardiovascular health in African Americans.

 

In today’s Research News article “Stress reduction in the secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease: randomized, controlled trial of transcendental meditation and health education in Blacks. Circulation.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7269100/) Schneider and colleagues recruited African American patients with a history of coronary artery disease. They were randomly assigned to receive either health education or Transcendental Meditation. Both interventions consisted of training for 1.5 hours weekly for the first month, biweekly for the next two months, and monthly thereafter along with home practice. They were measured before and after training and every 6 months thereafter for 9 years for mortality, blood pressure, diet, alcohol and tobacco use, physical activity, depression, anger, and hostility.

 

They found that in comparison to the health education group, the participants who practiced meditation had significantly lower all-cause mortality rates (44% vs, 54% respectively) and lower rates of myocardial infarction and stroke over the 9-year follow-up period. They also found that the greater the amount of home practice the lower the mortality rate. In addition, at the 5-year follow-up the meditation group had significantly lower systolic blood pressure, resting heart rate, and anger.

 

These are excellent results that suggest that meditation practice significantly improves survival in African American patients with a history of coronary artery disease. The fact that they were followed for 9 years is remarkable and strengthens the conclusions. Similar to the current results, it has previously been found that mindfulness practices produce significant improvements in cardiovascular function and reduces anger responses. It is not known but it is reasonable to hypothesize that the reduction in blood pressure and heart rate along with anger contributed to the heightened survival.

 

So, improve cardiovascular risk factors and survival in African Americans with meditation.

 

“Meditation can serve many purposes. It can help regulate breathing, reduce stress, and aid some in getting in touch with their inner spiritual selves. When it comes to heart health, meditation can take on another role — a preventative one.” – Tri Cities Medical Center

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Schneider, R. H., Grim, C. E., Rainforth, M. V., Kotchen, T., Nidich, S. I., Gaylord-King, C., Salerno, J. W., Kotchen, J. M., & Alexander, C. N. (2012). Stress reduction in the secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease: randomized, controlled trial of transcendental meditation and health education in Blacks. Circulation. Cardiovascular quality and outcomes, 5(6), 750–758. https://doi.org/10.1161/CIRCOUTCOMES.112.967406

 

Abstract

Background:

African Americans have disproportionate rates of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Psychosocial stress may contribute to this disparity. Previous trials on stress reduction with the Transcendental Meditation (TM) program have reported improvements in CVD risk factors, surrogate endpoints and mortality in African Americans and other populations.

Methods and Results:

This was a randomized controlled trial of 201 African American men and women with coronary heart disease (CHD) who were randomized to the TM program or health education. The primary end point was the composite of all-cause mortality, myocardial infarction, or stroke. Secondary endpoints included the composite of cardiovascular mortality, revascularizations, and cardiovascular hospitalizations; blood pressure (BP); psychosocial stress factors; and lifestyle behaviors. Over an average follow-up of 5.4 years, there was a 48% risk reduction in the primary end point in the TM group (hazard ratio [HR], 0.52; 95% confidence interval[CI], 0.29-0.92)(P =.025). The TM group also showed a 24% risk reduction in the secondary end point (HR, 0.76; 95% CI, 0.51-0.1.13) (P =.17). There were reductions of 4.9 mm Hg in systolic BP (95% CI −8.3 to –1.5 mm Hg) (P =.01) and anger expression (P < .05 for all scales). Adherence was associated with survival.

Conclusion:

A selected mind-body intervention, the Transcendental Meditation program, significantly reduced risk for mortality, myocardial infarction and stroke in CHD patients. These changes were associated with lower BP and psychosocial stress factors. Therefore, this practice may be clinically useful in the secondary prevention of CVD.

What is known

Psychosocial stress is associated with the onset and progression of cardiovascular disease in African Americans and the general population

Stress reduction with the Transcendental Meditation program has previously been shown to reduce cardiovascular risk factors e.g., hypertension, psychological stress, smoking, insulin resistance and myocardial ischemia.

What this article adds

This randomized controlled trial found that adding stress-reducing Transcendental Meditation to usual care in patients with coronary heart disease resulted in a 48% reduction in the risk for cardiovascular clinical events, i.e., mortality, myocardial infarction and stroke over more than five years of follow up.

Potential mechanisms for the observed outcomes differences included lower blood pressure and anger scores. There was evidence for dose-response effect between regularity of meditation practice and longer survival.

A transcendental meditation program may be useful in the secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease.

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7269100/

 

Reduce Blood Pressure in Patients with Noncommunicable Diseases with Mindfulness

Reduce Blood Pressure in Patients with Noncommunicable Diseases with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

mindfulness practice can be an effective way to reduce blood pressure (and along with it, the risk of stroke or heart attack).” – NICABM

 

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) is an insidious disease because there are no overt symptoms. The individual feels fine. But it can be deadly as more than 360,000 American deaths, roughly 1,000 deaths each day, had high blood pressure as a primary or contributing cause. In addition, hypertension markedly increases the risk heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and kidney disease.  It is also a very common disorder with about 70 million American adults (29%) having high blood pressure and only about half (52%) of people with high blood pressure have their condition under control. Treatment frequently includes antihypertensive drugs. But these medications often have adverse side effects. So, patients feel lousy when taking the drugs, but fine when they’re not. So, compliance is a major issue with many patients not taking the drugs regularly or stopping entirely.

 

Obviously, there is a need for alternative to drug treatments for hypertension. Mindfulness practices have been shown to aid in controlling hypertension. Indeed, meditation, tai chi, and yoga, have also been shown to be helpful for heart health. Hypertension is frequently cooccurring with in patients with non-communicable diseases. In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness interventions reduce blood pressure in patients with non-communicable diseases: A systematic review and meta-analysis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc), Intarakamhang and colleagues review, summarize and perform a meta-analysis of the effectiveness of mindfulness training in reducing blood pressure in patients with non-communicable diseases.

 

They defined non-communicable diseases (NCDs) to include cancers, cardiovascular diseases, respiratory diseases and diabetes and identified 14 published controlled studies including a total of 1117 patients. They report that the studies found that mindfulness training significantly reduced both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in the patients with NCDs.

 

The results are compatible with previous findings that mindfulness training reduces blood pressure in a wide variety of healthy and ill individuals. The present study demonstrates that mindfulness training is effective in reducing blood pressure in patients with non-communicable diseases (NCDs). This is reasonable given that mindfulness training has been shown to improve the symptoms of patients with the included NCDs, cancers, cardiovascular diseases, respiratory diseases and diabetes.

 

There are a number of possible mechanisms for this blood pressure reduction. Mindfulness training is known to reduce the physiological and psychological responses to stress and this may in turn lower blood pressure. Also mindfulness training has been shown to affect the autonomic nervous system increasing parasympathetic activity that tends to reduce blood pressure.

 

So, reduce blood pressure in patients with noncommunicable diseases with mindfulness.

 

“The hope is that if we can start mindfulness training early in life, we can promote a trajectory of healthy aging across the rest of people’s lives. That will reduce their chances of getting high blood pressure in the first place.” – Eric Loucks

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Intarakamhang, U., Macaskill, A., & Prasittichok, P. (2020). Mindfulness interventions reduce blood pressure in patients with non-communicable diseases: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Heliyon, 6(4), e03834. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.heliyon.2020.e03834

 

Abstract

Purpose

Mindfulness based interventions (MBIs) are an emerging area of empirical study, not only in positive psychology, but also in clinical health care. This research aims to synthesize the evidence about whether MBIs reduce blood pressure (BP) in patients with non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

Methods

Relevant studies were identified via PubMed, the Cochrane Library, Embase and the CINAHL database between 2009 and 2019. The papers selected focused on mindfulness and the effect of these on the BP of patients with NCDs. The change in SBP and DBP were meta-analyzed, stratified by type of intervention (Breathing awareness meditation (BAM), Mindfulness Meditation (MM), and Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR).

Results

Fourteen articles met eligibility criteria and were included in the final review. Among the studies using the type and duration of intervention, systolic BP was reduced after the mindfulness-based stress reduction for 8 weeks (-6.90 mmHg [95% CI: -10.82, -2.97], p < .050), followed by the breathing awareness meditation for 12 weeks (-4.10 mmHg [95% CI: -7.54, -0.66], p < .050) and the mindfulness-based intervention for 8 weeks (-2.69 mmHg [95% CI: -3.90, -1.49], p < .050) whereas diastolic BP was reduced after the mindfulness-based stress reduction for 8 weeks (-2.45 mmHg [95% CI: -3.74, -1.17], p < .050) and the mindfulness-based intervention for 8 weeks (-2.24 mmHg [95% CI: -3.22, -1.26], p < .050).

Conclusion

MBIs can provide effective alternative therapies to assist in blood pressure reduction for patients with NCDs.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc