Lower High Blood Pressure with Yoga

Lower High Blood Pressure with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Yoga can reduce stress-induced hypertension, while addressing its underlying causes. It pacifies the sympathetic nervous system and slows down the heart, while teaching the muscles and mind to relax deeply.” – Marla Apt

 

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.

 

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. Exercise is also known to help. So, yoga practice, which combines mindfulness practice with exercise would seem to be a good candidate practice for the treatment of hypertension,

 

In today’s Research News article “Effect of 1-week yoga-based residential program on cardiovascular variables of hypertensive patients: A Comparative Study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: http://www.ijoy.org.in/article.asp?issn=0973-6131;year=2018;volume=11;issue=2;spage=170;epage=174;aulast=Metri ), Metri and colleagues recruited adults (aged 30-60 years) with hypertension; half of which participated in a 1-week Integrative Yoga Therapy program, while half were on antihypertensive medications. The Integrative Yoga Therapy program included poses, breathing exercises, meditation, and relaxation. They were measured before, during, and after treatment for heart rate, blood pressure, cardiac output, cardiac stroke volume, total peripheral vascular resistance, and baroreflex sensitivity.

 

They found that compared to baseline and the group on antihypertensive medications after the 1-week Integrative Yoga Therapy program there were significant decreases in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, mean arterial pressure, Total peripheral vascular resistance, and baroreflex sensitivity. Hence, one week of Yoga Therapy appears to be a safe and effective treatment for hypertension.

 

It should be kept in mind that the control condition was not an active control. Thus, it is possible that any activity might have produced comparable benefits. In future research that Yoga Therapy program needs to be compared to other activities such as aerobic exercise. In addition, it is not known which components of Yoga Therapy or which combinations of components were needed to produce the benefits. Future research should perform a component analysis to determine whether poses, breathing exercises, meditation, and/or relaxation were necessary for the effects. But, it is clear that participation in a 1-week program of Integrative Yoga Therapy can improve hypertension.

 

So, lower high blood pressure with yoga.

 

“People who follow the ancient practice of yoga may be getting an added health boost, with a new study suggesting it can fight high blood pressure — also known as hypertension.” – Robert Preidt

 

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

 

Metri KG, Pradhan B, Singh A, Nagendra H R. Effect of 1-week yoga-based residential program on cardiovascular variables of hypertensive patients: A Comparative Study. Int J Yoga 2018;11:170-4

 

Introduction: Hypertension (HTN) is an important public health concern and a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Yoga is a form of mind–body medicine shown to be effective in controlling blood pressure (BP) and reduces cardiac risk factors in HTN. Integrated approach of Yoga therapy (IAYT) is a residential yoga-based lifestyle intervention proven to be beneficial in several health conditions. Aim: To study the efficacy of 1 week of residential IAYT intervention on cardiovascular parameters in hypertensive patients. Methodology: Twenty hypertensive individuals (7 females) within age range between 30 and 60 years (average; 46.62 ± 9.9 years), who underwent 1 week of IAYT treatment for HTN, were compared with age- gender-matched non-IAYT group (5 females; average age; 47.08 ± 9.69 years) in terms of systolic BP (SBP), diastolic BP (DBP), mean arterial pressure (MAP), cardiac output (CO), stroke volume (SV), baroreflex sensitivity (BRS), and total peripheral vascular resistance (TPVR), IAYT program consisted of sessions of asanas, breathing practices, meditation and relaxation techniques, low salt, low-calorie diet, devotional session, and counseling. Individuals in non-IAYT group followed their normal routine. All the variables were assessed before and after one week. Data were analyzed using SPSS version 16. RM-ANOVA was applied to assess within group and between group changes after intervention. Results: There was a significant improvement in SBP (P = 0.004), DBP (P = 0.008), MAP (0.03), BRS (P < 0.001), and TPVR (P = 0.007) in IAYT, group whereas in control group, we did not find significant difference in any of the variables. Between-group comparison showed a significant improvement in SBP (P = 0.038), BRS (P = 0.034), and TPVR (P = 0.015) in IAYT group as compared to non-IAYT group. Conclusion: One-week IAYT intervention showed an improvement in baroreflex sensitivity, systolic BP, and total peripheral vascular resistance in hypertensive patients. However, further randomized control trials need to be performed to confirm the present findings.

http://www.ijoy.org.in/article.asp?issn=0973-6131;year=2018;volume=11;issue=2;spage=170;epage=174;aulast=Metri

Decrease Stroke Risk with Tai Chi or Qigong

Decrease Stroke Risk with Tai Chi or Qigong

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“One of the main issues that a stroke survivor experiences is a problem with balance. . .This is where tai chi can make a huge difference. With a complete focus on slow, controlled, and repetitive movements, tai chi is effective in improving one’s balance through dynamic motion and coordination”. Saebo

 

Every year, more than 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke and it is the third leading cause of death, killing around 140,000 Americans each year. A stroke results from an interruption of the blood supply to the brain, depriving it of needed oxygen and nutrients. This can result in the death of brain cells and depending on the extent of the damage produce profound loss of function. Strokes come in two varieties. The most common (87%) is ischemic stroke resulting from a blocked artery. But strokes can also occur due to leaking or rupture of a blood vessel in the brain, known as hemorrhagic stroke.

 

There are a number of risk factors for stroke that are unchangeable, such as family history, age, and genes. But there are a very large number of factors that are under our control including high blood pressure, smoking, high cholesterol, poor diet, sedentariness, and obesity. Given this list it is clear that basic physical fitness and exercise would be excellent for stroke prevention. The ancient mindful movement technique Tai Chi is a very safe form of gentle exercise that appears to be beneficial for stroke victims.

 

In today’s Research News article “Efficacy of Tai Chi and qigong for the prevention of stroke and stroke risk factors: A systematic review with meta-analysis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5690748/ ),

Lauche and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the effects of Tai Chi or Qigong practice on risk factors for Stroke. They did not find any trials that reported actual incidence of stroke, but found 21 research controlled trials that reported on risk factors for stroke, including hypertension, hyperlipidaemia, diabetes, overweight or obesity, or metabolic syndrome.

 

They found that the published research reported that Tai Chi or Qigong practice produced significant improvement in hypertension including reductions in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. The studies also reported significant improvements in hyperlipidaemia, including lower levels of triglycerides, and LDL cholesterol, and higher levels of HDL cholesterol and in diabetes including fasting blood glucose levels and insulin sensitivity. Tai Chi or Qigong practice was also found to improve the body weight index in overweight and obese individuals. No adverse events were reported in any of the trials.

 

These results are remarkable in the breadth and extent of the effects of Tai Chi or Qigong practice on risk factors for stroke. Although there were no direct measures of stroke incidence the reductions in risk factors would predict a reduction, over the long-term of the likelihood and incidence of stroke. Lauche and colleagues, however, caution that the trials tended to be of low quality with considerable risk of bias. Hence, conclusions need to be tempered and the results needs to be confirmed with more highly controlled trials.

 

The review found evidence that Tai Chi or Qigong practices are safe, with no negative effects or adverse reactions. In addition, they can be implemented to large numbers of individuals at relatively low cost, can be conveniently practiced at home or in a clinic, and can be practiced alone or in groups. Also, since the practice is gentle and safe it can be used with frail, sickly or elderly individuals. Hence, Tai Chi or Qigong practice appears to be an excellent treatment for the reduction of the risk for stroke in vulnerable individuals.

 

So, decrease stroke risk with Tai Chi or Qigong.

 

“The main physical benefits of Tai Chi are better balance, improved strength, flexibility and aerobic endurance. Psycho-social benefits include less depression, anxiety and stress, and better quality of life.” – Ruth E. Taylor-Piliae

 

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

 

Lauche, R., Peng, W., Ferguson, C., Cramer, H., Frawley, J., Adams, J., & Sibbritt, D. (2017). Efficacy of Tai Chi and qigong for the prevention of stroke and stroke risk factors: A systematic review with meta-analysis. Medicine, 96(45), e8517. http://doi.org/10.1097/MD.0000000000008517

 

Abstract

Background:

This review aims to summarize the evidence of Tai Chi and qigong interventions for the primary prevention of stroke, including the effects on populations with major stroke risk factors.

Methods:

A systematic literature search was conducted on January 16, 2017 using the PubMed, Scopus, Cochrane Library, and CINAHL databases. Randomized controlled trials examining the efficacy of Tai Chi or qigong for stroke prevention and stroke risk factors were included. Risk of bias was assessed using the Cochrane Risk of Bias tool.

Results:

Twenty-one trials with n = 1604 patients with hypertension, hyperlipidaemia, diabetes, overweight or obesity, or metabolic syndrome were included. No trials were found that examined the effects of Tai Chi/qigong on stroke incidence. Meta-analyses revealed significant, but not robust, benefits of Tai Chi/qigong over no interventions for hypertension (systolic blood pressure: −15.55 mm Hg (95% CI: −21.16; −9.95); diastolic blood pressure: −10.66 mm Hg (95% CI: −14.90, −6.43); the homeostatic model assessment (HOMA) index (−2.86%; 95% CI: −5.35, −0.38) and fasting blood glucose (−9.6 mg/dL; 95% CI: −17.28, −1.91), and for the body mass index compared with exercise controls (−1.65 kg/m2; 95% CI: −3.11, −0.20). Risk of bias was unclear or high for the majority of trials and domains, and heterogeneity between trials was high. Only 6 trials adequately reported safety. No recommendation for the use of Tai Chi/qigong for the prevention of stroke can be given.

Conclusion:

Although Tai Chi and qigong show some potential more robust studies are required to provide conclusive evidence on the efficacy and safety of Tai Chi and qigong for reducing major stroke risk factors.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5690748/

Reduce High Blood Pressure with Mindfulness

Reduce High Blood Pressure with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“meditators showed not only a significant reduction in blood pressure, but they also had nearly 50% lower rates of heart attack, stroke and mortality compared to non-meditating controls.” – Elaine Pomfrey

 

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.  Hypertension is present in about 70% of first heart attacks, about 80% of first strokes, and about 70% of chronic heart failures. 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. Additionally, nearly a third of American adults have prehypertension, with blood pressure higher than normal, but not yet considered hypertension.

 

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. It is not known, however, which practices work best. In today’s Research News article “The Effect of Three Different Meditation Exercises on Hypertension: A Network Meta-Analysis.” See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5424182/, Yang and colleagues compare the effectiveness of three different mindfulness practices, Qigong, Tai Chi, and yoga, in controlling hypertension. They reviewed and summarized 19 research articles from the published literature that measured systolic and diastolic blood pressure before and after training in either Qigong, Tai Chi, or yoga.

 

They report that all three practices helped to relieve hypertension, significantly lowering both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in comparison to control participants. But, they also report that Qigong produced superior results, lowering blood pressure to a greater extent than either Tai Chi, or yoga. It needs to be recognized, however, that the current review did not contain any direct comparisons between the three mindfulness techniques. Rather, different studies employing different techniques were compared statistically. It will be important in the future to explore direct comparisons between techniques within the same study.

 

Regardless, these findings suggest that the amount of exercise is not the important component of the practices for blood pressure reduction. Yoga, arguably, contains the most exercise, Tai Chi next and Qigong last, exactly the opposite ordering to the results. These results are a bit surprising in that Qigong and Tai Chi are very similar, each involving slow mindful movements, breath control, and meditative focus. The difference is that Qigong employs fewer and simpler movements than Tai Chi. It is possible that the simplicity of Qigong is more conducive to clearing the mind and relaxing which in turn reduces blood pressure. It should be emphasized that all were effective in lowering blood pressure. It remains for future research to begin to clarify which of Qigong, Tai Chi, and yoga is best in controlling hypertension.

 

So, reduce high blood pressure with mindfulness.

 

“Researchers believe that the deep rest achieved through TM sparks biochemical changes that help the body and mind reach a more balanced state, in turn triggering the body’s own self-repair mechanism.” – Carol Sorgen

 

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

 

Yang, H., Wu, X., & Wang, M. (2017). The Effect of Three Different Meditation Exercises on Hypertension: A Network Meta-Analysis. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM, 2017, 9784271. http://doi.org/10.1155/2017/9784271

 

Abstract

We aimed to use the pairwise and network meta-analysis to estimate the effects of different meditation exercises on the control of systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP). Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) were retrieved from PubMed and Embase up to June 2016, which are published in English and reported on meditation exercise for hypertensive patients. Risks of bias assessment of the included studies were assessed by Cochrane Collaboration Recommendations and network meta-analysis was performed by ADDIS. Mean difference (MD) and its 95% confidence interval (CI) were used as the effect size. A number of 19 RCTs were included in this study. Results of pairwise comparisons indicated that meditation exercise could significantly decrease the SBP and DBP, compared with other interventions (MD = −7.10, 95% CI: −10.82 to −3.39; MD = −4.02, 95% CI: −6.12 to −1.92). With good consistence and convergence, network meta-analysis showed that there were no significant differences between meditation and other interventions on SBP. For DBP, Qigong was significantly lower than “no intervention” (MD = −11.73, 95% CI: −19.85 to −3.69). Qigong may be the optimal exercise way in lowering SBP and DBP of hypertensive patients, but a detailed long-term clinical research should be needed in the future.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5424182/

Control Blood Pressure with Mindfulness

“A chronic state of arousal isn’t healthy. It causes hypertension, and it has been implicated in diabetes, asthma, and various gastrointestinal disorders. Part of the arousal response is to turn off the immune system, so you are breaking down instead of healing yourself.” ~ Erika Friedmann

 

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.  Hypertension is present in about 70% of first heart attacks, about 80% of first strokes, and about 70% of chronic heart failures. 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. Additionally, nearly a third of American adults have prehypertension, with blood pressure higher than normal, but not yet considered hypertension.

 

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. Stress is known to be a contributing factor to hypertension. It acts in part by increasing activity in the sympathetic nervous system, the activating component of the peripheral nervous system and by increasing the release of stress hormones. So controlling stress would appear to be a reasonable non-drug approach to reducing high blood pressure.

 

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) programs were designed specifically to reduce stress. They include meditation, body scan, and yoga practices. Meditation (see http://contemplative-studies.org/wp/index.php/2015/08/21/control-blood-pressure-with-meditation/), and yoga (see http://contemplative-studies.org/wp/index.php/category/contemplative-practice/yoga-contemplative-practice/), and body scan (see http://contemplative-studies.org/wp/index.php/2015/07/29/get-your-calm-on/)  have  been shown to be successful in reducing both the psychological and physiological responses to stress. So, it would seem appropriate to use these techniques as alternatives to drug treatment for hypertension.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effect of Group Mindfulness-Based Stress-Reduction Program and Conscious Yoga on Lifestyle, Coping Strategies, and Systolic and Diastolic Blood Pressures in Patients with Hypertension”

https://www.facebook.com/ContemplativeStudiesCenter/photos/a.628903887133541.1073741828.627681673922429/1154248347932423/?type=3&theater

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4685370/

Nejati and colleagues compared hypertensive patients randomly assigned to receive an 8-week MBSR program or no treatment. They found significant positive improvements produced by MBSR treatment including improved lifestyle (nutrition, exercise, health responsibility, stress management, interpersonal support, and self-actualization), coping strategies (problem-focused and emotion-focused), and blood pressure (systolic and diastolic).

 

These results are impressive, but need to be tempered with the fact that the control condition was a no treatment condition. Without an active control many potentially confounding variables are present. But the results reinforce previous studies that make a compelling case that mindfulness practices such as MBSR are excellent alternatives to medication for the treatment of hypertension.

 

So, control blood pressure with mindfulness.

 

“Meditation can help us in many aspects of our lives, whether it be physically or mentally. It is a discipline that when practiced daily significantly decreases stress related diseases such as high blood pressure while increasing a deep relaxation response and the feel-good factor.” – Zenlama
CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

Control Blood Pressure with Meditation

 

Maintaining good control of glucose and hypertension high blood pressure limits morbidity and mortality.”Stuart Weiss

High Blood pressure (hypertension) affects about 1/3 (70 million) of American adults. Hypertension is associated with heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease. It is sometimes called a silent killer as there are rarely any overt symptoms and the individual may not be aware of the condition. Yet it is estimated to be responsible for about 360,000 deaths a year in the U.S.

Hypertension is more prevalent in African American populations particularly in association with kidney disease. African Americans are four times more likely than Caucasians to develop kidney disease. Drugs are the treatment of choice for hypertension. But they have many adverse side effects. On drugs the individual feels terrible. Without them they feel fine. As a result compliance is a major problem and large numbers of people stop taking their medications.

Obviously, there is a need to develop a safe and effective treatment for hypertension. Elevated sympathetic activity is known to be characteristic of hypertension particularly in association with kidney disease. Mindfulness meditation is known to reduce this activity of the sympathetic nervous system and is known to reduce the effects of stress. In addition, meditation has been shown to reduce blood pressure in normal and hypertensive individuals. So, meditation may be a useful technique for the control of hypertension in patients with kidney disease.

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness meditation lowers muscle sympathetic nerve activity and blood pressure in African-American males with chronic kidney disease.”

https://www.facebook.com/ContemplativeStudiesCenter/photos/a.628903887133541.1073741828.627681673922429/1072826952741230/?type=1&theater

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4080275/

Park and colleagues test the application of a brief mindfulness meditation on hypertension in African American patients with kidney disease. They found that a single session of guided mindfulness meditation with these patients lowered blood pressure and heart rate. This was found to be associated with a reduction in the activity of the sympathetic nervous system. They also demonstrated that the effects were not due to the reduced rate of breathing that occurs in meditation.

It should be noted that this study only looked at very short term effects and there is a need to observe whether meditation could be used over the long-term for control of hypertension. But, the findings suggest that meditation may be a safe and effective treatment for hypertension in African American patients with kidney disease. Since, long-term meditation has been repeatedly shown to produce persistent relaxation and reduce the effects of stress on the individual, it is likely that meditation would continue to be effective in these patients.

So, meditate and keep your blood pressure under control.

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies