New technique can reduce high BP without drugs

New York: A new technique called mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) can help people suffering from hypertension.

Current high blood pressure treatment guidelines recommend lifestyle changes such as diet, exercise and overall weight loss.

According to researchers, these changes can be dramatically augmented by the MBSR technique.

In a trial including 100 patients between 30-60 years of age who were not taking medications for pre-or hypertension, researchers found that the new technique resulted in substantial and statistically significant reductions in the primary outcomes.

The mindfulness-based stress reduction programme consisted of eight group sessions of 2.5 hours in duration.

It included instruction and practice in mindfulness meditation skills along with discussion of stress, coping and homework assignments designed for patients to document their mood and anxiety levels.

A therapist guided participants through body scan exercise where the participants "inventoried" how they felt in all parts of their body, sitting meditation and yoga.

The trial required participants to practice each for 45 minutes six days a week.

The MBSR resulted a -4.8-mm Hg reduction in systolic blood pressure (SBP) and a 1.9-mm Hg reduction in diastolic blood pressure (DBP), researchers noticed.

"This was one of the first prospective randomised trials of MBSR as a nonpharmocologic treatment option," said Richard Josephson, a professor at Case Western Reserve University's School of Medicine.

More trials can be conducted to further evaluate the effectiveness of MBSR as it could have broad applications for multiple maladies, researchers concluded.

The findings appeared in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine.


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