Yoga may help ease high blood pressure, study finds

May 15, 2013
Yoga may help ease high blood pressure, study finds
Numbers were lowered when people engaged in a few sessions per week.

(HealthDay)—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.

"This study confirms many people's feelings that exercise may be useful in the control of ," said Dr. Howard Weintraub, a cardiologist and associate professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City. Weintraub was not connected to the new study.

Based on the new findings, " would be a useful adjunct in the lowering of blood pressure in certain populations," he said.

In the study, researchers led by Dr. Debbie Cohen of the University of Pennsylvania tracked 58 women and men, aged 38 to 62, for six months.

Although the study couldn't prove a cause-and-effect relationship, doing yoga two to three times a week was associated with an average drop in from 133/80 to 130/77, the researchers said.

In comparison, the average decrease in blood pressure was smaller (134/83 to 132/82) among people who ate a special diet but did not do yoga.

In a bit of a surprise, doing yoga in tandem with a special diet did not outperform doing yoga alone—blood pressure numbers fell only slightly (135/83 to 134/81) among people who ate a special diet and also did yoga, the researchers said.

The small decline in blood pressure among people who ate a special diet and did yoga may be because doing both required a greater amount of time, making it more difficult for participants to stick with their regimens, the authors said.

Weintraub said the study shows that "yoga can have a favorable effect" on hypertension. Although the amount of change was small, he said, "some large population studies have suggested that changes of this magnitude could have very significant long-term benefits."

The study did have some limitations, including its relatively short length and the fact that most participants were young and had milder forms of , Weintraub said.

Another expert agreed that the ancient Indian practice of yoga might ease hypertension.

"Yoga, along with deep breathing exercises, meditation and inner reflection, is a good adjunctive and integrative cardiovascular approach to better health, including lowering , as this data suggests," said Dr. David Friedman, chief of Heart Failure Services at the North Shore-LIJ Plainview Hospital, in Plainview, N.Y.

"In addition to proper diet and aerobic physical fitness most days of the week, I recommend that my patients take time each day for the above measures of finding disciplined inner peace, for improved health and well-being," he said.

The findings were presented Wednesday at the annual scientific meeting of the American Society of Hypertension, in San Francisco. Findings presented at medical meetings typically are considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Explore further: New research shows what raises and lowers blood pressure: Cell phones, salt and saying om

More information: The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about high blood pressure.

Related Stories

New research shows what raises and lowers blood pressure: Cell phones, salt and saying om

May 15, 2013
Considered the "silent killer," high blood pressure affects approximately one billion people worldwide, including one in three adults in the United States. From May 15 – 18, 2013, members of the medical community from across ...

Alternative therapies may help lower blood pressure, AHA scientific statement report says

April 22, 2013
Alternative therapies such as aerobic exercise, resistance or strength training, and isometric hand grip exercises may help reduce your blood pressure, according to the American Heart Association.

Yoga may help with common heart rhythm disorder

January 30, 2013
(HealthDay)—People with a common heart rhythm problem may be able to decrease their symptoms by adding gentle yoga to their treatment regimen, a small study suggests.

NIH video reveals the science behind yoga

August 2, 2012
A video featuring research on how yoga works, the safety of yoga and whether yoga can help treat certain health problems is being released by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), ...

Yoga helps the heart, researchers say

February 8, 2013
The same kind of exercise that can bring peace to your mind may bring peace to your heart as well.

Free online program helps reduce blood pressure

March 5, 2013
People with high blood pressure enrolled in a clinical pharmacist-led web-based monitoring program were more likely to lower their pressure to recommended level than people who did not use the program.

Recommended for you

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

Improvements in mortality rates are slowed by rise in obesity in the United States

January 15, 2018
With countless medical advances and efforts to curb smoking, one might expect that life expectancy in the United States would improve. Yet according to recent studies, there's been a reduction in the rate of improvement in ...

Teens likely to crave junk food after watching TV ads

January 15, 2018
Teenagers who watch more than three hours of commercial TV a day are more likely to eat hundreds of extra junk food snacks, according to a report by Cancer Research UK.

Can muesli help against arthritis?

January 15, 2018
It is well known that healthy eating increases a general sense of wellbeing. Researchers at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have now discovered that a fibre-rich diet can have a positive influence ...

Your dishwasher is not as sterile as you think

January 13, 2018
(HealthDay)—Your dishwasher may get those plates spotless, but it is also probably teeming with bacteria and fungus, a new study suggests.

Study reveals what sleep talkers have to say

January 12, 2018
A team of researchers with members from several institutions in France has conducted a study regarding sleep talking and has found that most sleep talking is not only negative in nature, but involves a large amount of swearing. ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.