A doctor measures the blood pressure of a man. It may be good for your peace of mind and flexibility. But yoga and mindfulness meditation doesn’t lower blood pressure

Mindfulness therapy doesn’t lower blood pressure

A new study suggests that mindfulness therapy is not effective at lowering blood pressure. Toronto researchers found that people who learned and applied the technique did not end up with lower blood pressure readings than people who did not use the approach.

TORONTO — A new study suggests that mindfulness therapy is not effective at lowering blood pressure.

Toronto researchers found that people who learned and applied the technique did not end up with lower blood pressure readings than people who did not use the approach.

Mindfulness-based stress reduction is a program that helps people learn about their relationship with their thoughts, emotions, behaviours and sensations.

The technique, which involves deep-breathing techniques also used in yoga, has been shown to be effective in helping to control anxiety and cancer-related pain.

Senior author Dr. Sheldon Tobe says he was surprised mindfulness did not result in lower blood pressure, because cognitive behavioural therapy has been shown to be useful in hypertension.

In fact, studies of cognitive behavioural therapy suggest it lowers blood pressure on average as well as a single hypertension drug at a starting dose would do.

“That’s a good drop in blood pressure. And that kind of blood pressure drop will lead to a reduction in heart attack and stroke over time,” said Tobe, a nephrologist (kidney specialist) at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, a University of Toronto teaching hospital.

The study, by researchers from the University of Toronto and York University, was published recently in the American Journal of Hypertension.

Tobe admitted the research team expected mindfulness-based stress reduction, or MBSR, would be effective.

“It seemed very promising for us,” said Tobe, whose work is funded by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario. “I was disappointed. I really thought it was going to work.”

In the trial, 101 adults in the early stages of a blood pressure problem were randomly assigned to either take the eight-week mindfulness program or not. In addition to attending weekly classes on MBSR, participants had to do homework — practise the technique out of class.

They also had to keep a log of their efforts.

Then, at 12 weeks after the start of the study, blood pressure readings from the participants were compared to their blood pressure from the start of the study. There were no differences between the two groups.

After the first round of the study, the group that hadn’t initially taken the course was taught the technique and their blood pressure levels were measured after 12 weeks.

That gave the researchers both before and after data, and gave them a larger pool of results to compare.

But there was still no difference, Tobe said. “As a stand-alone (treatment) for people who have high blood pressure, who are not yet on drug therapy, MBSR as a kind of … therapy was not effective at blood pressure lowering.”

Just Posted

Contentious cannabis production facility clears another planning hurdle

190,000-square-foot facility to be built in Blindman Industrial Park

Downtown Red Deer businesses concerned non-profit will move into prominent Ross Street space

Concern builds over John Howard Society converting a retail bay into office space

Red Deer County allows more urban hens

Five urban hen permits now allowed in hamlets, up from two

Red Deer high schools considering fines to stem ‘epidemic’ of student vaping

They are considering applying city no-smoking bylaw on school grounds

High Level and central Alberta fire serve as reminder to Red Deerians to be prepared

Central Alberta hamlet of Marlboro was on evacuation alert over the weekend

Dogs and drugs don’t mix: Red Deer business wants to leave downtown after 18 years

One business owner is done with downtown Red Deer after 18 years.… Continue reading

Cast your votes for the Best of Red Deer

Nominations for the Best of Red Deer Readers’ Choice Awards are officially… Continue reading

Hiker and his dog lived off the land while lost in Alaska

FAIRBANKS, Alaska — A hiker and his dog ate berries and moss… Continue reading

“Fun Guy” Kawhi the latest example of NBA branding

TORONTO — Kawhi Leonard’s likeness looks down from some 10 storeys high… Continue reading

Tarantino is back in Cannes, 25 years after ‘Pulp Fiction’

CANNES, France — Twenty-five years after premiering “Pulp Fiction” in Cannes, Quentin… Continue reading

Gordon Lightfoot on starring in a ‘legacy’ documentary about himself

TORONTO — Gordon Lightfoot didn’t need much convincing when filmmakers approached him… Continue reading

Burger King to expand sales of new meatless burger to Europe

COPENHAGEN — Burger King will launch in Sweden a version of its… Continue reading

Food insecurity grew in Nunavut after federal program to fight hunger: study

Newly published research has concluded that food insecurity in Nunavut grew after… Continue reading

Most Read