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Protection against high blood pressure through mindfulness training?
Hypertension is an extremely widespread complaint that can have serious health consequences. According to a new study, so-called mindfulness training can help lower blood pressure and thus prevent high blood pressure.
The latest study by the Brown University School of Public Health found that high blood pressure can be reduced through mindfulness training. The results of the investigation were published in the English-language journal "PLOS One".
How can high blood pressure be avoided?
Many deaths from heart disease are due to high blood pressure or abnormally high blood pressure. Various medications are considered possible approaches to high blood pressure, but also lifestyle changes such as a healthier diet, reducing excess weight and regular exercise.
Mindfulness training supports necessary changes in behavior
However, changes in behavior can be a real challenge for affected people. It is not easy to change behavior that has been practiced for years. In such cases, mindfulness training could support those affected.
How could mindfulness training help?
Although theoretically high blood pressure could be treated well in every person, it is out of control in around half of all those affected, the researchers report. Mindfulness training could be an approach to help people diagnosed with high blood pressure to lower their blood pressure. The training gives them a better understanding of what exactly is going on in their body.
Mindfulness training to lower blood pressure ran over nine weeks
For the study, the researchers developed a nine-week, tailored mindfulness-based blood pressure reduction program (MB-BP) for 43 participants with high blood pressure. The participants were medically monitored for a period of one year.
What was the program aimed at?
The program aimed to use mindfulness techniques to improve attention control, emotion regulation, and self-confidence for healthy and unhealthy habits. This can reduce some risk factors associated with increased blood pressure.
Program significantly reduced blood pressure
After mindfulness training, the participants showed a clear improvement in self-regulation skills and a significant reduction in blood pressure values. Participants who had not followed the American Heart Association guidelines for salt intake, alcohol consumption and physical activity also experienced improvements.
The positive effects remained
The positive effects persisted during the one-year follow-up period and were most pronounced among participants who had registered for the examination with uncontrolled stage 2 hypertension (i.e. systolic blood pressure of 140 mmHg or more). These people experienced an average drop in blood pressure of 15.1 mmHg.
Mindfulness training has been combined with other strategies
The program combined mindfulness training with other strategies to lower blood pressure, such as encouraging participants to continue prescribing antihypertensive medication and educating them about habits that contribute to high blood pressure. Mindfulness training is usually designed so that it can be integrated into normal medical care, the researchers report.
Further research is already underway
A follow-up study of the program with more than 200 participants is currently underway. The researchers hope that the findings of both studies will lead to a paradigm shift in the treatment options for people with high blood pressure. (as)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
- Eric B. Loucks, William R. Nardi, Roee Gutman, Ian M. Kronish, Frances B. Saadeh et al .: Mindfulness-Based Blood Pressure Reduction (MB-BP): Stage 1 single-arm clinical trial, in PLOS One ( Query: 04.12.2019), PLOS One