Yoga and meditation help against hypertension! In fact, as we will see, meditation techniques have been found to be useful to counter high blood pressure but also stress and anxiety, thus being protective for heart health. This is what emerges from a recent review published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health by an Italian team from the University of Pisa (Conversano et al, Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, 2021).
Hypertension, risks and lifestyle
Hypertension is a long-lasting condition of high blood pressure values. It is estimated to affect 35% of the world's adult population and, if left free to act, could increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Medicines are generally used to treat hypertension, although, together with medicines or, especially in initial cases, instead of drug treatment, it is becoming increasingly important to resort to lifestyle changes. Hence, lifestyle plays a role in determining blood pressure. In particular, meditation techniques are believed to be capable of lowering perceived anxiety and stress levels and thus blood pressure. However, this aspect has not yet been fully clarified, especially when hypertension is already present. This is why the Italian researchers have published a review in which they analyze and summarize the results of previous studies that have tried to investigate the link between relaxation techniques, yoga and meditation and blood pressure.
Yoga and meditation
With relaxation techniques, yoga and meditation is intended a program that includes moments of awareness of the here and now, focusing on the present moment, perceiving, without judging, one's physical condition and emotional state. But also yoga asanas and breathing techniques.
Meditation reduces blood pressure
According to the review, a clear link between meditation and blood pressure could be observed. In particular, both systolic and diastolic blood pressure decreased in people with hypertension who underwent yoga and meditation programs, more than with other interventions. This is particularly noteworthy since systolic and diastolic blood pressure are both independent indicators for cardiovascular risk. The beneficial results of blood pressure meditation have been seen in people with varying degrees of hypertension and also in people over the age of 60.
So, small lifestyle changes, such as introducing yoga and meditation sessions, can bring great health benefits. Also, they can help to keep blood pressure under control, which is an important indicator of cardiovascular health.