Johns Hopkins Health Alert
Meditation -- A New Way to Lower Blood Pressure
Research shows that meditation not only calms the mind, but affects the nervous system as well.
While the evidence is not definitive, it appears that chronic stress causes long-term elevations in blood pressure, and that certain stress-management techniques may be able to counteract these rises in blood pressure.
There are many ways to reduce stress: Massage, yoga, tai chi and stress management classes are some of the more popular methods. But the relaxation technique that has been studied most widely—and has been shown to be effective for reducing blood pressure—is a type of meditation called transcendental meditation.
Introduced to the Western world by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in 1959, transcendental meditation involves sitting comfortably in a quiet place with your eyes closed. You start off with a few slow, deep breaths, and then silently repeat a soothing one-syllable word, called a mantra, in your mind to focus your concentration. After 20 minutes, you open your eyes, take a few moments to reorient to the world around you, and then continue with your day.
Proponents of transcendental meditation believe that it works through its effects on the nervous system; transcendental meditation calms the mind, slows the heartbeat and releases tension from the muscles. As a result, transcendental meditation might also have an impact on your blood pressure readings and overall cardiovascular health.
Posted in Hypertension and Stroke on January 9, 2007
Reviewed June 2011
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