WEDNESDAY, Feb. 9, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- Transcendental meditation (TM) reduces hypertension and cuts down on the need for blood pressure-lowering medications, according to a study in black Americans.
For many patients with high blood pressure, "it may be practical and feasible to lower blood pressure using the TM technique and thereby reduce or eliminate the use of antihypertensive drugs and their side effects," study co-author Dr. Frank Staggers Jr., senior drug detoxification specialist at the Haight Ashbury Free Clinic's Drug Rehabilitation Program, San Francisco, said in a prepared statement.
The findings appear in a recent issue of the American Journal of Hypertension.
In the study, 150 black men and women with stage I hypertension (average blood pressure readings of 142/95 mm Hg) were randomly assigned to three groups: TM, progressive muscle relaxation, or conventional health education classes. Nearly two-thirds of participants were taking blood pressure-lowering medications at the start of the study.
By the end of one year, blood pressure in the TM group was reduced by an average of 3 mm systolic pressure and nearly 6mm diastolic pressure (the top and bottom numbers in a reading, respectively). Patients in the other two groups achieved an average reduction of 3 mm diastolic pressure and no change in systolic pressure.
There was also a 23 percent relative reduction in use of antihypertensive drugs between the TM and the other two groups.
According to Staggers, TM-related reductions in blood pressure and the need for medications "would be expected to result in major health-care cost savings and the prevention of adverse side effects associated with blood pressure drugs."
The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more about high blood pressure.