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Impact of meditation on resting and ambulatory blood pressure and heart rate in youth.

31 Oct

A study from The Georgia Institute for Prevention of Human Diseases and Accidents shows that meditation significantly reduces blood pressure and heart rate (resting and ambulatory) in normal middle school children.

In a randomized, controlled study, researchers from The Georgia Institute for Prevention of Human Diseases and Accidents evaluated the impact of a meditation program on resting and ambulatory blood pressure and heart rate in middle school children.

Data were analyzed from 73 middle school students (average age 12.3 +/- 0.6 years) randomly assigned by classroom to either meditation (N = 34) or health education control (N = 39) groups. The meditation groups engaged in 10-minute sessions at school and at home after school each day for 3 months.

Resting (seated) systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, and heart rate measurements were obtained, pretest and posttest, on three consecutive school days using Dinamap 1846SX monitors. Ambulatory systolic blood pressure, ambulatory diastolic blood pressure, and ambulatory heart rate were recorded over 24-hour periods at pretest and posttest every 20 minutes during self-reported normal waking hours and every 30 minutes during self-reported normal sleep hours using Spacelabs 90207 monitors.

The findings revealed significant (p < .05) improvements from pretest to posttest in the meditation groups as opposed to the health education control groups for resting systolic blood pressure (-2.7 vs. 1.1 mm Hg), daytime ambulatory systolic blood pressure after school (-2.0 vs. 3.6 mm Hg), daytime ambulatory diastolic blood pressure after school (0.1 vs. 4.3 mm Hg), and daytime ambulatory heart rate after school (-5.3 vs. 0.3 bpm).

The study concludes that there is potential beneficial impact of meditation on blood pressure and heart rate in the natural environment in healthy normotensive youth.

Citation: Barnes VA, Davis HC, Murzynowski JB, Treiber FA. Impact of meditation on resting and ambulatory blood pressure and heart rate in youth. Psychosomatic Medicine. 2004 Nov-Dec; 66 (6): pages 909-14.
Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award