Guided Imagery and Meditation Blog | Health Journeys

You are here: Home Heart Health

Transcendental Meditation Reduces Blood Pressure - Systolic and Diastolic

Researchers from the University of Kentucky examined nine randomized, clinical trials comparing TM with a control condition.

Researchers from the Division of Endocrinology and Molecular Medicine, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, performed a meta-analysis on studies assessing the effects of Transcendental Meditation on blood pressure.

Randomized, controlled trials comparing blood pressure responses to the TM technique with a control group were evaluated. Primary outcome measures were changes in systolic and diastolic blood pressure after practicing Transcendental Meditation or following control procedures.

Nine randomized, controlled trials met eligibility criteria. The random-effects meta-analysis model for systolic and diastolic blood pressure, respectively, indicated that Transcendental Meditation, compared to control, was associated with reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure by approximately 4.7 and 3.2 mm Hg, respectively. These are clinically meaningful changes.

Citation: Anderson JW, Liu C, Kryscio RJ. Blood pressure response to transcendental meditation: a meta-analysis. American Journal of Hypertension. 2008 Mar; 21 (3): pages 310-6. Epub 2008 Jan 31. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Researchers from the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at Bridgeport Hospital, Connecticut examined the question of why stress reduction is so good for cardiovascular health, hypothesizing that yoga and meditation improve parameters of endothelial function.

In a 6-week pilot study, 33 subjects (mean age 55 +/- 11 years) both with (30%) and without (70%) established coronary artery disease (CAD) were given a course in yoga & meditation for an hour and a half, three times a week, and encouraged to continue their practice at home.

Researchers from the Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito, California find that changes in dietary fat intake, exercise, and stress management in 869 nonsmoking coronary heart disease patients result in significant improvement in coronary risk.

Researchers from the Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito, California evaluated the interactive effects of 2 months worth of changes in health behaviors (dietary fat intake, exercise, and stress management) on changes in coronary risk among 869 nonsmoking coronary heart disease patients (34% female) enrolled in the health insurance-based Multisite Cardiac Lifestyle Intervention Program.

A team from Yale conducts a systematic review of the literature and finds that mind-body therapies such as meditation, yoga and guided imagery are effective in reducing hypertension, with yoga having the strongest effect.

Dr. Ather Ali & his colleagues, of the Prevention Research Center, Yale School of Medicine, conducted a systematic review to assess the efficacy of mind-body therapies (MBT) versus placebo or active control in the treatment of hypertension or high blood pressure. The main outcome measures include change in systolic and diastolic blood pressure pre- and post-intervention period.

Ali’s team reviewed randomized, or quasi-randomized, controlled trials comparing mind-body techniques alone or in combination with conventional treatment to conventional treatment alone or no intervention/waiting list control.


Cardiology researchers from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles found that Transcendental Meditation (T M) can modulate the physiological response to stress and thus improve coronary heart disease risk factors..

Cardiology researchers from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles evaluated the efficacy of Transcendental Meditation (T M) on several aspects of metabolic syndrome. A total of 103 subjects were randomized to either 16 weeks of TM or active control treatment (health education), matched for frequency and time, in this placebo-controlled clinical trial.

Blood pressure, lipoprotein profile, and insulin resistance were measured, as well as brachial artery reactivity and heart rate variability.

Researchers at the Institute of Nursing and Midwifery at the University of Brighton in the UK investigated the impact of foot massage and guided relaxation on the well-being of patients who had undergone coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery.

There was a significant effect of the intervention on the calm scores (ANOVA, P=0.014), mostly due to the massage, although to a lesser extent due to the imagery. Dunnett''s multiple comparison showed that this was attributable to increased calm among the massage group. There was also a clear but non-significant trend across all psychological variables for both foot massage and, to a lesser extent, guided relaxation, for improving psychological well-being. Both interventions were well received by the subjects.

Researchers from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton reviewed the literature to see which complementary therapies can effectively reduce anxiety before diagnostic cardiac catheterization. The article cites music therapy, massage, guided imagery, therapeutic touch and stress management instruction as modalities that have been used successfully to decrease patient anxiety prior to diagnostic cardiac catheterization, providing better patient outcomes.

A study at the University of Milan with white collar workers being downsized shows that a simple stress reduction program could be implemented at the worksite, with possible preventive advantages for hypertension.

Researchers from the University of Milan compared 91 white-collar workers, enrolled at a time of work downsizing (hence, in a stress condition), with 79 healthy control subjects, for signs of altered nervous system or arterial pressure, and to test whether a simple, onsite stress management program, based on cognitive restructuring and relaxation training, could reduce the level of stress symptoms, revert stress-related autonomic nervous system dysregulation, and lower arterial pressure. This was compared to a sham program condition.

Researchers at United Christian Hospital in Hong Kong compared the effects of progressive relaxation with Qigong on improving the quality of life in cardiac rehab patients.

A total of 65 subjects, with a mean age of 65 (range, 42 to 76), were recruited for the study. Their cardiac diseases included myocardial infarct, post-coronary intervention, valve replacement, and ischemic heart disease. Patients were alternately allocated to two groups: the first group of patients received instructions and practiced progressive relaxation. The second group underwent training in qigong. A total of eight sessions were conducted, each session lasting 20 minutes.

Researchers from Abbott Northwestern Hospital and the Minneapolis Heart Institute examined the effects of touch, music and imagery on 104 patients undergoing open heart surgery, measuring heart rate, blood pressure, pain and tension.

Researchers from Abbott Northwestern Hospital and the Minneapolis Heart Institute examined the effectiveness of touch, music and imagery for the care of heart surgery patients. One hundred four patients undergoing open heart surgery were prospectively randomized to receive either complementary therapies (preoperative guided imagery training with gentle touch or light massage and postoperative music with gentle touch or light massage and guided imagery) or standard care.

Heart rate, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and pain and tension were measured preoperatively and as pre-tests and post-tests during the postoperative period. Complications were abstracted from the hospital record.

Page 3 of 6