Mindful Movement, Meditation and High Blood Pressure

By Shirley Archer, JD, MA
Sep 20, 2017

Qigong, yoga and tai chi may all be useful practices for reducing high blood pressure. And qigong, in particular, may have the most significant impact on reducing diastolic blood pressure [DBP], according to a review of studies published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine (2017; article ID 9784271).

Shanghai University of Sport researchers in Shanghai, People’s Republic of China, wanted to compare tai chi, yoga and qigong—three mindful-movement practices—to evaluate their effect on blood pressure reduction and determine whether one practice might be more beneficial than another. The researchers noted that all three disciplines offer benefits as nonpharmacological approaches that include meditation and physical activity, but said no previous studies had compared them against one another.

Investigators selected 19 randomized clinical trials with 1,459 hypertensive patients for inclusion in a meta-analysis. The review found that all three practices led to significant reductions in both systolic blood pressure and DBP among study subjects, compared with nonexercising controls. While qigong practice showed a stronger impact on DBP, study authors cautioned that this finding may have resulted from different sample sizes and follow-up times and recommended that more research be conducted.


Shirley Archer, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is the 2008 IDEA Fitness Instructor of the Year and is IDEA's mind-body-spirit spokesperson. She is a certified yoga and Pilates teacher and an award-winning author based in Los Angeles, California, and Zurich, Switzerland. Two of her books, The Walking Deck and The Strength and Toning Deck, are now featured as iPhone apps. Contact her at www.shirleyarcher.com.

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