Prescribe yoga to lower BP, researchers say

Yoga could help patients with hypertension lower their BP and enjoy a better quality of life in only 12 weeks, a study suggests.

Yoga could help patients lower their BP (Photo: iStock)
Yoga could help patients lower their BP (Photo: iStock)

Researchers from Sweden found that people with high BP who practised yoga at home experienced a 4.4mmHg average drop in diastolic BP compared with a control group.

They also saw improvements in self-reported quality of life.

Although it is well known that exercise can have a positive effect on a person's BP, many people are unable or unwilling to do the level of exercise required.

Researchers said an easy yoga programme could be an alternative.

The trial included 83 adult participants of all ages with systolic BP between 120 to 179mmHg and at least 109mmHg diastolic BP. Most took antihypertensive medication.

They took a quality of life survey and were assigned to a yoga class with an instructor, yoga at home, or a control group.

After 12 weeks, the researchers from Lund University in Sweden saw BP improvements in those practising yoga at home but not those taking group classes.

Study authors said: ‘A short yoga programme for patients to practice at home seems to have an antihypertensive effect, as well as a positive effect on self-rated quality of life.

‘This implies that simple yoga exercises may be useful as a supplementary BP therapy in addition to medical treatment when prescribed by primary care physicians.’

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