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Mind-Body Techniques to Reduce Hypertension’s Chronic Effects

Erica Oberg, ND, MPH

Abstract
The physiologic impact of the mental-emotional state is well illustrated in hypertension. In this review, the mechanisms by which stress hormones interact with the vasculature to contribute to hypertension are discussed. Also discussed are the general adaptation syndrome theory of stress and several evidence-based mind-body techniques to reduce blood pressure. Examples include progressive muscle relaxation, biofeedback, meditation, mindfulness-based stress reduction, and positive thinking. Reductions in systolic blood pressure from these techniques range from 2 mm Hg to 12 mm Hg. These techniques can be readily taught to patients and will benefit healthcare practitioners themselves.

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