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Meditation and blood pressure

a meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials

Shi, Lu; Zhang, Donglan; Wang, Liang; Zhuang, Junyang; Cook, Rebecca; Chen, Liwei

doi: 10.1097/HJH.0000000000001217
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Objectives: We meta-analyzed the effect of meditation on blood pressure (BP), including both transcendental meditation and non-transcendental meditation interventions.

Methods: We identified randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that examined the BP responses to meditation interventions through a systematic literature search of the PubMed, ABI/INFORM, MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, and CINAHL databases (from January 1980 to October 2015). We meta-analyzed the change in SBP and DBP, stratified by type of meditation (transcendental meditation vs. non-transcendental meditation intervention) and by type of BP measurement [ambulatory BP monitoring (ABPM) vs. non-ABPM measurement].

Results: Nineteen studies met the eligibility criteria. Among the studies using the ABPM measurement, the pooled SBP effect estimate was −2.49 mmHg [95% confidence interval (CI): −7.51, 2.53] for transcendental meditation intervention (statistically insignificant) and −3.77 mmHg (95% CI: −5.33, −2.21) for non-transcendental meditation interventions, whereas the pooled DBP effect estimate was −4.26 mmHg (95% CI: −6.21, −2.31) for transcendental meditation interventions and −2.18 mmHg (95% CI: −4.28, −0.09) for non-transcendental meditation interventions. Among the studies using the non-ABPM measurement, the pooled SBP effect estimate from transcendental meditation interventions was −5.57 mmHg (95% CI: −7.41, −3.73) and was −5.09 mmHg with non-transcendental meditation intervention (95% CI: −6.34, −3.85), whereas the pooled effect size in DBP change for transcendental meditation interventions was −2.86 mmHg (95% CI: −4.27, −1.44) and was −2.57 mmHg (95% CI: −3.36, −1.79) for non-transcendental meditation interventions.

Conclusion: Non-transcendental meditation may serve as a promising alternative approach for lowering both SBP and DBP. More ABPM-measured transcendental meditation interventions might be needed to examine the benefit of transcendental meditation intervention on SBP reduction.

aDepartment of Public Health Sciences, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina

bDepartment of Health Policy and Management, College of Public Health, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia

cDepartment of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, College of Public Health, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee

dDepartment of Mathematical Sciences

eDepartment of Psychology, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina, USA

Correspondence to Donglan Zhang, Department of Health Policy and Management, College of Public Health, University of Georgia, 100 Foster Road, Wright Hall, Athens, Georgia, USA. Tel: +1 706 713 2755; e-mail: dzhang@uga.edu

Abbreviations: BAM, breathing awareness meditation; BP, blood pressure; CI, confidence interval; CMBT, contemplative meditation combined with breathing techniques; HE, health education; MBSR, mindfulness-based stress reduction; SP, social support; TAU, treatment as usual; TM, transcendental meditation

Received 11 April, 2016

Revised 23 August, 2016

Accepted 18 November, 2016

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