Impact of a short home-based yoga programme on blood pressure in patients with hypertension: a randomized controlled trial in primary care


The present study was designed to evaluate yoga's impact on blood pressure (BP) and quality of life (QOL) and on stress, depression and anxiety in patients with hypertension in a primary care setting. We conducted a multi-centre randomized controlled trial with follow-up after 12-week intervention completion. Adult primary care patients diagnosed with hypertension were randomly allocated to yoga or usual care. The intervention group performed a short home-based Kundalini yoga programme 15 min twice-daily during the 12-week intervention period. At baseline and follow-up, the participants underwent standardized BP measurements and completed questionnaires on QOL, stress, anxiety and depression. Data obtained from 191 patients (mean age 64.7 years, s.d. 8.4) allocated to yoga intervention (n=96) and control group (n=95), with a total proportion of 52% women, showed a significant reduction in systolic and diastolic BP for both groups (−3.8/−1.7 mm Hg for yoga and −4.5/−3.0 mm Hg for control groups, respectively). However, the BP reduction for the yoga group was not significantly different from control. There were small but significant improvements for the yoga group in some of the QOL and depression measures (P<0.05, Hospital Anxiety and Depression scale, HADS-D) compared with control. The findings of our study, which is the largest study from an OECD country (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) to date, do not support the suggestion from previous smaller studies that yoga lowers the BP. Further clinical trials are needed to confirm these findings. However, the yoga patients had other health benefits.

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We would like to thank the staff and management group at Löddeköpinge, Hjärup and Bara Primary Health Care Centres. A special thanks to general pracitioner Beata Borgström Bolmsjö and Camilla Richardson for their willingness to commit time and effort for the research on yoga and hypertension. We are grateful to Göran Boll, the founder of the IMY, who has provided inspiration, knowledge and educational materials. This study was funded by the Faculty of Medicine at Lund University, the Ekhaga Foundation, the Swedish Heart-Lung Foundation and the Swedish Southern Health Care Region, Agreement for Medical Education and Research (ALF) funding from Region Skåne and a Swedish Research Council grant awarded to Kristina Sundquist.

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Correspondence to M Wolff.

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Supplementary Information accompanies this paper on the Journal of Human Hypertension website

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