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General Health : Lifestyle Last Updated: Apr 20, 2011 - 9:38:09 AM

Got hypertension? Just relax!
By David Liu, Ph.D.
Sep 22, 2008 - 12:04:38 PM

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Got hypertension?   Forget about those toxic medications!   A new study suggests that to lower your blood pressure, it may only take a few sessions of relaxation by simply listening to some music or sounds of ocean waves or even a calming voice.


The study of 41 elderly people showed those who listened to a relaxation program lowered their blood pressure from 141/73 mmHg to 132/70 mmHg and heart rates from 73 to 70 beats per minute.


The study also found those who listened to Mozart music lowered their blood pressure from 141/71 mmHg to 134/69 mmHg and heart rates from 69 to 66 beats per minute.


The findings were presented at the American Heart Association’s 62nd Annual Fall Conference of the Council for High Blood Pressure Research.


For the study, one group was told to listen three times a week for four months to a 12-minute audio-guided relaxation training program with background sounds of ocean waves and a calming voice.   Another group was asked to listen to a 12-minute Mozart sonata three times a week for four months.


In comparison, the decrease in systolic blood pressure was found greater in the relaxation group than the Mozart group: 9 mmHg versus 7 mmHg.


"Physiologic augmentation is difficult to achieve, especially with blood pressure study, because people can only lower their blood pressure to a certain extent," Jean Tang, Ph.D., ARNP, lead author of the study and assistant professor in the College of Nursing at Seattle University.


"A 3 percent-5 percent change has been used as the cutting point in clinical research. It has been suggested that a 5 mmHg reduction in systolic blood pressure would result in a 9 percent reduction in coronary heart disease related death and 14 percent reduction in stroke related death."


The difference between the drops in the diastolic blood pressure for the two groups was not significant with 4 percent for the relaxation group and 2.8 percent for the music group.


The heart rates between the two groups did not show a significant difference after treatment.


"Higher systolic blood pressure is very prevalent in the elderly population," said Tang.   "This program may provide yet another way to help manage hypertension in conjunction with medication, lifestyle changes, exercise, diet and stress management."


The methods seem to be simple and easy.   But long-term adherence to the program may be a problem in elderly people with high blood pressure, Tang said.


Other studies presented at the same conference also suggest that weight loss and taking vitamin C could lower blood pressure while salt and high fat diet may increase blood pressure.

© 2004-2008 by unless otherwise specified

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