This article originally appeared on Live in the Now.
On medication for high blood pressure? What if you found out you could potentially reduce the amount of drugs you take or gradually do away with them altogether?
An estimated 76 million adults in the U.S. suffer from high blood pressure (hypertension), a health risk associated with heart disease and cerebrovascular diseases, such as stroke or embolism. Most high blood pressure cases are “treated” using drugs that simply mask symptoms — dangerous medications that can result in kidney damage, digestive disorders and loss of vision. But a new study indicates that yoga may be the alternative we’ve been waiting for.
Granted, yoga has been shown to have a myriad of positive effects on the body and mind, but we rarely hear it prescribed to reduce hypertension.
In the first meta-analysis to examine the effects of yoga on blood pressure among individuals with prehypertension or hypertension, published in the Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, researchers concluded that yoga may be an effective intervention for reducing blood pressure among those with prehypertension and hypertension.
Study authors concluded, “These reductions are of clear clinical significance and suggest that yoga may offer an effective intervention for reducing blood pressure among people with prehypertension or hypertension.”
The review also found that subjects who were introduced to the three basic elements of yoga — postures, meditation, and breathing — were found to have even greater reductions in blood pressure than those who only utilized the posture aspect of yoga.
What About Just Regular Exercise?
There is evidence to suggest that other exercise programs can be equally effective in reducing high blood pressure. Generally speaking, any form of exercise will likely produce beneficial effects when practiced on a regular basis. Yoga is an excellent choice, however, because it tends to be relaxing in nature and carries the added bonus of mental clarity and calmness.