Transcendental Meditation

Study on blood pressure, distress and coping

A randomized controlled trial on effects of the Transcendental Meditation program on blood pressure, psychological distress, and coping in young adults

Authors:  Nidich, S.I.; Rainforth, M.V.; Haaga, D.A.; Hagelin, J; Salerno, J.W.; Travis, F.; Tanner, M.; Gaylord-King, C.; Grosswald, S.; Schneider, R.H.

Published:  American Journal of Hypertension, 2009 Dec;22(12):1326-31. Epub 2009 Oct 1.

Background: Psychological distress contributes to the development of hypertension in young adults. This trial assessed the effects of a mind-body intervention on blood pressure (BP), psychological distress, and coping in college students.

Methods: This was a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of 298 university students randomly allocated to either the Transcendental Meditation (TM) program or wait-list control. At baseline and after 3 months, BP, psychological distress, and coping ability were assessed. A subgroup of 159 subjects at risk for hypertension was analyzed similarly.

Results: Changes in systolic blood pressure (SBP)/ diastolic blood pressure (DBP) for the overall sample were -2.0/-1.2 mm Hg for the Transcendental Meditation group compared to +0.4/+0.5 mm Hg for controls (P = 0.15, P = 0.15, respectively). Changes in systolic blood pressure / diastolic blood pressure for the hypertension risk subgroup were -5.0/-2.8 mm Hg for the Transcendental Meditation group compared to +1.3/+1.2 mm Hg for controls (P = 0.014, P = 0.028, respectively). Significant improvements were found in total psychological distress, anxiety, depression, anger/hostility, and coping (P values < 0.05). Changes in psychological distress and coping correlated with changes in systolic blood pressure (P values < 0.05) and diastolic blood pressure (P values < 0.08).

Conclusions: This is the first RCT to demonstrate that a selected mind-body intervention, the Transcendental Meditation program, decreased blood pressure in association with decreased psychological distress, and increased coping in young adults at risk for hypertension. This mind-body program may reduce the risk for future development of hypertension in young adults.

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