Can Meditation Lower Blood Pressure?

Can Meditation Lower Blood Pressure? 

Meditation apps for smartphones have become increasingly popular in recent years, as people seek affordable solutions to better handle stress and improve focus. But as high levels of stress are often linked to high blood pressure, it would follow that stress reduction can keep your blood pressure levels in a healthy range. So, can meditating daily really lower your blood pressure on a long-term basis? And if so, how much meditation do you need? 

Mind-Body Benefits

While research on the effects of meditation on high blood pressure is ongoing, some studies have shown positive results. An analysis of several studies found that people who practiced transcendental meditation regularly over periods ranging from eight weeks to one year saw their blood pressure decrease. The decreases were similar for people with hypertension and people with normal blood pressure. Another study that followed patients with cardiovascular disease for an average of five years found that patients who practiced transcendental meditation had an almost 50% lower rate of stroke, heart attack or death. 

Is Transcendental Meditation the Key?

It’s important to note that more studies have shown larger benefits from transcendental meditation specifically than all forms of meditation. Some studies seem to show that other forms of meditation, such as Zen and mindfulness meditation, may also help lower blood pressure, but other studies have found no difference. The American Heart Association says that it remains unclear whether transcendental meditation really is better for lowering blood pressure or that simply not enough research has been done. 

How to Meditate

Transcendental meditation is taught by specifically trained teachers in a short class. Other types of guided meditations can be easily found on apps, video streaming sites and websites. If your community has a Buddhist temple, it may offer free meditation sessions or classes. Other sites like yoga studios or alternative medicine practices may offer weekly meditation sessions. 

When you first start meditating, it may feel uncomfortable to sit in stillness. You may want to begin with meditating for five to 10 minutes at a time. Try to meditate at the same time every day to make it routine. Many people say meditating first thing in the morning helps them start the day with a clear, refreshed mind. If sitting still isn’t your thing, there are walking meditations and meditative exercise practices, such as Tai Chi and gentle yoga. Even if lowering your blood pressure isn’t your primary goal, you may find a new calmness in your life. 

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