Practicing yoga might reduce blood pressure in people with high blood pressure, according to recent research.
Yoga is an ancient system of relaxation, exercise, and healing with origins in Indian philosophy. Early descriptions of yoga are written in Sanskrit, the classical literary language of India. The first known work is "The Yoga Sutras," written more than 2,000 years ago, although yoga may have been practiced up to 5,000 years ago. The initial concepts have been adapted over time through translation and scholarly interpretation, but the fundamental principles describing the practice of yoga in the quest of the soul remain largely intact. Several studies support the use of yoga in the treatment of high blood pressure when practiced for up to one year.
In a recent study, researchers conducted a comprehensive literature search for well-designed clinical trials evaluating the effects of yoga on high blood pressure. Seventeen studies were ultimately identified for inclusion.
Of the 17 studies, only 2 were well-designed. The researchers found that 11 of the studies reported that yoga reduces systolic blood pressure (the top number in a blood pressure measurement) more than medications and other treatments. Furthermore, 8 studies reported that yoga leads to greater reductions in diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number in a blood pressure measurement) than medications and other treatment options. However, 5 studies reported that yoga has no effect on systolic blood pressure, and 8 suggested it does not benefit diastolic blood pressure.
The authors concluded that while research is mixed, there is evidence suggesting that yoga might be beneficial for people with high blood pressure. Further research is warranted.
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