Psychological control of essential hypertension: Review of the literature and methodological critique

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Reviews recent studies (1971-1978) that investigated psychological approaches to the treatment of essential hypertension. 20 studies that use techniques of biofeedback, relaxation, and meditation training are summarized in table form. They are subjected to a detailed methodological critique, and suggestions for methodological improvements and directions for future research are proposed. Most experiments demonstrated blood pressure reductions too small to be of clinical significance. A combination of biofeedback and relaxation/meditation with other behavioral techniques appears most promising, and suggestions for a more comprehensive approach to assessment and training are made. Although studies comparing biofeedback and relaxation/meditation were inconclusive, relaxation/meditation is suggested to hold more promise because it requires no sophisticated technology and has been reported to simultaneously reduce other stress-related complaints. (3½ p ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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