Meditation and blood pressure: a meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials

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Abstract

Objectives:

We meta-analyzed the effect of meditation on blood pressure (BP), including both transcendental meditation and non-transcendental meditation interventions.

Methods:

We identified randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that examined the BP responses to meditation interventions through a systematic literature search of the PubMed, ABI/INFORM, MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, and CINAHL databases (from January 1980 to October 2015). We meta-analyzed the change in SBP and DBP, stratified by type of meditation (transcendental meditation vs. non-transcendental meditation intervention) and by type of BP measurement [ambulatory BP monitoring (ABPM) vs. non-ABPM measurement].

Results:

Nineteen studies met the eligibility criteria. Among the studies using the ABPM measurement, the pooled SBP effect estimate was −2.49 mmHg [95% confidence interval (CI): −7.51, 2.53] for transcendental meditation intervention (statistically insignificant) and −3.77 mmHg (95% CI: −5.33, −2.21) for non-transcendental meditation interventions, whereas the pooled DBP effect estimate was −4.26 mmHg (95% CI: −6.21, −2.31) for transcendental meditation interventions and −2.18 mmHg (95% CI: −4.28, −0.09) for non-transcendental meditation interventions. Among the studies using the non-ABPM measurement, the pooled SBP effect estimate from transcendental meditation interventions was −5.57 mmHg (95% CI: −7.41, −3.73) and was −5.09 mmHg with non-transcendental meditation intervention (95% CI: −6.34, −3.85), whereas the pooled effect size in DBP change for transcendental meditation interventions was −2.86 mmHg (95% CI: −4.27, −1.44) and was −2.57 mmHg (95% CI: −3.36, −1.79) for non-transcendental meditation interventions.

Conclusion:

Non-transcendental meditation may serve as a promising alternative approach for lowering both SBP and DBP. More ABPM-measured transcendental meditation interventions might be needed to examine the benefit of transcendental meditation intervention on SBP reduction.

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