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Relaxation training may improve control of hard-to-treat systolic hypertension
Date:3/27/2008

ants to attempt medication reduction. Among relaxation response group participants, 32 percent maintained reduced systolic pressure after eliminating one or more medications, an accomplishment achieved by only 14 percent of those in the lifestyle-counseling group.

The other nonpharmacological interventions that we know can reduce systolic blood pressure reducing dietary sodium, weight loss, smoking cessation and increasing physical activity can be very difficult for patients to achieve, says Jeffrey Dusek, PhD, the studys lead author. Our control group received an intensive amount of good-health information and reported making fairly dramatic lifestyle changes, but only the relaxation response group was able to significantly reduce their use of antihypertensive medications. Formerly with the Benson-Henry Institute, Dusek is now with the Institute for Health and Healing at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis.

Zusman adds, We are now going to look at the very large patient population currently termed pre-hypertensives those whose blood pressure is elevated but does not yet meet the criteria for drug therapy. If we can train those patients to elicit the relaxation response, we may be able to delay or even avoid the onset of hypertension, improving their cardiovascular health, reducing dependence on medications and potentially reducing overall health care costs. Zusman is an associate professor of Medicine, and Benson is the Mind/Body Medical Institute Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.


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Contact: Sue McGreevey
smcgreevey@partners.org
617-724-2764
Massachusetts General Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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