Can meditation reduce blood pressure?

Meditation, an important component of many religions, traditions and beliefs, has been practiced by tens of millions around the globe. In a 2007 study by the US government agency National Centre for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, it was noted that nearly ten per cent of US adults had practiced meditation within the last 12 months, a 2.5 per cent increase from 2002.

Meditation is not practiced just because of its links to spiritual beliefs, but also because practitioners can use the techniques to self-induce a mode of consciousness and improving self-awareness.

Since the 1960s, there have been countless published research studies stating that meditation has been linked to positive changes in metabolism, stress and pain levels and medical science has also proved that 20 minutes of meditation on a daily basis is able to reduce blood pressure. According to Dr Nancy Aagenes, a local expert in the naturopathic field, in her recent article, blood pressure is controlled partly by the adrenal gland. The adrenal gland provides the extra power and functional capacity during stressful situations, such as the case where a mother lifted a car off her child.

However, we often misuse this body function for stresses in our daily lives, exhausting the adrenal gland, and contributing to a negative effect on our blood pressure. Thus in order to reverse this negative effect, it is necessary to find a way to energize the adrenal gland, bringing the body back to a more relaxed state, and thus allowing the reduction of blood pressure. The way is simple, 20 minutes of meditation on a daily basis, combined with deep breathing or sitting in a comfortable position and repeating the same phrase (or known as mantra) and stop stressing over small matters.

Meditation helps to ignite biochemical changes within the body that helps the body and mind to reach a more balanced and relaxed state which in turn triggers the body’s self-repairing functions. This will help to restore the adrenal function and thus bring a positive change in blood pressure. In addition, a new study started by the Dalai Lama and Paul Ekman, PhD, a University of California, San Francisco emeritus professor has also shown that meditation can reduce the stress levels and bad emotions while increasing the good emotions experienced and expressed by a person. Meditative techniques involving sustained, focused attention on a specific mental or sensory experience and the close examination of one’s physical and emotional state have been developed by combining meditative techniques with techniques learnt from the study of emotions.

As a result of this study, it was observed that along with the reduction of stress levels, negative emotions reduces as well, and participants who went through the meditation techniques were able to retain the benefits of the techniques a few months later. With a reduction of stress levels faced from daily activities, the exhaustion on the adrenal gland is reduced which then prevents the blood pressure from increasing unnecessarily. Meditation techniques thus can be applied from multiple different angles to effectively and positively affect the different parts of our body that contributes to blood pressure.