The Particulars: Yoga is becoming increasingly popular as a potential alternative or compliment to medication for the treatment of many medical conditions. It is unclear, however, the effect that yoga—performed alone or in combination with dietary intervention—has on reducing blood pressure (BP) in patients with pre-hypertension or stage 1 hypertension.

Data Breakdown: For a study, patients with pre-hypertension or stage 1 hypertension took part in yoga sessions two to three times per week for 24 weeks. These patients also received a supervised diet and weight reduction program plus a walking program. Another patient group received yoga plus dietary intervention. No significant differences in BP were observed between the groups at 12 or 24 weeks. However, systolic BP decreased significantly from baseline to 12 weeks and trended toward significant at 24 weeks for those taking yoga. Significant reductions at 12 and 24 weeks were also seen in diastolic BP for the yoga group.

Take Home Pearl: Yoga appears to help patients with pre-hypertension or stage 1 hypertension achieve significant decreases in systolic BP at 12 weeks and in diastolic BP at both 12 and 24 weeks.