MONDAY, Dec. 16, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Participants in a mindfulness program have significant improvements in self-regulation skills and reductions in blood pressure, according to a small study published online Nov. 27 in PLOS ONE.

Eric B. Loucks, Ph.D., from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, and colleagues evaluated a customized, nine-week Mindfulness-Based Blood Pressure Reduction (MB-BP) program. In addition to one year of follow-up data, focus groups and in-depth interviews were performed to evaluate the acceptability and feasibility of the program.

The researchers reported that of 53 eligible participants, 48 enrolled, and of these, 90 percent attended at least seven of the 10 MB-BP classes and 43 were followed to one year (90 percent). Compared with baseline, at one-year follow-up, there were improvements in primary self-regulation outcomes, including attention control, emotion regulation, and self-awareness. Among participants not adhering to American Heart Association guidelines at baseline, there were improvements in several determinants of hypertension, including physical activity, Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension-consistent diet, and alcohol consumption. At one-year follow-up, there were mean 6.1-mm Hg reductions in systolic blood pressure, with effects most pronounced in patients with stage 2 uncontrolled hypertension (≥140 mm Hg), showing 15.1-mm Hg reductions.

“Mindfulness may represent another approach to helping these people bring their blood pressure down, by allowing them to understand what’s happening in their minds and bodies,” Loucks said in a statement.

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