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Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2011;2011:546428. doi: 10.1093/ecam/nep130. Epub 2011 Feb 14.

Iyengar Yoga versus Enhanced Usual Care on Blood Pressure in Patients with Prehypertension to Stage I Hypertension: a Randomized Controlled Trial.

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  • 1Renal Division, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


The prevalence of prehypertension and Stage 1 hypertension continues to increase despite being amenable to non-pharmacologic interventions. Iyengar yoga (IY) has been purported to reduce blood pressure (BP) though evidence from randomized trials is lacking. We conducted a randomized controlled trial to assess the effects of 12 weeks of IY versus enhanced usual care (EUC) (based on individual dietary adjustment) on 24-h ambulatory BP in yoga-naïve adults with untreated prehypertension or Stage 1 hypertension. In total, 26 and 31 subjects in the IY and EUC arms, respectively, completed the study. There were no differences in BP between the groups at 6 and 12 weeks. In the EUC group, 24-h systolic BP (SBP), diastolic BP (DBP) and mean arterial pressure (MAP) significantly decreased by 5, 3 and 3 mmHg, respectively, from baseline at 6 weeks (P < .05), but were no longer significant at 12 weeks. In the IY group, 24 h SBP was reduced by 6 mmHg at 12 weeks compared to baseline (P = .05). 24 h DBP (P < .01) and MAP (P < .05) decreased significantly each by 5 mmHg. No differences were observed in catecholamine or cortisol metabolism to explain the decrease in BP in the IY group at 12 weeks. Twelve weeks of IY produces clinically meaningful improvements in 24 h SBP and DBP. Larger studies are needed to establish the long term efficacy, acceptability, utility and potential mechanisms of IY to control BP.

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