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Scand J Prim Health Care. 2017 Dec;35(4):360-368. doi: 10.1080/02813432.2017.1397318. Epub 2017 Nov 10.

Yoga - a laborious way to well-being: patients' experiences of yoga as a treatment for hypertension in primary care.

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a Department of Clinical Sciences in Malmö , Center for Primary Health Care Research, Skåne University Hospital, Lund University , Malmö , Sweden.



The aim of the study was to describe patients' experience of yoga as a treatment for hypertension, as well as their experience of living with hypertension.


Qualitative interview study Method and materials: In 2013-2014, in southern Sweden, patients with hypertension from three health care centres were invited to participate in a randomised controlled trial on yoga for hypertension. After completion of the study, eight women and five men (aged 35-79), who had practiced the yoga intervention, were interviewed about their experiences. We used a semi-structured interview guide according to Kvale. Qualitative analysis was conducted by systematic text condensation inspired by Malterud.


Two main themes emerged during the analysis process: Yoga - a laborious way to well-being and hypertension - a silent disease. The positive experiences of doing yoga were described in terms of tranquillity and increased agility. The drawbacks were mainly linked to the time required to perform the exercises. Living with high blood pressure and having to take medication can imply a stigma and cause concerns for future cardiovascular events. Most patients that we interviewed expressed a wish to find alternative ways to treat their high blood pressure. Participating in the yoga study was seen as a good possibility to try such an alternative way.


Many patients with hypertension in Swedish primary care seem to be interested in trying alternative treatments to control blood pressure. The patients in our study experienced several benefits from doing yoga, but they also pointed out difficulties in implementing yoga as a regular and permanent lifestyle change.


Complementary and alternative medicine; anxiety; depression; hypertension; primary care; quality of life; stress

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