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Lower Blood Pressure

In a clinical experiment with elderly African Americans (mean age 66) dwelling in an inner-city community, Transcendental Meditation was compared with the most widely used method of producing physiological relaxation. Subjects who had moderately elevated blood pressure levels were randomly assigned Transcendental Meditation, Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR), or usual care. Over a 3-month interval, systolic and diastolic blood pressure dropped by 10.6 and 5.9 mm Hg, respectively, in the Transcendental Meditation group, and 4.0 and 2.1. mm Hg in the PMR group, with virtually no change in the usual care group. A second random assignment study with the elderly conducted at Harvard found similar blood pressure changes produced by Transcendental Meditation over 3 months (11 mm Hg for systolic blood pressure).

Reference I: In search of an optimal behavioral treatment for hypertension: A review and focus on Transcendental Meditation, chapter in Personality, Elevated Blood Pressure, and Essential Hypertension (Washington, D.C., Hemisphere Publishing, 1992). Reference II: Transcendental Meditation, mindfulness, and longevity: An experimental study with the elderly, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 57(6): 950­964, 1989.