Yoga, pranayama, thermal biofeedback techniques in the management of stress and high blood pressure.
This study, conducted by Latha and Kaliappan, investigated the effects of yoga, pranayama, and biofeedback techniques on stress management and high blood pressure. The researchers selected fourteen participants. Half of these participants were selected to receive training in yoga and thermal biofeedback methods for six months. The other seven participants were placed in a control group. The subjects had been selected based on their diagnosis of essential hypertension at the Hypertension Clinic, at the General Hospital of Madrid. The participants ranged in age from forty-five to seventy years of age. None of the participants had been diagnosed with any other abnormalities. Subjects were also matched for sex, age, length of illness, and socio-economic status.
The researchers used several tools to collect data at the onset of the study. These included collecting a case history, obtaining blood pressure, monitoring subjects" temperature, administering a stress questionnaire, a coping behavior measure, and a somatic symptoms scale, as well as, obtaining a schedule of daily events, symptoms, and medication intake. The subjects, furthermore, were briefed about the study, and informed consent was taken. .
The first phase of the experiment involved a baseline period, and included seven weeks of blood pressure assessment. During the second phase of the study, the experimental group was briefed regarding the nature of the study, and underwent training in yoga asanas, pranayama, and temperature feedback. Three weeks after the training was completed, both groups were asked to complete several questionnaires.
The results of this study show that subjects in the experimental group showed a significant reduction in the mean systolic pressure during the relaxation phase. The researchers, furthermore, stated that yoga exercises involving breathing techniques have significant effects on heart functions, and systolic pressure.