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NCCIH Clinical Digest

for health professionals

Complementary Health Approaches for Hypertension

February 2018
hypertension blood pressure

Some complementary health approaches are showing promise as elements of a program of lifestyle change that can help lower blood pressure. Research results show that some mind and body practices, such as meditation and relaxation techniques, may help reduce blood pressure in people with hypertension. In 2013, the American Heart Association suggested that biofeedback and Transcendental Meditation, in addition to conventional medication, can help people lower their blood pressure.

Modality and Summary of Current Evidence

Relaxation techniques have shown modest, short-term reductions in blood pressure; however, many of these studies were of poor quality.

Read more about the research of relaxation techniques for hypertension

A 2013 review and scientific statement on alternative approaches to lowering blood pressure from the American Heart Association provides the following statement regarding meditation for high blood pressure: “The overall evidence supports that Transcendental Meditation (TM) modestly lowers blood pressure.” However, the review indicates that it is uncertain whether TM is truly superior to other meditation techniques in terms of blood pressure lowering because there are few head-to-head studies.

Read more about the research of meditation for hypertension

There is some low-quality evidence that yoga may be a useful adjunct intervention for the management of hypertension.

Read more about the research of yoga for hypertension

There is evidence that garlic preparations may lower blood pressure in people with hypertension, but most of the research consists of small, preliminary, or low-quality studies.

Read more about the research of garlic for hypertension

Results from randomized controlled trials are mixed, but overall, data suggest some benefit of omega-3 fatty acids from fish oils in lowering blood pressure.

Read more about the research of omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) for hypertension

NCCIH Clinical Digest is a service of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, NIH, DHHS. NCCIH Clinical Digest, a monthly e-newsletter, offers evidence-based information on complementary health approaches, including scientific literature searches, summaries of NCCIH-funded research, fact sheets for patients, and more.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health is dedicated to exploring complementary health products and practices in the context of rigorous science, training complementary health researchers, and disseminating authoritative information to the public and professionals. For additional information, call NCCIH’s Clearinghouse toll-free at 1-888-644-6226, or visit the NCCIH website at NCCIH is 1 of 27 institutes and centers at the National Institutes of Health, the Federal focal point for medical research in the United States.


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