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ASH: Practicing Yoga May Help Lower Blood Pressure
Yoga two to three times a week on average lowers both systolic and diastolic BP by three points

THURSDAY, May 16 (HealthDay News) -- Yoga may be effective at reducing blood pressure (BP), according to a small study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hypertension, held from May 15 to 18 in San Francisco.

Debbie L. Cohen, M.D., from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and colleagues randomized 58 subjects (120 is the enrollment goal) to a treatment group of yoga practice in a studio two to three times per week for 24 weeks, a supervised diet/weight reduction and walking program, or a combo program consisting of both yoga and the dietary intervention. Inpatient ambulatory BP was monitored at baseline and at 12 and 24 weeks.

The researchers found that there were no significant between-group differences among the participants (mean age, 50.1 years; 30 females; 31 white and 25 black). Within the yoga group there was a significant difference in systolic BP from baseline to 12 weeks and a trend toward significance in systolic BP at 24 weeks. In the yoga group there were significant diastolic BP reductions at 12 and 24 weeks. Aside from a significant decrease in diastolic BP at 12 weeks in the combo group, there were no observed differences in BP reduction within the diet or the combo group.

"This data will be further validated as [the] study continues but results thus far indicate promising effects of yoga on BP reduction," the authors write.

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