Hypertension analysis of stress reduction using mindfulness meditation and yoga: results from the HARMONY randomized controlled trial

Am J Hypertens. 2014 Jan;27(1):122-9. doi: 10.1093/ajh/hpt134. Epub 2013 Sep 14.


Background: The HARMONY study was a randomized, controlled trial examining the efficacy of an 8-week mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program for blood pressure (BP) lowering among unmedicated stage 1 hypertensive participants.

Methods: Participants diagnosed with stage 1 hypertension based on ambulatory BP were randomized to either immediate treatment of MBSR for 8 weeks or wait-list control. Primary outcome analysis evaluated whether change in awake and 24-hour ambulatory BP from baseline to week 12 was significantly different between the 2 groups. A within-group before and after MBSR analysis was also performed.

Results: The study enrolled 101 adults (38% male) with baseline average 24-hour ambulatory BP of 135±7.9/82±5.8mm Hg and daytime ambulatory BP of 140±7.7/87±6.3 mmHg. At week 12, the change from baseline in 24-hour ambulatory BP was 0.4±6.7/0.0±4.9mm Hg for the immediate intervention and 0.4±7.8/-0.4±4.6mm Hg for the wait-list control. There were no significant differences between intervention and wait-list control for all ambulatory BP parameters. The secondary within-group analysis found a small reduction in BP after MBSR compared with baseline, a finding limited to female subjects in a sex analysis.

Conclusions: MBSR did not lower ambulatory BP by a statistically or clinically significant amount in untreated, stage 1 hypertensive patients when compared with a wait-list control group. It leaves untested whether MBSR might be useful for lowering BP by improving adherence in treated hypertensive participants.

Clinical trials registration: NCT00825526.

Keywords: ambulatory blood pressure monitoring; behavior modification; blood pressure; hypertension; nonpharmacological therapy..

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Blood Pressure Monitoring, Ambulatory
  • Blood Pressure*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / diagnosis
  • Hypertension / physiopathology
  • Hypertension / psychology
  • Hypertension / therapy*
  • Male
  • Meditation*
  • Middle Aged
  • Mindfulness*
  • Stress, Psychological / diagnosis
  • Stress, Psychological / physiopathology
  • Stress, Psychological / prevention & control*
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Yoga*

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00825526