Effect and Acceptability of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program on Patients With Elevated Blood Pressure or Hypertension: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials

Hypertension. 2020 Dec;76(6):1992-2001. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.120.16160. Epub 2020 Nov 2.


The mindfulness-based stress reduction program (MBSR) may reduce blood pressure (BP) in patients with hypertension or elevated BP. However, some important parameters (such as asleep BP) have not been investigated in previous reviews, and a well-conducted meta-analysis is lacking. This meta-analysis investigates the effect and acceptability of MBSR on patients with elevated BP or hypertension. Relevant articles were searched in multiple databases, including MEDLINE, EMBASE, and APA PsycInfo. Included studies were randomized controlled trials that involved patients with an elevated BP, had a control group, and investigated the effect of MBSR. The mean office and out-of-office (including 24-hour, daytime, and asleep) systolic BP and diastolic BP, psychological outcomes (depression/anxiety/stress), and dropout rate were compared between the MBSR arm and the control arm using a random-effects model. Quality assessment was conducted based on the Cochrane risk-of-bias tool. Twelve studies were included, and only one was considered having low risk of bias. MBSR decreased the office systolic BP and diastolic BP by 6.64 and 2.47 mm Hg at postintervention, respectively; the reduction in diastolic BP was sustained until 3 to 6 months after the recruitment. Our meta-analyses did not find a significant reduction in out-of-office BP after MBSR. MBSR reduced depressive, anxiety, and stress symptoms. The dropout rate from MBSR arm was 15% and was similar to that of control arm. The current evidence is limited by lack of high-quality and adequately powered trials with long-term follow-up. Furthermore, out-of-office BP was only reported by few trials.

Keywords: anxiety; blood pressure; blood pressure monitoring, ambulatory; database; depression; meta-analysis; mindfulness.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / prevention & control
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Blood Pressure / physiology*
  • Depression / prevention & control
  • Depression / psychology
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / physiopathology
  • Hypertension / prevention & control*
  • Hypertension / psychology
  • Mindfulness / methods*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / methods
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic / statistics & numerical data
  • Stress, Psychological / prevention & control*
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology