Coherence: A Novel Nonpharmacological Modality for Lowering Blood Pressure in Hypertensive Patients



Coherence: A Novel Nonpharmacological Modality for Lowering Blood Pressure in Hypertensive Patients

Published on: 17-05-2012

This  study  examined  the  efficacy  of  teaching   emotional   self-regulation   techniques     supported     by     heart     rhythm coherence training (emWave Personal Stress Reliever) as a means to quickly  lower  blood  pressure  (BP)  in  patients   diagnosed   with   hyperten-sion.  Previous  studies  have  demonstrated  systemic  reductions  in  BP  in  both   high   stress   populations   and   patients diagnosed with hypertension using this approach, but to the best of our  knowledge,  an  investigation  of  their  ability  to  produce  immediate  reductions  in  BP  had  not  been  published in the medical literature.   The study was a randomized con-trolled  design  with  62  hypertensive  participants  who  were  divided  into  three   groups.   Group   1   was   taking   hypertensive  medication,  was  taught  self-regulation  technique,  and  used  heart    rate    variability    coherence    (HRVC) training devices. Group 2 was not  yet  taking  medication  and  was  trained   in   the   same   intervention.   Group   3   was   taking   hypertensive   medication  but  did  not  receive  the  intervention  and  was  instructed  to  relax between the BP assessments. An  analysis  of  covariates  was  conducted  to  compare  the  effectiveness  of  three  different  interventions  on reducing the participants’ BP. The use  of  the  self-regulation  technique  and   the   HRVC-monitoring   device   was  associated  with  a  significantly  greater  reduction  in  mean  arterial  pressure in the two groups who used the  intervention  as  compared  with  the        relaxation-plus-medication        group.  Additionally,  the  group  not  taking medication that used the intervention also had a significantly greater  reduction  in  systolic  BP  than  the  relaxation- plus-medication group.These  results  suggest  that  self-regulation  techniques  that  incorpo-rate   the   intentional   generation   of   positive  emotions  to  facilitate  a  shift  into  the  psychophysiological  coherence state are an effective approach to lowering  BP.  This  approach  to  reduc-ing BP should be considered a simple and effective approach that can easily be taught to patients to quickly lower their  BP  in  stressful  situations.  The  technique should be especially useful when hypertensive patients are experiencing  stressful  emotions  or  reactions  to  stressors.  It  is  possible  that  the BP reductions associated with the use of the technique leads to a change in   the   physiological   set-point   for   homeostatic regulation of BP. Further studies  should  examine  if  large  scale  implementations of such heart-based coherence  techniques  could  have  a  significant impact on reducing risk of mortality and morbidity in hypertensive patients.

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