MINDFULNESS & PAIN MANAGEMENT
The American Heart Association states that, “practicing mindfulness and meditation may help you manage stress and high blood pressure, sleep better, feel more balanced and connected, and even lower your risk of heart disease.”
Last year, new blood pressure guidelines released by the American Heart Association lowered the target optimum blood pressure from 140/90 mm Hg to 130/80 mm Hg. This means an additional 31 million Americans (a total of 46% of the U.S. adult population) are now classified as having hypertension. In addition, one in every four deaths in the United States is from heart disease, making it the country’s leading killer. By lowering the definition of high blood pressure, the guidelines recommend even earlier intervention to prevent further blood pressure increases and complications associated with hypertension.
Simple lifestyle changes and non-drug approaches including a mindfulness practice can have significant effects on blood pressure. Eric Loucks, PhD at Brown University, is conducting a number of studies on the health benefits of meditation. His preliminary findings in a clinical trial called “Mindfulness-Based Blood Pressure Reduction Intervention Development,” show that by enhancing self-regulation and supporting meaningful health behavior changes meditation is significantly reducing high blood pressure.
The AHA recognizes the potential that mindfulness has on cardiac disease and concluded in 2017 that, although evidence is preliminary, there is enough to suggest that mindfulness meditation be used as an adjunct treatment for coronary disease and its prevention.