Some complementary health approaches are showing promise as elements of a program of lifestyle change that can help lower blood pressure. Research results show that some mind and body practices, such as meditation and relaxation techniques, may help reduce blood pressure in people with hypertension. In 2013, the American Heart Association suggested that biofeedback and Transcendental Meditation, in addition to conventional medication, can help people lower their blood pressure.
Modality and Summary of Current Evidence
Relaxation techniques have shown modest, short-term reductions in blood pressure; however, many of these studies were of poor quality.
A 2013 review and scientific statement on alternative approaches to lowering blood pressure from the American Heart Association provides the following statement regarding meditation for high blood pressure: “The overall evidence supports that Transcendental Meditation (TM) modestly lowers blood pressure.” However, the review indicates that it is uncertain whether TM is truly superior to other meditation techniques in terms of blood pressure lowering because there are few head-to-head studies.
There is some low-quality evidence that yoga may be a useful adjunct intervention for the management of hypertension.
There is evidence that garlic preparations may lower blood pressure in people with hypertension, but most of the research consists of small, preliminary, or low-quality studies.
Results from randomized controlled trials are mixed, but overall, data suggest some benefit of omega-3 fatty acids from fish oils in lowering blood pressure.