Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn developed the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program at the Medical Center of Massachusetts University. Mindfulness is a lifetime engagement–not to get somewhere else, but to be where and as we actually are in this very moment, whether the experience is pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral. This technique uses a combination of mindfulness meditation, body awareness, and yoga to help people become more mindful. Since its inception, MBSR has evolved into a common form of complementary medicine addressing a variety of health problems.
The mind is known to be a factor in stress and stress-related disorders, and meditation has been shown to positively affect a range of autonomic physiological processes, such as lowering blood pressure (BP) and reducing overall arousal and emotional reactivity. The mindfulness-based stress reduction program consisted of eight group sessions of 2.5 hours in duration. It included instruction and practice in mindfulness meditation skills along with discussion of stress, coping and homework assignments designed for patients to document their mood and anxiety levels.
Recently performed randomized controlled trial of mindfulness-based stress reduction for pre-hypertension had shown the reduction in clinic of systolic BP (SBP) and diastolic BP (DBP) compared with progressive muscle relaxation (PMR).
Treatment guidelines recommend life-style modifications for BP in the prehypertensive range (SBP 120-139 mm Hg or DBP 80-89 mm Hg), followed by antihypertensives if BP reaches hypertensive levels. MBSR has not been thoroughly evaluated as a treatment of prehypertension. More trials should be conducted to further evaluate the effectiveness of MBSR.