Does Yoga Therapy Reduce Blood Pressure in Patients with Hypertension?: An Integrative Review

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The aim of this article was to present a evidence-based integrative research review that validates yoga therapy as an effective complementary treatment in the management of high blood pressure (BP). The article also uses the theoretical framework of Dr Hans Selye's general adaptation syndrome. Yoga researchers demonstrate that yoga works because it modulates the physiological system of the body, specifically its effect on the heart rate. This review is significant because yoga presents an effective method of treating hypertension that is nonpharmacologic and therefore there are no adverse effects and there are other valuable health benefits. Research suggests that stress is a contributing factor to high BP; hence, the use of the general adaptation syndrome and the most important attribute of yoga, that is, it is a physical and mental exercise program, that is in sync with the philosophy of holistic nursing care where one treats the whole individual and not just the disease. The review was conducted with a search of computerized databases such as OVID, Academic Search Premier, CINAHL, MEDLINE, and Health Source: Nursing/Academic edition, PsychINFO, as well as reliable Web sites such as the, among others. An integrative review search was conducted, and 10 studies met the inclusion criteria. They include a combination of randomized controlled trials, quasi-experimental studies, and pilot studies. Yoga therapy is a multifunctional exercise modality with numerous benefits. Not only does yoga reduce high BP but it has also been demonstrated to effectively reduce blood glucose level, cholesterol level, and body weight, major problems affecting the American society. The completed integrative review provides guidelines for nursing implementation as a complementary treatment of high BP.