Maximising the effectiveness of meditation in the treatment of hypertension in primary care settings: the comparison of an attitudinal promoting technique with one that only utilises pre-existing beliefs
Olley, Susan C.M.
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Hypertension is a widespread condition, associated with numerous bio-psycho-social risk factors and major health implications. Behavioural treatment has been shown to be equally effective as drug therapy, with fewer aversive side effects. Yet medication remains the standard treatment for hypertension in primary care settings. Reluctance may be due to the techniques being combined in statistical analysis (yielding small effect sizes) and in complex treatment programmes (expensive in effort and time for healthcare staff and patients). Meditation, by itself, has been found to be effective in the treatment of hypertension. Appreciation of meditation's therapeutic value has been comparatively recent and many studies have failed to realise its complexities. The investigation of different meditation techniques has highlighted a number of components, which, when combined in to one technique, could maximise meditation as a treatment for hypertension in primary care settings. These include effortlessness, flexibility, sensitivity, utilisation of existing beliefs and the cultivation of stressreducing attitudes. The study aims to compare the effectiveness of two hybrid meditation techniques, in terms of blood pressure, hypertension risk factors, life satisfaction and adherence. Approximately 60 participants were randomly allocated to either of the two meditation groups or the control group and were assessed at pre- and post treatment and at 3 month follow-up. It is hypothesised that the meditation technique that actively cultivates beliefs will have greater efficacy than the one that only taps into pre-existing attitudes. The results are discussed with reference to current literature and suggestions made for future studies