Yoga Nidra for hypertension: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Author: Navdeep Ahuja1, Praag Bhardwaj1, Monika Pathania2, Dilasha Sethi3, Arjun Kumar1, Ashwin Parchani1, Akshita Chandel4, Aashish Phadke5
1 Dept. of Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India.
2 Dept. of Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India. Electronic address:
3 Division of Yoga and Life Sciences, Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana - SVYASA, Bangaluru, Karnataka, India.
4 Dept. of General Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Bilaspur, Himachal Pradesh, India.
5 Division of Endocrine and Metabolic Disorders - Lifestyle Modulations and Yoga Modules, Kasturba Health Society - Medical Research Centre, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India.
Conference/Journal: J Ayurveda Integr Med
Date published: 2024 Mar 13
Other: Volume ID: 15 , Issue ID: 2 , Pages: 100882 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1016/j.jaim.2023.100882. , Word Count: 470

Hypertension is a prevalent chronic condition that affects a substantial proportion of the world's population. Medications are commonly prescribed for hypertension management, but non-pharmacological interventions like yoga are gaining popularity.

The purpose of this systematic review and meta-analysis is to assess the efficacy of Yoga Nidra (YN) for the management of hypertension.

A systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical trials, i.e., non-randomized and randomized controlled trials (RCTs) was conducted to investigate the effects of YN on hypertension. PubMed, the Cochrane Library, SCOPUS, and EBSCO were searched for relevant studies published up to September 2022. The quality of the included studies was assessed using the Cochrane risk of bias tool. The primary outcome measure was the change in systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) after YN intervention, analyzed as weighted mean difference (WMD), in comparison to control groups. The random-effects model was used for the meta-analysis. Risk of bias was assessed for RCTs and non-RCTs using Cochrane's RoB-2 and ROBINS-I tools, respectively.

Five RCTs and three Non-RCTs involving a total of 482 participants (239 for YN vs 243 for controls) were included in this review. The meta-analysis indicated that YN significantly reduced SBP (WMD = 12.03 mm Hg, 95% CI [7.12, 16.93], Z = 4.80, p < 0.00001) and DBP (WMD = 6.32 mm Hg, 95% CI [3.53, 9.12], Z = 4.43, p < 0.00001) compared to control groups. The overall risk of bias for the three RCTs was high, whereas for the five non-RCTs, one had an overall moderate risk while the other four had an overall serious risk of bias.

This systematic review and meta-analysis provides evidence supporting the efficacy of YN as a complementary therapy for hypertension management. YN is a safe, cost-effective, and easily accessible intervention that primarily relies on interoception and induces a deep relaxation response in practitioners, aiding them in coping with various components of high blood pressure, such as stress, vascular inflammation, peripheral vascular resistance, etc. Our understanding of the mechanisms of YN is constantly evolving, and there is a need for further research to fully explore and appreciate the significance of this ancient science and its potential efficacy on BP. Considering the results and the multifactorial role of YN, it can act as a safe and reliable adjuvant therapy to complement the pharmacological treatment of hypertension. However, further studies with larger sample sizes, longer follow-up periods, and homogenous populations are warranted.

This meta-analysis suggests that YN is effective in reducing SBP and DBP, particularly in individuals with hypertension. The results highlight the potential of YN as a complementary therapy for hypertension management. Healthcare providers may consider recommending YN to patients with hypertension as an adjuvant therapy to medication. Further studies are required to identify standardized optimal forms and durations of YN best suited for hypertension management.

Keywords: CVD risk; Cardiac health; Mind body medicine; Mindfulness; Non-communicable disease; Stress management.

PMID: 38484438 DOI: 10.1016/j.jaim.2023.100882