Is transcendental meditation benefit for controlling blood pressure amongst hypertensive participants as compared to health education?
Date of publication of the systematic review: March 2008
Design
Systematic review of 4 randomized controlled trials (RCTs).
Participants
413 hypertensive participants (mean age range: 48 to 68 years, male % range: 31.5% to 81.5%).
Intervention
Transcendental meditation practiced with a frequency ranging from 10.6 to 13 sessions a week. Duration of studies ranged from 13 to 52 weeks with a median duration of 15 weeks. All included studies indicated that transcendental meditation training was provided in a standardized manner by a trained instructor.
Comparator
Comparison: Transcendental meditation versus health education.
Major Outcomes
Outcome 1: Systolic blood pressure measured at the end of treatment;
Outcome 2: Diastolic blood pressure measured at the end of treatment.
All studies obtained multiple blood pressure measurements at each follow-up visit and reported average blood pressure values.
Settings
All the included trials were conducted in outpatient settings.
Comparison    Transcendental meditation versus health education
Main Results
Compared to health education, regular practice of transcendental meditation showed significant reduction of systolic blood pressure (pooled weighted mean difference (pooled WMD): -5.1, 95% CI: -9.4 to -0.8) but not on the reduction of diastolic blood pressure (pooled WMD: -2.1, 95% CI: -5.4 to 1.3).
Comparison: Regular practice of transcendental meditation versus health education amongst hypertensive subjects
Outcomes No. of studies (Total no. of participants) Mean blood pressure/ No. of participants Heterogeneity test (I2) Pooled WMD (95% CI) Overall quality of evidence*
Intervention Comparator
1 4 (413) Not reported/213 Not reported/200 Not reported −5.1 (−9.4 to −0.8) Moderate
2 4 (413) Not reported/213 Not reported/200 Not reported −2.1 (−5.4 to 1.3) Low
Keys: WMD = weighted mean difference; CI = confidence interval.
Comparison    Transcendental meditation versus health education
Main Results
Compared to health education, regular practice of transcendental meditation showed significant reduction of systolic blood pressure (pooled weighted mean difference (pooled WMD): -5.1, 95% CI: -9.4 to -0.8) but not on the reduction of diastolic blood pressure (pooled WMD: -2.1, 95% CI: -5.4 to 1.3).
Comparison: Regular practice of transcendental meditation versus health education amongst hypertensive subjects
Outcomes 1 2
No. of studies (Total no. of participants) 4 (413) 4 (413)
Mean blood pressure/ No. of participants Intervention Not reported/213 Not reported/213
Comparator Not reported/200 Not reported/200
Pooled WMD (95% CI) −5.1 (−9.4 to −0.8) −2.1 (−5.4 to 1.3)
Overall quality of evidence* Moderate Low
Keys: WMD = weighted mean difference; CI = confidence interval.
Conclusion
Benefits
Compared to health education, regular practice of transcendental meditation showed significant benefit on reducing systolic blood pressure amongst hypertensive adults. However, no clear benefit was demonstrated in the reduction of diastolic blood pressure. For outcome 1, the overall quality of evidence is moderate. Further research is fairly likely to have an important impact on our confidence in this estimate of effect. For outcome 2, the overall quality of evidence is low. Further research is likely to have an important impact on our confidence in this estimate of effect.
Harms
Only limited information was provided and none reported an adverse effect.
Link to Original Article
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18311126
The synopsis is based on the following article:
Anderson JW, Liu C, Kryscio RJ. Blood pressure response to transcendental meditation: a meta-analysis. Am J Hypertens. 2008 Mar;21(3):310-6.


* Interpretation of quality assessment results:
• Very low: Further research is most likely to have an important impact on our confidence in this estimate of effect.
• Low: Further research is likely to have an important impact on our confidence in this estimate of effect.
• Moderate: Further research is fairly likely to have an important impact on our confidence in this estimate of effect.
• High: Further research is unlikely to have an important impact on our confidence in this estimate of effect.
• Very high: Further research is most unlikely to have an important impact on our confidence in this estimate of effect.

Details of assessment method can be found at Chung VC, Wu XY, Ziea ET, Ng BF, Wong SY, Wu JC. Assessing internal validity of clinical evidence on effectiveness of CHinese and integrative medicine: Proposed framework for a CHinese and Integrative Medicine Evidence RAting System (CHIMERAS). European Journal of Integrative Medicine. 2015 Aug 31;7(4):332-41.