Harvard Women's Health Watch

Yoga and acupressure help control blood pressure in people with atrial fibrillation

According to two studies presented at the European Society of Cardiology's EuroHeartCare Congress, two alternative therapies—yoga and acupressure—can lower blood pressure in people with atrial fibrillation. One study randomly assigned 80 people with atrial fibrillation to either usual treatment, or a combination of usual treatment (for atrial fibrillation or blood pressure) and medical yoga (which focuses on deep breathing through movement). After three months, systolic blood pressure decreased by 5 mm Hg, and diastolic pressure decreased by 6 mm Hg in the yoga group, while blood pressure increased in the usual care group.

Yoga also slowed participants' heart rate and improved their quality of life. In another study, acupressure (a technique of applying pressure with the fingers to specific points on the body) lowered pulse rate and blood pressure compared with an inactive treatment in a group of 60 people with atrial fibrillation. These studies suggest that yoga and acupressure might be effective additions to care for women with atrial fibrillation.