Given the potential number of patients affected there is a pressi

Given the potential number of patients affected there is a pressing need for effective, accessible, and affordable treatments. Whole body exercise is generally recommended as a key component in the management of hypertension. While cycling, jogging, aerobic exercise,

and dance may be acceptable to younger urban patients, these may not be so suitable for older, poorer, and rural patients for a variety of practical and cultural reasons. There are, however, some other promising non-pharmacological possibilities, including breathing training. Improvements in blood pressure have been seen with yoga training that emphasises slow and regular breathing (Patel and North 1975) and several studies have shown that patients who train with slow and regular breathing over a period of about eight weeks benefit from a reduction of blood pressure (Schein et al 2001, Grossman et al 2001, Rosenthal et al 2001, Elliot et al 2002, Viskoper et al 2003, Meles et al 2004). In these studies the pattern of breathing was guided by music, a metronome, or similar feedback devices, some of which are now available commercially. There

is, however, some controversy in this area, since no improvements in blood pressure were seen in a recent study with a device that uses a tone to control the rate of breathing (Altena et al 2009). We have recently developed a simple device to train the inspiratory muscles (Jones et al 2004) which was designed to be affordable and acceptable to a wide range of patients. The device may be used to regulate selleckchem the pattern and depth of breathing but can also provide a load for the respiratory muscles to work against. Evidence is accumulating that resistance training, at least with moderate loads, has no adverse effects and may well result in modest reductions in blood pressure for moderately hypertensive individuals (Kelley and Kelley, 2000, Cornelissen and Fagard, 2005). It is possible, therefore, that a combination of deep, slow breathing and an inspiratory load may be

more effective in reducing blood pressure than just regulating the pattern of breathing. Thymidine kinase Therefore the specific research questions for this study were: 1. Does unloaded deep and slow breathing training reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure for people with mild to moderate essential hypertension? The study was a randomised trial with concealed allocation and partial blinding. Patients with essential hypertension Stage I or II were recruited from the Outpatients Department, Srinagarind Hospital, Khon Kaen, Thailand. Following an initial assessment the patients were assigned to one of three intervention groups by block randomised, concealed allocation: a control group, those training with unloaded breathing, and those training with loaded breathing (see Figure 1).

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