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Blood Pressure Study Examines Yoga, Meditation

February 3, 2010

Sunnybrook, in collaboration with the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario, is conducting a study to determine if teaching meditation techniques to people in early stages of developing hypertension is an effective intervention for lowering blood pressure.

Led by Dr. Sheldon Tobe, Nephrologist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, the HARMONY (Hypertension Analysis of Stress Reduction using Meditation & Yoga) study examines a relaxation therapy known as Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) to see whether it can lower blood pressure and delay or prevent the progression of hypertension.

Dr. Tobe and his team of researchers are recruiting 70 people over the next year to participate in this research. Participation may be required for up to ten months. During this study period, participants will be asked to come to Sunnybrook for monthly blood pressure assessments and study visits.

Over the course of nine weeks, participants will attend ten sessions of MBSR in a group setting at Toronto General Hospital. Each session is two-and-a-half hours long; one of the sessions will be a day-long mindfulness meditation retreat that takes place on a Saturday or Sunday. Participants will also be asked to complete some practice at home.

In order to be eligible for this research study, participants must meet the following criteria:

• Between 20 to 75 years old
• Have been diagnosed with high-normal or high blood pressure
• Not taking any medication for elevated blood pressure
• Willing to participate in ten sessions (over a period of nine weeks) of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction

As compensation, each participant will receive MBSR therapy and MBSR materials as well as reimbursement for parking costs to attend study sessions.

Please visit for more information. If you would like to participate, or have any questions regarding your eligibility, or if you would like to come in and have your blood pressure assessed, please contact:

Office of Dr. Sheldon Tobe
Nephrology Research
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
2075 Bayview Avenue, Room C-504
Phone: 416-480-6100 extension 1641

All queries will remain strictly confidential.

Media Contact:

Laurie Legere
Communications Advisor
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

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