Yoga may help reduce high blood pressure

People who practice yoga may be getting an extra health boost -- a new US study finds that twice weekly yoga sessions can reduce high blood pressure.

In the study, researchers led by Dr. Debbie Cohen of the University of Pennsylvania tracked 58 women and men, aged 38 to 62, for 24 weeks.While the study didn't prove a cause-and-effect relationship, participants who practiced yoga two to three times a week experienced drops in blood pressure from 133/80 to 130/77, the researchers said. For comparison, a separate group of subjects who followed a special diet but did no yoga saw a smaller decrease, 134/83 to 132/82.Interestingly, the group who both followed the special diet and did yoga did not see better results in their blood pressure readings than those who did yoga alone, added HealthDay. The findings were presented Wednesday at the annual scientific meeting of the American Society of Hypertension in San Francisco. Need another reason to unroll your yoga mat? A separate study published earlier this year in the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry found that the ancient practice may soothe depression and help sleep problems.jw/kc