Researchers at the Institute of HeartMath examined the impact of a workplace-based stress management program on blood pressure (BP), emotional health and work performance in hypertensive employees… Researchers at the Institute of HeartMath examined the impact of a workplace-based stress management program on blood pressure (BP), emotional health and work performance measures in hypertensive employees at a global information technology company. Thirty-eight employees with hypertension were randomly assigned to either a treatment group that received the stress-reduction intervention or a wait list control group which received no intervention during the study period.

The treatment group participated in a 16-hour program, which included instruction in relaxing imagery, positive emotion refocusing and emotional restructuring techniques intended to reduce sympathetic nervous system arousal, stress, and negative mood and improve performance. BP, emotional health, and work-related measures were assessed before and 3 months after the program.

Three months post-intervention, the treatment group exhibited a mean adjusted reduction of 10.6 mm Hg in systolic BP and of 6.3 mm Hg in diastolic BP. The reduction in systolic BP was significant in relation to the control group. The treatment group also demonstrated improvements in emotional health, including significant reductions in stress symptoms, depression, and global psychological distress and significant increases in peacefulness and positive outlook. In addition, the trained employees demonstrated significant increases in the work-related scales of workplace satisfaction and value of contribution.

Results suggest that a brief workplace stress management intervention can produce clinically significant reductions in BP and improve emotional health among hypertensive employees.

Citation: McCraty R, Atkinson M, Tomasino D. Impact of a workplace stress reduction program on blood pressure and emotional health in hypertensive employees. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2003 Jun; 9 (3): pages 355-69. [email protected]