Research Article

Controlled trial of biofeedback-aided behavioural methods in reducing mild hypertension.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1981; 282 doi: (Published 20 June 1981) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1981;282:2005
  1. C Patel,
  2. M G Marmot,
  3. D J Terry


    Employees of a large industry were screened for the presence of coronary risk factors. A total of 204 employees, aged 35-64 years, with two or more such factors (serum cholesterol concentration greater than or equal to 6.3 mmol/l (243.6 mg/100 ml), blood pressure greater than or equal to 140/90 mm Hg, and current cigarette consumption greater than or equal to 10 cigarettes a day) were randomly allocated to a biofeedback group receiving training in relaxation and management of stress or a control group. Both groups received simple health education literature. After eight weeks of training, and again eight months later, the biofeedback group showed a significantly greater fall in systolic and diastolic blood pressures than the control group (p less than 0.001). Plasma renin activity and plasma aldosterone concentration were measured in a subsample at entry to the study and again at eight weeks and eight months; both showed a greater reduction in the biofeedback compared with the control group at eight weeks' follow-up. The greater reduction in blood pressure in the subjects in the biofeedback group compared with the control group (11.0 mm Hg systolic and 8.8 mm Hg diastolic), persisting eight months after the training, suggests that relaxation-based behavioural methods might be offered as a first-time treatment to patients with mild hypertension.