Blood
pressure is the amount of pressure blood forces on the walls of blood vessels
as the heart contracts and relaxes (Weedman and Prins 2016). When blood
pressure is taken, the systolic measurement represents the pressure at
contraction and the diastolic measurement represents the pressure at relaxation,
with a systolic pressure greater than 115 mm Hg referred to as high blood
pressure (MacMahon et al. 2001). High blood pressure can be related to age,
race, or stress levels however most cases are caused by lack of physical
activity, poor diet, and family history. In a study of 105 men who were predisposed
to high blood pressure based on their parents’ and individual blood pressures
(Noon et al. 1997), evidence points to the conclusion that offspring with a
family history of high blood pressure have a much greater chance of
predisposition of hypertension. It is critical to monitor high blood pressure regularly
as it can be detrimental to one’s health, potentially causing heart failure,
heart attacks, or a stroke (Mayoclinic…1998-2018). High blood pressure alone
was the root of nearly 50% of all heart disease cases and strokes (MacMahon et
al. 2001). Seeing the possible outcomes of this condition has sparked research
pertaining to effective, reasonably priced treatments, one being the practice of
meditation.

            Meditation was originally intended
to reduce stress, however has recently had a great impact in the medical field.
Research suggests that deep breathing exercises can lower blood pressure on
average around 3.2-4.7 mm Hg systolic and diastolic pressure (Horowitz 2010). There
has been positive feedback of practicing meditation in previous studies of
people predisposed to high blood pressure as well. While most evidence of the
effects meditation has in relation to blood pressure seem to be consistent
(Benson et al. 1974), we are testing the theory ourselves. We hypothesize that
if we meditate and practice deep breathing exercises, our blood pressure will
decrease due to a relaxed mindset and lower levels of stress. We expect our
results to reject the null hypothesis of the deep breathing meditation having
no effect on our blood pressure. The purpose of this experiment is to examine
and analyze the effects of meditation on blood pressure in order to draw
conclusions as to why the results we obtained occurred the way they did.

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