In new research, seated massage therapy combined with breathing techniques reduced blood pressure and stress levels in African-American women.

“The problem of hypertension among African-Americans is one of the major areas of health disparities,” according to an abstract from a recent study on seated massage, published on “The American Heart Association (2009) noted that the prevalence of hypertension among African-Americans is perhaps among the highest in the world and this is particularly so among African-American women (44 percent).”

Researchers from Dillard University in Louisiana set out to determine if therapeutic chair massage and instruction of patients in diaphragmatic breathing affected African-American women’s blood pressure, stress and anxiety levels over one week or six-weeks time periods.

Results showed “a significance for decreased systolic blood pressure levels for the one week post-massage intervention measurement … [and] significance for this group’s State Trait Anxiety Inventory.

“Exploring effects of therapeutic massage and patient teaching in the practice of diaphragmatic breathing on blood pressure, stress, and anxiety in hypertensive African-American women: an intervention study” ran in the Journal of the National Black Nurses Association (2010 Jul;21(1):17-24).

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