Effects of Biobehaviorally Assisted Relaxation Training on Blood Pressure and Hormone Levels and Their Variation in Normotensives and Essential Hypertensives

  • John W. TurnerJr.
  • Thomas H. Fine
  • Angele McGrady
  • James T. Higgins
Part of the Recent Research in Psychology book series (PSYCHOLOGY)


This paper reports on the effect of two relaxation-based treatment modalities, biofeedback-assisted (BF) relaxation and restricted environmental stimulation therapy (REST) on the absolute levels and the variation of blood pressure, Cortisol, aldosterone and plasma renin activity in 18 hypertensives and 13 normotensives. Sixty-seven percent of both hypertensive groups achieved clinically significant blood pressure reductions across treatment. Decreases were also observed in the average levels of each hormone in all subgroups except normotensive BF. In some individuals the blood pressure changes were not associated with changes in hormone levels. Variation, reported as standard deviation, decreased across treatment for blood pressure, Cortisol and aldosterone in both hypertensive and normotensive REST subgroups. The BF subgroups showed no consistent changes. These results are discussed in the context of adrenocortical activity, volume regulation of blood pressure and cybernetic theory.


Mean Arterial Pressure Plasma Renin Activity Plasma Cortisol Plasma Aldosterone Relaxation Training 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Basmajian, J.V. Biofeedback Principles and Practice for Clinicians. (2nd Ed.). Baltimore, MD: Williams and Wilkins Company, 1985.Google Scholar
  2. Cugini, P., Piernatale, L., Tomassini, R., Centanni, M., Salandi, E. & Scavo, D. Circadian Rhythms of Plasma Renin, Aldosterone and Cortisol. Effect of Beta-Adrenergic Blockade of Propranolol in Patients with Recent, Advanced and Complicated Forms of Essential Hypertension. Chronobiologia, 1982, 9, 229.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Davidson, D.M., Winchester, M.A., Taylor, C.B., Alderman, E.A. & Ingels, N.B. Effects of Relaxation Therapy on Cardiac-Performance and Sympathetic Activity in Patients with Organic Heart Disease. Psvchomatic Medicine, 1979, 41, 303–309.Google Scholar
  4. Engel, B.T., Gaardner, K.R. & Glasgow, M.S. Behavioral Treatment of High Blood Pressure I. Analyses of Intra- and Interdaily Variations of Blood Pressure During A One Month Baseline Period. Psvchomatic Medicine, 1981, 43, 255–270.Google Scholar
  5. Fine, T.H. & Turner, J.W., Jr. The Effect of Brief Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy in the Treatment of Essential Hypertension. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 1982, 20, 567–570.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Fine, T.H. & Turner, J.W., Jr. The Use of Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy (REST) in the Treatment of Essential Hypertension. In: Turner, J.W., Jr. & Fine, T.H. (Eds.) REST and Self-Regulation: Proceedings of the 1st International Conference. Toledo, OH: IRIS Publ., 1985, 136–143.Google Scholar
  7. Fredrikson, M., Danielssons, T., Engel, B.T., Frisk-Holmberg, M., Strom, G. & Sundin, O. Autonomic Nervous System Function and Essential Hypertension: Individual Response Specificity With and Without Beta-Adrenergic Blockade. Psychophysiology, 1985, 22(2).Google Scholar
  8. Glasgow, M.S., Gaardner, K.R. & Engel, B.T. Behavioral Treatment of High Blood Pressure II. Acute and Sustained Effects of Relaxation and Systolic Blood Pressure Biofeedback. Psychosomatic Medicine. 1982, Mill.Google Scholar
  9. Green, E.E., Green, A.M. & Norris, P.A. Preliminary Report on a New Non-Drug Method for Control of Hypertension. Journal of South Carolina Medical Association. 1980, 6(3), 126–137.Google Scholar
  10. Jevning, R., Wilson, A., VanDerLaan, E. & Levine, S. Plasma Prolactin and Cortisol During Transcendental Mediation. Proceedings of the Endocrine Society, 1975, 275.Google Scholar
  11. Lilly, J. The Deep Self. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 1977.Google Scholar
  12. McGrady, A.V., Yonker, R., Tan, S.Y., Fine, T. & Woerner, M. The Effect of Biofeedback-Assisted Relaxation Training on Blood Pressure and Selected Biochemical Parameters in Patients with Essential Hypertension. Biofeedback and Self-Regulation, 1981, 6(3), 343–353.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. McGrady, A.V., Turner, J.W., Jr., Woerner, M., Higgins, J.T. & Custodio, D. Predictors of Success in Hypertensives Treated with Biofeedback Assisted Relaxation. Paper presented at the Biofeedback Society of American Annual Meeting, 1986.Google Scholar
  14. Michaels, R.R., Huber, M.J & McCann, D.S. Evaluation of Transcendental Meditation as a Method of Reducing Stress. Science, 1976, 192, 1242–1244.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Patel, C.H. Twelve-Month Follow-Up of Yoga and Biofeedback in the Management of Hypertension. Lancet, 1975, 1, 62–65, 1975.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Patel, C.H. Biofeedback Aided Relaxation and Meditation in the Management of Hypertension. Biofeedback and Self-Regulation, 1977, 2(1), 1–41.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Patel, C.H. & North, W.R.S. Randomized Controlled Trial of Yoga and Biofeedback in Management of Hypertension. Lancet, 1975, 2, 93–95.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Schwartz, G.E. Disregulation Theory and Disease: Applications to the Repression/Cerebral Disconnection/Cardiovascular Disorder Hypothesis. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 1983, 32, 95–118.Google Scholar
  19. Selye, H. Stress in Health and Disease. Boston, MA: Butterworth, 1976.Google Scholar
  20. Stephenson, R.B.; Modification of Reflex Regulation of Blood Pressure by Behavior. Annual Review of Physiology, 1984, 46, 133–143.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Suedfeld, P. Restricted Environmental Stimulation: Research and Clinical Applications. New York, NY: Wiley, 1980.Google Scholar
  22. Suedfeld, P., Ballard, E.J. & Murphy, M. Water Immersion and Flotation: From Stress Experiment to Stress Treatment. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 1983, 3, 147–155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Turner, J.W., Jr. & Fine, T.H. Effects of Relaxation Associated with Brief Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy (REST) on Plasma Cortisol, ACTH and LH. Biofeedback and Self-Regulation, 1983, 9, 115–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Weitzman, E.D., Fukushima, D, Nageire, C. Roffwarg, H., Gallagher, T.F. & Hellman, L. Twenty Four Hour Pattern of the Episodic Secretion of Cortisol in Normal Subjects. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. 1971, 33, 14–22.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • John W. TurnerJr.
  • Thomas H. Fine
  • Angele McGrady
  • James T. Higgins

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations