Background: Hypertension control remains a major challenge globally. A recent systematic review suggested that yoga has beneficial effects on reducing blood pressure. However, the role of yoga in hypertension management in primary health care has received little attention, and no studies have evaluated the impact of a yoga program fully delivered by health care staff on hypertension. This study, therefore, assessed the effects of a health worker-led yoga intervention on blood pressure reduction among hypertensives patients in the primary care setting. Methods: This was a multicentric, two-arm, randomised trial conducted among hypertensive patients in seven Ayurveda Health Centres in Nepal between March 2017 and June 2018. One hundred and twenty-one participants who were on or without medications were randomised to intervention (n = 61) and wait-list control (n = 60) groups using stratified block randomisation. Participants in the intervention arm received an intervention consisting of an initial five-day structured yoga training at the centres and then a further home-based practice of yoga for five days a week for the following 90 days. Both intervention and control groups also participated in a 2-h health education session. The primary outcome of this trial was systolic blood pressure at 90-day follow-up. Data were analysed on an intention-to-treat basis using linear mixed-effects regression models. Results: We included all 121 study participants (intervention/control = 61/60) in the primary analysis (52.1% males; mean ± SD age = 47.8 ± 10.8 years). The difference in systolic blood pressure between the intervention group and the control group was − 7.66 mmHg (95% CI: − 10.4, − 4.93). For diastolic blood pressure, the difference was − 3.86 mmHg (95% CI: − 6.65, − 1.06). No adverse events were reported by the participants. Conclusions: A yoga program for hypertensive patients consisting of a five-day training in health centres and 90 days of practice at home is effective for reducing blood pressure. Significant benefits for hypertensive patients could be expected if such programmes would become a part of the standard treatment practice. Trial registration: This trial was prospectively registered with the Clinical Trial Registry of India [CTRI/2017/02/007822] on 10/02/2017.
- Blood pressure
- Primary care