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The Mind/Body Link in Essential Hypertension: Time for a New Paradigm

NEW YORK (Mar 20, 2000)

In a recent journal article, "The Mind/Body Link in Essential Hypertension: Time for a New Paradigm," Dr. Samuel Mann, of New York Weill Cornell Medical Center, posits a new paradigm to explain the widely held but largely unsubstantiated belief that there is a relationship between sustained hypertension and perceived emotional distress/stress. In this intriguing, new paradigm, Dr. Mann, an associate professor of clinical medicine and a hypertension specialist, focuses on the role of emotions that are not consciously perceived and suggests that the mind/body connection is often operative when we least suspect it. Dr. Mann bases this view on published studies as well as actual case histories of his patients.

An abstract of his latest article, published in the March 2000 issue of Alternative Therapies, follows:

The origin of essential hypertension is believed by many to be at least partially emotion-related. A widely held paradigm is that perceived emotional distress raises blood pressure and leads eventually to sustained hypertension. However, decades of research have not provided strong or consistent support for this view. The purpose of this article is to briefly review this research, and to present a very different view of the mind-body link of hypertension. This view focuses on the role of emotions that are not consciously perceived, emotions that are unknowingly kept from conscious awareness, and largely ignored by patients, physicians, and research. It suggests that the mind/body connection is often operative when we least suspect it. The evidence for this understanding, and the important implications regarding treatment of hypertension and other unexplained medical conditions with a suspected mind/body link, are discussed.

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