Have you considered that you can lower your blood pressure by taking it easy?
For your general information, here’s a brief explanation of what blood pressure is and why it matters:
Blood Pressure Basics
Your blood pressure is the force that a surge of blood from the heart exerts on your arteries.
➡ Systolic Pressure (reflected as the top number of your blood pressure reading) measures the pressure in the arteries at the exact moment when the heart contracts and pushes a wave of blood to your arteries.
➡ Diastolic Pressure (reflected as the bottom number of your blood pressure reading) measures the pressure during the brief period of relaxation between beats.
Hypertension is the formal name for high blood pressure.
Blood pressure categories in the new guidelines from the American Heart Association And The American College Of Cardiology are as follows:
• Normal: Less than 120/80 mm Hg;
• Elevated: Systolic between 120-129 and diastolic less than 80;
• Stage 1 Hypertension: Systolic between 130-139 or diastolic between 80-89;
• Stage 2 Hypertension: Systolic at least 140 or diastolic at least 90 mm Hg;
• Hypertensive crisis: Systolic over 180 and/or diastolic over 120.
In the case of hypertensive crisis, patients require prompt changes in medication if there are no other indications of problems.
However, if there are signs of organ damage, Immediate hospitalization is required.
Some people will tell you that the easiest way to lower blood pressure is by popping a pill. It takes just a few seconds and you are finished. But pills cost money and often have side effects.
However, just relaxing your body and your mind for a few minutes a day can lower your systolic blood pressure (the top number of a blood pressure reading) by 10 points or more, without side effects, and for free.
Researchers with the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind-Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital ( which is affiliated with Harvard) have studied and compared a stress management technique called the relaxation response to only providing education about lifestyle changes such as sodium reduction, weight loss, and exercise.
Think of the relaxation response as the opposite of the “fight or flight” mechanism.
Here’s what they found:
Blood pressure decreased more in the relaxation response group.
32% of the volunteers in the relaxation response group were able to eliminate one blood pressure medication and still keep their blood pressure under control, compared with 14% of the lifestyle changes group.
Relaxation proved to be more than twice as effective as only making lifestyle changes.
The relaxation response, developed by Harvard’s Dr. Herbert Benson, has been shown to reduce heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate, and muscle tension. This may be the way to manage your blood pressure without medications.
➡ Choose one word (such as “one” or “peace”), a short phrase, or, if you prefer, a prayer to focus on.
➡ Sit quietly in a comfortable position and close your eyes.
➡ Relax your muscles, progressing from your feet to your calves, thighs, abdomen, and so on, up to your neck and face.
➡ Breathe slowly through your nose, silently saying your focus word, phrase, or prayer to yourself as you exhale.
When other thoughts come to mind, don’t worry. Simply return your attention to your focus word, phrase, or prayer.
• Do this for 10–20 minutes.
• Sit quietly for a minute or so, then open your eyes.
• Practice the relaxation response once or twice a day.
For what it’s worth, consider this: Would you rather take pills to lower your blood pressure?
Or would you prefer to learn how to relax and let your body follow its natural tendency by using your own hormones and neurotransmitters?
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