Hypertension (heightened blood pressure) is so common medical condition that more than 50 millions of Americans suffer from this condition. Having a high blood pressure may be a condition that you are genetically predisposed to have, but your lifestyle and health contribute a lot. Excess weight, smoking, overuse of alcohol and a sedentary lifestyle are identified as factors which can lead to development of hypertension. Although the symptoms might be hard to recognize and sometimes can be even unnoticeable, this problem may affect your heart, kidneys and immune system and provoke many cardiovascular conditions. This condition is sometimes even known as the “silent killer”, because if left untreated it can seriously affect your life and cause fatal consequences.
How Breathing Affects Blood Pressure
Doctors usually prescribe medications to people suffering from high blood pressure, but for many hypertension patients deep breathing techniques and relaxation techniques might be very beneficial. Paced respiration or diaphragmatic breathing (breathing which involves diaphragm) is scientifically proven to lower the blood pressure. Harvard Medical School research has established that this type of breathing is able to maximize the oxygen coming from the lungs to the blood and its effects, as well as the benefits of the carbon dioxide going out. As the result of the diaphragmatic breathing, patients practicing this breathing techniques experience slower heartbeat and also lower or stabilized blood pressure. Any calm and routine activity, such as meditation, guided imagery, tai chi or yoga can help you learn breathing properly and lower your blood pressure.
Stretching and breathing in yoga positions is very beneficial for people suffering from high blood pressure. These positions (or asanas, as they are called) and basic breathing techniques can help you to decrease the blood pressure. Practice regularly and engage fully in these positions and you will experience benefits very soon.
Ujjayi Pranayama is one of the yoga breathing techniques which can lower or raise your blood pressure. Soft ujjayi pranayama is recommended for those who wish to lower their blood pressure, but make sure you are practicing with an experienced yoga teacher to avoid any potential problem that may occur.
Meditation and Guided Imagery Techniques
Learning how to meditate can also positively affect your high blood pressure. Mediation is known to decrease the stress level and disorders that might be a byproduct of such state, including hypertension. Even people recovering from various cancers or suffering from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) are advised to learn how to meditate.
Guided imagery is yet another useful technique, usually combined with deep breathing, when people visualize calm and pleasant places. This technique is also considered as very helpful for relaxation and decrease of heightened blood pressure.