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Relax And Control Your High Blood Pressure

Doctor measuring blood pressure - studio shot on white background

According to a recent study, 1 in 3 adults complain from their high blood pressure in the US.

You may think that the easiest way to lower blood pressure is by taking a pill. It takes just a few seconds and you are finished. But pills cost money and often have side effects. Fully relaxing your body and your mind for a few minutes a day could lower your systolic blood pressure (the top number of a blood pressure reading) by 10 points or more—at no cost, and with no side effects.

Stress is known as one of the reasons that could lead to high blood pressure. Researchers with the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind-Body Medicine at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital compared a stress management technique called the relaxation response with education about lifestyle changes such as sodium reduction, weight loss, and exercise. They found:

 

 

The relaxation response, developed by Harvard’s Dr. Herbert Benson, has been shown to reduce heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate, and muscle tension. Here’s how to do it:

 

 

Blood pressure basics

Blood pressure is the force that a wave of blood propelled from the heart exerts on the arteries. It is measured at two points; each measurement is recorded in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg).

Systolic pressure gauges the pressure in the arteries at systole (SIS-tuh-lee), the instant when the heart contracts and pushes a wave of blood along the arterial tree (think “s” for squeeze). It is the top number of a blood pressure reading.

Diastolic pressure reflects the pressure during diastole (die-AS-tuh-lee), the brief period of relaxation between beats. It is the bottom number of a blood pressure reading.

Hypertension is the formal name for high blood pressure.

Blood pressure categories
Systolic Diastolic
Normal (optimal) less than 120 and less than 80
Prehypertension 120 – 139 or 80 – 89
Hypertension 140 or higher or 90 or higher