The simple practice that lowered blood pressure by 15 points

I tend to watch my heart health pretty closely as cardiovascular disease runs in my family. In fact, both of my parents live with the disease and my father has already had one open-heart surgery.

That’s why when the last few times I went to the doctor and they got a high blood pressure reading, I was especially concerned and immediately started looking at ways to bring it back to a healthier range, without letting them put me on medications.

After all, while I want to avoid high blood pressure and heart disease, I certainly don’t want to end up with the side effects that come with those medicines, like dizziness, headaches, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, and sexual dysfunction.

Not to mention the recent recalls regarding carcinogens hiding in blood pressure meds or the scary connection between those meds and pancreatic cancer.

So, when I came across a study that discovered a simple, natural way that lowered blood pressure by an average of 15 points, I was intrigued…

A focus on the inside

The study, conducted by researchers from Brown University, focused on what they called the Mindfulness-Based Blood Pressure Reduction (MB-BP) program.

Basically, it was a way to teach participants to be more self-aware as a way to lower their blood pressure.

And, guess what…

According to the experts, it looks like it worked!

After undergoing mindfulness training for nine weeks, the people in the program not only showed improvements in self-regulation, they also benefitted from much lower blood pressure — a mean 15.1-mmHg reduction in blood pressure at their one-year follow-up appointment.

If that weren’t’ enough, the researchers found that after becoming more mindful, the participants were also more likely to adhere to the American Heart Association’s guidelines for salt and alcohol intake and physical activity.

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That’s right, a little bit of mindfulness could make it easier to tackle those lifestyle changes that lead to lower blood pressure!

“We know enough about hypertension that we can theoretically control it in everybody — yet in about half of all people diagnosed, it is still out of control,” Eric Loucks, an associate professor of epidemiology, behavioral and social sciences, and medicine at Brown University. “Mindfulness may represent another approach to helping these people bring their blood pressure down, by allowing them to understand what’s happening in their minds and bodies.”

And, according to Loucks, if you’re not already suffering from high blood pressure, practicing mindfulness could be an effective preventative tool.

Making mindfulness easy

Now, I know that mindfulness isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.

In fact, many people are immediately turned off by the idea because they picture themselves having to spend long sessions meditating.

But, that’s not necessarily the case.

If you enjoy meditation, great. However, mindfulness can be simple to incorporate into your daily life and quick too.

Here are a few ways I’m practicing mindfulness that could work for you:

  • As you brush your teeth, focus on breathing slowly in and out and listen to your heartbeat. Are you able to slow it down?
  • When you wash dishes, allow your body to relax as the warm water rushes over your hands.
  • When you get into bed at night, spend a few minutes with your eyes closed where you can simply savor the feel of your body relaxing into the mattress and practice relaxing your muscles starting at your neck and ending at your toes.

Remember, mindfulness doesn’t have to mean big changes — but instead, simply listening more to your body and living each moment more fully.

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Sources:

  1. Mindfulness training may help lower blood pressure, new study shows — EurekAlert!

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Dr. Adria Schmedthorst

By Dr. Adria Schmedthorst

Dr. Adria Schmedthorst is a board-certified Doctor of Chiropractic, with more than 20 years of experience. She has dedicated herself to helping others enjoy life at every age through the use of alternative medicine and natural wellness options. Dr. Schmedthorst enjoys sharing her knowledge with the alternative healthcare community, providing solutions for men and women who are ready to take control of their health the natural way.