A study published in March 2008 in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine and conducted by Jeffery A. Dusek, et al., involved 122 patients over fifty-five years old who were taking two or more medications to lower their blood pressure. The test was to evaluate lifestyle modification versus relaxation response techniques in relation to systolic blood pressure, which is particularly difficult to lower. (Systolic blood pressure is the first number used to determine your blood pressure and a resting value is usually around 120 mmHG. The diastolic value is the second number and is usually 80 mmHg. So, a normal blood pressure might read 120/80 mmHg.)
For eight weeks, half of the patients (sixty-one persons) practiced relaxation response techniques twice a day for twenty minutes a day. The other half (sixty-one persons) received lifestyle modification instructions through health counseling. The results showed those people who praticed relaxation techniques not only lowered their blood pressure but also were 4.3 times more likely to eliminate at least one of their medications versus those who practiced lifestyle modification.
If you want to lower your blood pressure, here’s what you need to do achieve the same relaxation benefits:
- Find a quiet spot and get comfortable.
- Close your eyes.
- Relax your body beginning at your toes and working up to the top of your head. The best way to accomplish this is to squeeze your toes tight and then release, squeeze legs tight and then release. Continue squeezing and releasing the parts of your body until you reach your eyes.
- Breath slowly and focus on a single word, mantra, or sound. So, for instance, you could use the word “love” when you breathe in and out, or you could use the mantra “I am relaxed,” or the sound “hummmm.” As you repeat the word, mantra, or sound, exhale slowly and inhale slowly.
Remember there’s no right or wrong way to relax. Just use the tightening and relaxing technique to help and then focus on your word, mantra, or sound. Practice this relaxation technique for up to twenty minutes twice a day, and see if your blood pressure doesn’t lower.