Hypertension is one of the most prevalent chronic conditions in our societies today. This is a condition that has no permanent cure, however, by properly taking the prescribed medications and taking care of the triggering factors, one can succeed in keeping his/her high blood pressure within controlled and balanced limits.
There are many symptoms and signs that a person who is suffering from hypertension experiences. All of these signs differ from individual to individual, and so there is a definite need for the affected individual to consult a doctor and get a customized treatment regimen prescribed that best suits his conditions and presenting complaints.
Nonpharmacologic Modalities To Control Blood Pressure
Hypertension is a condition in which the heart is subjected to great stress, and the whole body has to, subsequently, suffer from the effects of this stress.
The pharmacologic treatments prescribed consist of either one or most of the time, a combination of two or more different medicines for controlling the stress that puts the heart in a state of overdrive.
Not everyone responds in the same way to medications as they are expected to, and also, many people show a wide range of side effects arising from the intake of medicines in the long run.
Therefore, people have now started believing in the power of healing from natural and organic ingredients-based remedies and also, by staying fit and practicing a healthy lifestyle. These remedies, even though, show their results after a long time, but are almost free from all side effects, and have no such restrictions as some medicines do.
Breathing exercises are becoming a widely practiced means of lowering blood pressure levels and keeping them within controlled limits. These exercises are simple, easy to learn, and have promising results in the long term.
Deep Breathing Exercise in Hypertension
It may not be an unknown fact to many of you that yoga and meditation mainly focus on relaxing the mind through breathing exercises.
When a person breathes deeply, he is involuntarily diverting all his focus on each inspiration and exhalation of air. This puts his mind in a state of full attentiveness and concentration, thus diverting the person’s energies from all the stress and frustrations in his life, and puts them to rest. As a result, we see the person becoming relaxed and calmed. This is the main purpose behind meditation, to make a person feel as if he or she is problem-free and there is no stress or anxiety present in this life. If we view this from a hypertensive patient’s point of view, then we would conclude that this is very much what these patients need in their life too – a calm and relaxed lifestyle, one that assures that their heart is functioning well as it is supposed to, within the normal limits. There is no extra burden or load on the heart which is causing it to pump more than its capacity, resulting in a hypertensive state of the individual.
Benefits of Deep Breathing
Our way of breathing significantly changes over the years. As children, we have an entirely different way of breathing, which is usually a relaxed and slow one. As we grow older and the stresses in life increase, we tend to breathe shallowly.
Deep, slow breathing assures that all the air that we have inhaled reaches the very bottom of our lungs which expands the rib cage, and allows the lungs to use their full potential of oxygen exchange. This automatically stimulates the body’s relaxation responses by activating the parasympathetic nervous system.
Apart from reducing anxiety, the PNS also works to lower the blood pressure, thus triggering a balanced state of oxygenation on the whole body.
Therefore, this harmless deep breathing exercise is indeed a useful way of controlling one’s blood pressure within normal limits.
1. Kalaivani S, Kumari MJ, Pal GK. Effect of alternate nostril breathing exercise on blood pressure, heart rate, and rate pressure product among patients with hypertension in JIPMER, Puducherry. J Educ Health Promot. 2019;8:145. Published 2019 Jul 29. doi:10.4103/jehp.jehp_32_19
2. Grossman E, Grossman A, Schein MH, Zimlichman R, Gavish B. Breathing-control lowers blood pressure. J Hum Hypertens. 2001;15(4):263-269. doi:10.1038/sj.jhh.1001147