Why Patients with High Blood Pressure Should Practice Meditation
Meditation is an ancient practice from the Buddhist tradition in which an individual tries to focus on peaceful thoughts and relax their mind. Despite the high-stress environment many people live in today, only about 8 percent of Americans take part in some type of meditation.
However, some research points to the fact that stress may impact heart disease, which is a major cause of death worldwide. For example, psycho-social therapies have been found to prevent secondary heart attacks.
“When stress is excessive, it can contribute to everything from high blood pressure, also called hypertension, to asthma to ulcers to irritable bowel syndrome,” explained Ernesto L. Schiffrin, M.D., Ph.D., physician-in-chief at Sir Mortimer B. Davis-Jewish General Hospital.
If a high level of stress leads to hypertension, would stress reduction via meditation help to treat the condition? Keep reading to find out!
American Heart Association Found Meditation May Decrease Blood Pressure
In September 2017, a group of heart disease experts and a neuroscientist from the American Heart Association reviewed past research on several typical types of sitting meditation and their impact on heart disease risk factors including blood pressure.
The researchers looked at the following types of meditation:
- Relaxation Response
- Loving-Kindness (Metta)
- Raja Yoga, Mindful Meditation
- Zen Meditation
- Transcendental Meditation.
The findings show that all of these types of meditation decreased anxiety and stress while improving sleep. The researchers also discovered that meditation may have led to lower blood pressure. However, it is difficult to tell exactly how much it would decrease blood pressure in a particular patient.
Hypertension Expert from Massachusetts General Hospital Prescribes Meditation
Randy Zusman, director of the hypertension program at Massachusetts General Hospital, spent much of his career following the traditional route of writing medication prescriptions for patients with high blood pressure.
However, after taking part in a three-month study, he began prescribing meditation to his patients as well as recommending lifestyle changes.
In this study, patients treated for high blood pressure with medication were also enrolled in a relaxation response training program. These particular patients were taking medicine and following recommendations prior to the study, but their blood pressure was still sky high.
The results from the study showed that around 40 out of 60 patients taking part in the meditation program had reduced blood pressure levels and were able to change the dosage of some of their medications.
Once again, research showed that meditation and relaxation programs do result in lower blood pressure.
Stress Management and Meditation
Researchers from the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Kent State University, and Rice University published a paper in which they discussed how stress-management therapies have been found to successfully reduce blood pressure levels.
Despite this, stress-management treatments have not been widely implemented in the medical field partially due to the lack of healthcare experts who can provide stress management education to patients with high blood pressure.
This is where meditation comes in.
Meditation can be practiced independently and may not have the same mental health stigma associated with stress management techniques. Transcendental meditation is one type that has been widely studied as a type of therapy for high blood pressure.
One study discussed in the paper found that both men and women who underwent transcendental meditation gained significant reductions in blood pressure levels after three months.
Why Meditation is Worthwhile
These are just a few reputable sources that agree that meditation can lower blood pressure levels among many individuals.
But why would you take part in meditation when your doctor only told you to take your medicine?
If you are able to reduce your blood pressure through meditation and other home remedies, you may eventually require a lower dosage or even be able to stop taking medication altogether, depending on your doctor’s advice.
Why would you prefer to stop taking medication?
There are many side effects that blood pressure medication brings. You may feel dizzy, drowsy, tired, or nauseous. Other side effects include increased sensitivity to the cold, headaches and weight changes.
Another negative aspect of taking blood pressure medication is the prohibitive cost and once you add visits with a cardiologist and medical tests, the price grows much too high.
As such, taking part in meditation to reduce your blood pressure is a much simpler measure. All you’ll need to do is look up a video online describing a form of meditation or possibly take a meditation class at your local YMCA.
Then you can find yourself a quiet space, meditate, and watch your blood pressure drop.
About the author :
Trysh Sutton is a wife, mother, attorney, interior decorator, strategic leader and teacher. She runs a website called Pure Path Essential Oils, a naturopathic wellness company that promotes healthy living and healing through the use of essential oils and sustainable living.