Hypertension is one of those silent diseases that is increasingly becoming a place in developed countries. In USA it is estimated that there are already 34 million hypertensive patients , although 14% do not know it. The easiest and most common way to lower blood pressure is through drugs.
But these have side effects and the process to find the optimal treatment usually takes a considerable time. That’s why the techniques of corporal and mental relaxation are a good ally . Only a few minutes and used daily can help reduce systolic blood pressure, which indicates the highest number in reading the tension.
A study by the Benson-Henry Institute of Mind-Body Medicine in the Massachusetts General Hospital , affiliated with the Harvard Medical School (United States) has compared a stress management technique called ‘relaxation response’ with education about changes in lifestyle such as sodium reduction (less salt in the meals), weight loss and exercise.
The authors found that blood pressure decreased more in the relaxation response group . In addition, 32% of volunteers in that group were able to eliminate an anti hypertensive medication and keep their blood pressure under control compared to 14% of the lifestyle group.
The relaxation response, developed by Harvard doctor Herbert Benson, has shown reduce the heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate and muscle tension . So they describe the procedure:
- Select to center a word (such as ‘one’ or ‘peace’), a short phrase or a sentence.
- Sit quietly in a comfortable position and close your eyes.
- Relax your muscles, progressively from the feet to the knees, thighs, abdomen and so on to the neck and face.
- Breathe slowly through the nose and silently repeat the word, phrase or prayer to yourself when you exhale.
- When other thoughts come to mind, do not worry, just turn your attention back to your word, phrase or prayer.
- Do this between 10 to 20 minutes.
- Sit quiet for a minute or more and then open your eyes.
- Practice the relaxation response once or twice a day.
Systolic and diastolic Systolic pressure refers to the blood pressure when the heart beats when pumping and the diastolic pressure to the blood pressure when the heart rests between one heartbeat and the next. The normal blood pressure is in the case of systolic less than 120 and less than 80 for diastolic ; in hypertension the values are between 120-139 for the systolic and between 80-89 for the diastolic; When there is hypertension the systolic levels are 140 or above and 90 or more for the diastolic.