Hypertension is a common disease that affects more than 40% of the U.S. population and more than one billion of the world’s population. Hypertension is responsible for millions of deaths every year. Unfortunately, it is a problem that might not show symptoms until it has evolved into something more serious, causing life-threatening issues.
If you suffer from hypertension, antihypertensive medicine can help you reduce your blood pressure. However, many people report unpleasant side effects like headaches, dry mouth, drowsiness, and insomnia, among others. The cost can also become elevated over time. Due to these issues, people often search for other solutions apart from taking pharmaceuticals.
Holistic Medicine is a great choice because it looks for the root of the problem while also understanding that there is a connection between your body, mind, and spirit that needs balance to function adequately. It offers different alternatives to conventional medicine that are inexpensive, have no side effects, and that aid in lowering blood pressure.
Ayurveda and Nutrition
Nutrition is a crucial point to consider when treating and preventing hypertension. Some of the causes of hypertension are the elevated consumption of sodium and the lack of potassium in our diet. Part of the program to lower high blood pressure is to consider changing the diet to one that includes more vegetables and less processed food. Ayurveda, a holistic medicine from thousands of years ago, focuses on the prevention and treatment of health problems by promoting a good diet. Its main principle is that every disease can be prevented by balancing the body with the correct diet.
To do this, Ayurveda takes into account our family history, our mental health, our bodily functions, and other external factors like the toxins in the place we live. Ingesting antihypertensive medicine can elevate our toxins over time, as it happens in the case of many other pharmaceuticals. Ayurveda also considers the levels of toxins in the body when assigning a diet.
Ayurveda also works through Herbology. Sesame oil, for example, has been approved as a natural remedy to reduce blood pressure. A study published at the American Heart Association showed how by using sesame oil when preparing meals, one can lower blood pressure levels significantly. Radishes and tomatoes have also been studied, with positive results about their antihypertensive properties. Ayurveda takes these properties into account when making a diagnosis and assigning a diet.
Meditation and Stress
Stress is a huge factor that increases blood pressure. Unfortunately, with our chaotic lifestyles that require us to work several hours a week, drive around traffic, and manage our finances, it is not surprising to say that we live in a stressed society. Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to manage stress. The fastest solution is to use pharmaceuticals to control stress. Nonetheless, natural practices exist to manage stress and feel a sense of calmness. Practices like meditation, mindfulness, and sound bathing are great to lower stress levels and manage high blood pressure.
The topic of using meditation to treat hypertension has been around for a while, with many wondering if it is a valid treatment. Several studies have been created to see the potential of meditation to lower blood pressure levels. A study published in the American Journal of Hypertension explored the credibility of other studies that used Transcendental Meditation as a tool to lower blood pressure levels. It compared the results of nine articles, in which eight of them reported that their participants experienced lower levels of systolic blood pressure.
Another study where 121 teenage African Americans participated, showed that breathing techniques used in meditation can significantly help lower blood pressure. The study divided the teenagers into three groups, where the first took Breathness Aware Meditation, the second life skills training, and the third health education. Only the group that underwent the meditation program experienced lower blood pressure levels in 24 hours. They also had significantly lower levels of systolic and diastolic blood pressure compared to the other groups.
Dr. Randall Zusman, director at the department of hypertension at Massachusetts General Hospital, made a study where some of his patients participated in a meditation program to see if there is potential in meditation as an alternative to medicine to reduce blood pressure levels. Sixty patients participated, and 75% of those who tried meditation had lowered their blood pressure levels and, in consequence, required less medication. He explains that when we can relax, a compound known as nitric oxide forms in bigger quantities and helps blood vessels to open, facilitating the movement of blood in our body.
Meditation is a practice that has been around for thousands of years. It has also become a popular practice lately, mostly due to its calming effects and its power to reduce anxiety, stress, and other mental health problems. Although there is evidence that meditation assists in reducing systolic and diastolic blood pressure, the conclusion is that meditation is helpful
because it reduces stress levels and helps the body relax.
Yoga and Physical Activity
Not practicing any form of physical activity increases the risk of suffering hypertension. Similarly, a lack of physical activity increases the chance of being overweight, which leads to higher chances of having high blood pressure. The more your heart needs to pump blood to your body, the more pressure on your arteries increases. If you suffer from hypertension, your doctor will tell you how important it is to be physically active. Holistic medicine offers several practices that not only help the mind to be at peace but also keep the body active through gentle movements.
Among these are yoga, tai-chi, and qi gong. Yoga is a gentle practice aimed at people of different ages and physical conditions. It combines movement, breathing techniques, and meditation to achieve a connection between body, mind, and spirit. It is even said that yoga can cure anything. Because of this statement, some doctors have wondered if yoga can be used as a treatment for hypertension. Professor Shamita Misra, from the department of medicine at the University of Missouri, made a study in which a group of people with high blood pressure participated. The group was divided into three.
The first group attended a yoga session with professor Misra and practiced breathing techniques for 15 minutes five times a week. The second followed a DVD, and similarly to the first group had to follow instructions for 15 minutes five days a week. The third group did not do yoga and continued with their regular prescriptions. At the end of the experiment, those who did the breathing exercises at the yoga session and with the DVD decreased their blood pressure levels significantly. Although the study showed promising results, it only focused on the breathing side of yoga. However, another study that incorporated the three elements of yoga -movement, breathing, and meditation- demonstrated that those who practiced all three could lower their blood levels in substantial amounts.
There are many causes for suffering from hypertension, ranging from genetic influence to dietary choices. Fortunately, there are a couple of natural options one can do to reduce the chances of getting it, including having a balanced diet, incorporating physical activity into our daily life, and following relaxation techniques to reduce stress. Holistic medicine offers a variety of options to choose from that are backed up by scientific research as well as by those who have tried it and have felt the benefits.
Remember that the basis of holistic medicine is to prevent rather than to treat, so it is always better to start making the right choices earlier and have control of your health.
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