The ONE organ responsible for high blood pressure.
Breathing Techniques To Lower Blood Pressure
Slow, deep breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system which decreases the heart rate and dilates blood vessels, reducing your overall blood pressure. As your breathing becomes slower, your brain associates it with a state of relaxation, which causes your body to slow down other functions like digestion.
4-7-8 Breathing Exercise Empty your lungs and inhale through your nose while silently counting to four. Hold your breath to the count of seven. Exhale through your mouth for a count of eight. Repeat this process consecutively three or four times in a row.
HOW IT WORKSThe autonomic system controls all involuntary bodily functions such as heart rate, breathing rate, and other internal organ functions. There are two divisions of this system: the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system is responsible for the “fight or flight” reflex. When this system is activated, the heart rate is increased and blood vessels contract. Digestive actions are decreased and adrenaline is released. The activation of this system is useful when there is a real, physical threat, however, due to many stressors in our daily lives, this system is activated too often. The chronic activation of this system can cause several serious health problems which include: hardening of the arteries, heart attacks, IBS, chronic diarrhea, type 2 diabetes, sexual impotence, and others. The parasympathetic nervous system, on the other hand, is responsible for the “rest and digest” reflex. When this system is activated, the breathing rate decreases. The heart rate also decreases and blood vessels dilate, which allows blood to reach the extremities. Digestive functions return. Slow, deep breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system which decreases the heart rate and dilates blood vessels, reducing your overall blood pressure. As your breathing becomes slower, your brain associates it with a state of relaxation, which causes your body to slow down other functions like digestion. By taking a moment to breathe deeply in a stressful situation, you can train your body to react in a calm manner when facing challenges at work or in your home life. This can improve your overall heart health and help you face problems with a clear head.
BREATHING TECHNIQUESWhen you have a moment, take some time to practice these various breathing techniques to help find the one that’s right for you. Do your best to put your mind at ease and get into a comfortable position before starting. You can always take other small steps like silencing your phone, or using a pillow for additional support to get you into a better place of calm before you begin.
30 SECOND BREATHING EXERCISEAccording to a study of 20,000 Japanese individuals with hypertension and normal blood pressure, people can reduce their systolic blood pressure greatly by taking six deep breaths within a 30 second period.
- Sit still in a quiet place. Close your eyes and relax.
- Set a timer for 30 seconds.
- Take 6 deep breaths.
- Repeat as needed.
EQUAL BREATHING- SAMA VRITTIThis technique focuses on equal breath length.
- Sit or lay down in a quiet space. Make sure you’re completely comfortable. Close your eyes and relax your muscles.
- Inhale through your nose, counting to four.
- Pause briefly after inhaling and allow the air to rest in your lungs.
- Exhale through your nose, counting to four.
- Pause briefly after exhaling to feel the emptiness in your lungs.
- Repeat this exercise for as long as you’d like. Feel free to vary the length of the breaths as you feel comfortable.
DIAPHRAGMATIC BREATHINGThis technique focuses on strengthening the diaphragm and allowing for more efficient breathing. Breathing with your diaphragm brings more oxygen into the body, nourishing the brain and the muscles.
- Lie flat on your back. Use pillows to support your neck and bent knees.
- Place one hand on your chest and place the other hand beneath your rib cage.
- Inhale slowly through your nose. The hand placed under the rib cage should rise, and the hand on your chest should stay still.
- Exhale through pursed lips. The hand placed on the chest should stay still while the hand placed beneath the rib cage falls.
- Continue this exercise as needed.
4-7-8 BREATHING TECHNIQUEIn addition to promoting relaxation and triggering the parasympathetic nervous system, the use of this breathing technique can train your body to regularly breathe more deeply. This is beneficial because it promotes better oxygenation of the body.
- Place the tip of your tongue behind your teeth.
- Inhale through your nose, counting to four.
- Hold this breathe for a count of seven.
- Making a whooshing nose, exhale through your mouth for a count of eight.
- Repeat this sequence three to four more times without resuming normal breathing in between.