Friday, 26 May 2017

How Breathing Exercises Help Lower Blood Pressure

Image Credit: gstatic.com

Breathing exercises have been found to impact both your blood pressure and stress, which makes sense considering how closely tied those two conditions are. 

A recent article in University Health News cites several studies showing breathing exercises help lower blood pressure. For example, one 2005 study found taking six deep breaths in 30 seconds (each inhale and exhale lasting five seconds) lowered systolic blood pressure anywhere from 3.4 to 3.9 units, compared to simply resting in a seated position. 

As noted in the article, apps and devices are available that will guide your breathing to help you get down to 10 or fewer breaths per minute. Studies have found using such devices for five minutes, three to four times per week, can help lower blood pressure in patients with hypertension. 

Dr. Konstantin Buteyko, creator of the Buteyko Breathing Method, discovered he could lower his blood pressure simply by bringing his breathing toward normal. In this way, he successfully "cured" his own hypertension. In 1957, he coined the term "disease of deep breathing," having researched the health effects of excessive breathing for over a decade. 

The problem with shallow, rapid breathing is that it activates your sympathetic response, which is involved in releasing cortisol and other stress hormones. Controlled deep breathing, on the other hand, helps trigger your relaxation response as it activates your parasympathetic nervous system, which in turn slows down your heart rate and digestion while promoting a state of calm. 
 
Controlled breathing exercises have also been found to modify stress-coping behaviors and initiate appropriate balance in cardiac autonomic tone, a term that describes your heart’s ability to respond to and recover from stressors.

Article Source: http://articles.mercola.com

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