Yoga for High Blood Pressure
Written by Dr. Minakshi Welukar.
You can now manage your high blood pressure effectively and economically without any side effects. The practice of yoga is a scientifically proved effective complementary treatment modality in controlling high blood pressure. You'll not only feel better, but look better too.
High blood pressure, medically termed as hypertension, is well known for its ill effects on body health. It is a leading risk factor in the development of diseases and health conditions including heart disease, heart attacks and stroke. As stress is one of the reasons for hypertension, yoga and meditation are effective remedies to normalize the elevated blood pressure. The relaxing power of yoga has a wonderful impact in stabilizing your mood and reducing stress severity and thereby maintaining blood pressure within a normal range.
The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute define blood pressure as a force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood. Blood pressure is measured as systolic and diastolic pressures. Systolic blood pressure is termed when the heart beats while pumping blood, whereas diastolic is when the heart is at rest between beats. 120 mm of Hg as systolic and 80 mm of Hg as diastolic are considered the normal level of blood pressure. Researchers have shown that yoga has a significant role in reducing both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Yoga in Normalizing High Blood Pressure
Family history, excess weight, unhealthy lifestyle and long-lasting stress are some of the reasons for the rising of blood pressure. When blood pressure increases due to any reason and remains high for a prolonged period, it becomes a risk factor for heart diseases, stroke and kidney failure. The calming effect of yoga and meditation improves both emotional and physical health. Such relaxation and calmness of the body can help cope with stress and subsequently with hypertension.
Mayo Clinic reported that stress reducing activities can lead to behavior changes that are associated with reduction in high blood pressure. Yoga and meditation strengthen and relax your body as well as lower your systolic blood pressure by 5mm of Hg or more.
An integrative review published in the Journal of Holistic Nursing Practices emphasizes that yoga as an effective non-drug therapy in the management of high blood pressure. As yoga practices physical and mental exercises treat the whole individual and not just the disease. Yoga modulates the physiological system of your body with special effects on your heart rate. It not only controls high blood pressure but is effective in lowering other risk parameters such as blood sugar level, cholesterol and body weight. Hence yoga is a good player in keeping the risk factors away.
Sudarshan Kriya yoga - Good for Mild Hypertension
Sudarshan Kriya yoga has a good impact on some physiological and biochemical parameters in those suffering from mild hypertension, reported on a Pubmed study.
Sudarshan Kriya practices unique rhythms of breathing that harmonize the body, mind and emotions. Such peculiar breathing technique helps to eliminate stress, fatigue, and negative thoughts and cleanses the body of accumulated stress.
Regular practice of Sudarshan Kriya lowers the diastolic blood pressure. It helps to reduce serum urea, a kidney function marker and plasma malondialdehyde adducts, a marker for oxidative stress in mild hypertensive person.
Along with regular yoga exercises, reduction of salt intake, healthy eating and sleeping well are some other non-drug therapies that are useful in reducing high blood pressure.
You must consult your doctor before selecting yoga poses for reducing hypertension. Your doctor can guide you best about poses and meditation exercises suitable for your health.
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