meditation to lower blood pressure

The benefits of meditation for high blood pressure have been scientifically proven time and again. Research shows you can use meditation to lower blood pressure naturally.

By taking just twenty minutes a day to meditate, you will lower blood pressure and lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. And the effects are even better when you combine meditative techniques with yoga for heart health.

As a mindfulness instructor, lots of people ask me how to use meditation to lower blood pressure naturally. And the good news is that no matter the cause of your problem, mindfulness can certainly be beneficial.

The most common causes of high blood pressure are:

The majority of these problems can be helped with meditation, which we can use to improve diet, stop smoking, and stop drinking.

But the main reason why meditation lowers blood pressure is that it stops stress [READ: Using Meditation To Reduce Stress].

When you use meditation to lower blood pressure, you reduce the impact of stress

It’s hard not to get stressed today.

What with rent or mortgage, work, and the constant sense of competition. It’s as though modern society has been specifically created to make us stressed. And of course, stress is extremely detrimental to our health, so much so that the American Psychological Association links stress to six of the leading killers [2].  Stress leads to so many health complications: hypertension, depression, anxiety, obesity, diabetes, and of course, high blood pressure.

Stress a leading cause of high blood pressure [3], even though according to Mayo Clinic, there is no scientific proof linking stress to long-term high blood pressure. Indeed, many authorities state that the reason for the link between high blood pressure and stress is indirect—stress leads us to live unhealthy lifestyles that impact blood pressure.

This, however, is also why it is so imperative to use meditation to lower blood pressure. Not only does mindfulness directly benefit heart health, it also heightens consciousness, which enables us to live a healthier lifestyle.

The Best Meditation To Lower Blood Pressure Naturally

yoga meditation and blood pressure systolic
yoga meditation and blood pressure systolic

Science shows that the best types of meditation to lower blood pressure are mindfulness, MBSR, Yoga, tai chi, and meditation, which also helps to manage the painful symptoms of hypertension.

One of the most popular and most scientifically-backed practices is mindfulness.

The Psychosomatic Medicine: Journal of Biobehavioral Medicine published an article in October that highlighted how mindfulness-based-stress-reduction helps with blood pressure. [4]

Joel W Hughes PhD of Kent State University says, “Our results provide evidence that MBSR,  [Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction] when added to lifestyle modification advice, may be an appropriate complementary treatment for BP in the prehypertensive range.”

In the study, 56 men and women diagnosed with prehypertension—blood pressure which is higher than usual but for which no antihypertensive drugs have yet been prescribed—were divided into two groups. One group practised Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction to lower blood pressure, practising for 2.5 hours a week. The other group used a muscle-relaxation technique and lifestyle changes. Researchers then took the blood pressures of members of each group. The results showed that those participants who had practised the meditation lowered blood pressure significantly, by an average of nearly 5 millimetres of mercury (mm Hg), compared to less than 1 mm Hg in the control group).

Mindful Breathing To Balance Blood Pressure

New research from Yale University suggests that the best meditation to lower blood pressure is mindful breathing with paced breathing.

We usually breathe at a rate of around 12 to 14 breaths per minute. Slowing this down to a pace of five to seven breaths per minutes may help balance blood pressure, according to Yale.

“One of the most plausible mechanisms is that paced breathing stimulates the vagus nerve and parasympathetic nervous system, which reduce stress chemicals in the brain and increase vascular relaxation that may lead to lowering of blood pressure,” says Suzanne LeBlang, M.D., a neuroradiologist, second and corresponding author, and an affiliate associate professor in FAU’s Schmidt College of Medicine

Another study [Pramanik et al., 2009] revealed that slow-paced bhastrika pranayama breathing balances blood pressure and that a respiratory rate of six breath per minute for five minutes can significantly decrease systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

More Meditations For High Blood Pressure

As well as using mindfulness-based stress reduction, there are other meditations to lower blood pressure naturally.

“It’s important to find an approach that you feel comfortable with,” says Dr Stein. “Maybe it’s just listening to your favourite music while you walk at a moderate pace.”

Personally, I find one of the best meditations to lower blood pressure is Zen Walking

Speaking of walking, another fantastic meditation technique for high blood pressure is Zen Walking.

Walking is one of the best ways to have a healthy heart.

Research conducted by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory shows that walking is as effective as running at lowering your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. [5]

I attempted to find specific research into the effects of Zen walking meditation, as opposed to simply walking and meditation (as separate activities). However, it seems that science has yet to investigate this type of meditation for high blood pressure.

However, given that we have proof that both meditation and walking are, individually, excellent techniques for balancing blood pressure, it seems only logical that Zen Walking Meditation, a technique combines the two activities, should be perfect.

As well as walking meditation, there are alternative movement-meditation for high blood pressure.

Qigong, Tai Chi And Falun Gong Meditation   

elderly woman doing tai chi in garden
elderly woman doing tai chi in garden

Many movement-based stress reduction techniques are also fantastic ways of lowering blood pressure. These are great if you prefer to use a gentle active meditation to lower blood pressure.

Much scientific research has advocated the use of Tai Chi, for instance. And QiGong is a similar practice, as is Yoga. And there are interesting developments relating to the use of Falun Gong meditation.

Dr Stein’s research certainly highlights the benefits of meditation for lowering blood pressure naturally. Stein does point out, however, that it is essential not to use meditation as a replacement to your other lifestyle considerations, but as an addition.

“Meditation should be an adjunct to prescribed medications and dietary and exercise programs, not a replacement,” Dr Stein said.

What’s most important about using meditation for high blood pressure is that you find a technique that works for you.

Finding your best meditation for lowering blood pressure

The key is to find the best meditation technique for you personally. This is something of a blessing and a curse because there are many different types of meditation.

Over my time as a meditation teacher I’ve used Hindu meditations, Buddhist meditations, Christian meditations, non-religious meditations, mindfulness-based stress reduction, Zen, breathing meditations, mantras… it goes on.

Finding the perfect meditation technique for you is a matter or experimentation. Ideally, you are looking to find a technique that you enjoy and that relaxes you. The enjoyment is important because you will be more likely to maintain a meditative practice if you enjoy it.

That’s why I wrote my new book Your Best Medtation. In the book I provide easy-to-follow guidance to every meditation meditation technique. Let me help you find the perfect meditation technique for you. Read my new book today.

The Easy Meditation To Lower Blood Pressure Naturally

Beginners will find it best to practice a very simple form of meditation to lower blood pressure naturally. After all, with hypertension, you certainly don’t need the additional stress of worrying whether you’re meditating correctly or not.

Let me show you a meditation script for blood pressure that I personally use.

  1. Sit somewhere comfortable and relaxing
  2. Check you are sitting with good posture and that your body feels comfortable
  3. Close your eyes
  4. Focus your mind on your breathing. Specifically, focus on your breath as it enters your nose and mouth
  5. Follow your breath with your mind as it descends deeply into your lungs.
  6. Now breathe out, again following the breath
  7. Continue in this fashion for 108 breaths. You should notice that your breathing is deep and relaxed, and you should feel increasingly calm.
  8. After 108 breaths, open your eyes and stay still for a moment, relaxing.

This is a very simple meditation to lower blood pressure naturally. Its simplicity is its beauty. It is twenty minutes or so in which you can just sit and unwind, giving your body a chance to heal.

I hope you found this guide and the corresponding meditation helpful.

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UPDATES: 

June 2020: American Journal of Cardiology publishes report showing benefits of meditation for cardiovascular health .source

SOURCES:

1: High blood pressure (hypertension), Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/symptoms-causes/syc-20373410

2: Life Event, Stress and Illness, Mohd. Razali Salleh, Department of Psychiatry, School of Medical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3341916/

3: 7 ways to reduce stress and keep blood pressure down, Harvard Health Publishing, https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/7-ways-to-reduce-stress-and-keep-blood-pressure-down

4: KENT STATE RESEARCH FINDS MEDITATION EFFECTIVE IN REDUCING BLOOD PRESSURE KentDepartment Of Psychological Sciences, https://www.kent.edu/psychology/kent-state-research-finds-meditation-effective-reducing-blood-pressure

5: Walking and running produce similar reductions in cause-specific disease mortality in hypertensives, Paul T. Williams, PhD. Life Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4090350/

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