• Tue. Feb 27th, 2024

Mind Matters: How Meditation Can Lower Your Blood Pressure

Mind Matters: How Meditation Can Lower Your Blood Pressure

Meditation and its many health benefits have been known for millennia, but a new study explains how using just your mind can help people lower their blood pressure.

Meditation and its many health benefits have been known for millennia, but a new study explains how using just your mind can help people lower their blood pressure.

About half of American adults have hypertension, or high blood pressure — a condition that doubles a person’s risk of having a stroke. Pharmaceutical and physical solutions can lower blood pressure, but 10 to 20 minutes of meditation can, says Dr. Herbert Benson says.

According to Benson, meditation, which calms the mind, can trigger a “relaxation response” that causes blood pressure to drop, while stress can trigger a “fight-or-flight response” that causes blood pressure to rise.

Studies have shown that silencing brain activity can increase levels of nitric oxide, a molecule that relaxes and dilates blood vessels in the body.

But meditation is not easy for many people because thoughts are constantly running through the mind.

Benson suggests setting aside two 10- to 20-minute breaks a day to step away from transcendental and mindfulness meditation practices. During that time, sit with your eyes closed, relax your muscles, and silently repeat a word, phrase, or sound over and over.

Also, if a wrong thought comes up (which it surely will), let the thought come, let it go, and return to your word, style, or voice, Benson said.

Studies show that meditation is not a complete cure for hypertension, but one of several tools that can help lower one’s blood pressure.

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