Breathing exercises lower blood pressure.




J Hum Hypertens

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Consumer Data: Hypertension
Professional Data: Hypertension


The medical name for high blood pressure is hypertension. High blood pressure is created when the heart beats, propelling blood throughout the body. Blood pressure occurs in two distinct phases, corresponding to the contraction and relaxation of the heart muscle. When the heart contracts, it ejects a certain volume of blood out from its right side into the body's largest artery, the aorta. This initial thrust causes "systolic" blood pressure, which is the upper number of your blood pressure reading. As the heart relaxes, the blood presses against the walls of the arteries as it circulates, causing "disastolic" blood pressure, which is the lower number in your reading. Systolic blood pressure is a measure of the heart's blood output, while diastolic is determined by the resistance of arteries in the extremities to the flow of blood.

Blood pressure lowering medications, called "antihypertensives" include diuretics, ACE inhibitors, beta blockers, among others. Also recommended are diet and lifestyle changes to help bring your blood pressure under control. Researchers are always looking for new treatments in balancing high blood pressure. A recent study examined the role of controlled slow, controlled breathing exercises in lowering blood pressure.

Researchers used a new therapy called BIM (Breather with Interactive Music) to guide breathing in hypertensive patients. The study included 23 men and 10 women ages 25 to 75 years old, all sufferers of uncontrolled blood pressure (BP). Patients were randomised with either the BIM or with a walkman as a control 10 minutes a day for 8 weeks. The two groups were matched for age, sex, initial BP, body mass index, and medication use. With an Ormon IC BP monitor, BP and heart rate were measured. The levels were taken at baseline, 4weeks, and 8 weeks, and BP levels were taken at home morning and evening everyday during the study. The outcome showed that 56% were responders to the BIM therapy, compared to the 14% who used only the walkman. The authors concluded that this type of non-pharmacological treatment for 10 minutes a day was effective in lowering blood pressure.1


1. Grossman E, et al. Breathing-control lowers blood pressure. J Hum Hypertens. 2001 Apr;15(4):263-9.