Did you know that estimates from a recent study from Harvard University show that nearly 950 million people worldwide struggle with high blood pressure and the negative consequences that come along with it? The number varies from country to country but in America, it’s somewhere between 20 and 30 percent of the population. In some countries, as much as 50% of the population struggles with high blood pressure. If you’re one of those individuals, you might want to try doing this exercise consistently to help manage your blood pressure.
The Benefits of Breathing Exercises on Blood Pressure
The parasympathetic nervous system is controlled by something called the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve basically controls everything from the neck down. It controls most of the processes that we don’t have to think about. It controls heartbeat, heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, and digestion. Having more control of your vagus nerve can help you take more control over reducing your blood pressure, anxiety, asthma symptoms etc. Deep breathing exercises are actually one way of doing this.
Deep breathing exercises can actually help you take hold of your vagus nerve and help with issues like high blood pressure, asthma, anxiety, diabetes, stress, and help improve your overall health and wellbeing.
A study done at the Julliard School of Music showed that musicians who implemented deep breathing exercises for 10-15 minutes a day had reduced stress and sympathetic nervous activity than another group who didn’t practice deep breathing exercises. They had lower blood pressure, incidences of asthma, and reduced abdominal pains and anxiety. They were also more calm, confident, and generally performed better. The musicians who practiced deep breathing exercises had more hold over their vagus nerve than those who did not.
Another research study done on a group of Zen practitioners showed that there were changes in blood pressure, heart rate, asthma, abdominal pain, proinflammatory cytokines and chemicals throughout the body and mental focus for 24 hours after just a 10 – 15 minute episode of deep breathing exercises. And when they continued this every day for a week, two weeks, a month, and two months, those effects compounded. They showed that the effects lasted not for just 24 hours, but 36 to 72 hours. Additionally, blood pressure, heart rate, asthma symptoms, abdominal pain, and proinflammatory cytokines all improved.
There are three important muscle groups that control respiration:
- Diaphragm: This is a big important muscle that is domed underneath the rib cage. Most of us do not utilize this muscle.
- Intercostal muscles: These are small muscles between the ribs. Some of us use these muscles.
- Scalene muscles: Most of us only use this third group of muscles which basically lifts the rib cage up to the head and neck area.
If you exercise the diaphragm through deep breathing exercises and then expand the chest out using those intercostal muscles and then rise the chest up towards the neck and the head, you can strengthen those muscles so that unconsciously when you’re not thinking about it, they’re stronger and bringing in more breath for you with every inhale.
10 and 8 Breathing Technique
If you’re thinking about trying some deep breathing techniques, here’s an easy one to get you started. All you need to do is practice this for 10-15 minutes a day to grab hold of that unconscious vagus nerve effect.
- Inhale for about 10 seconds.
- Hold for 1-2 seconds.
- Then, slowly exhale for 8 seconds.
If you are one of those individuals that struggles with high blood pressure, implementing this breathing exercise every day can make a significant impact in your blood pressure. You don’t have to spend money at a gym to do this and all you need is 10 to 15 minutes a day. It just needs to be done and performed consistently, and it can make significant reductions to your blood pressure and help with a number of other health conditions. We’ve also developed a supplement called BP Zone, which can also reduce significantly your blood pressure.
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