There are quite a few great ways to lower your blood pressure fast in the comfort of your home. However, these methods are not a substitute for drugs or other lifestyle changes that will help lower your blood pressure. If your blood pressure spikes often, make sure that you consult your doctor.
The “Relaxation Response”
Deep breathing had been used for thousands of years in yoga and other meditation practices in cultures around the world.
Since the 1970s, Dr. Herbert Benson, Director Emeritus of the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind-Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, devoted his career to researching deep breathing as a therapy. He described it as the “relaxation response.” He designed a mix of methods that promote the relaxation response, which includes deep abdominal breathing, staying focused on a soothing word (i.e. “calm”), visualization of relaxing scenes, prayer, tai chi, and yoga. Dr. Benson was also looking at ways to measure how well his therapy worked.
He looked at the effects of relaxation response on heart health and high blood pressure in a randomized and double-blind trial. The treatment group received a relaxation response, and the placebo group received only info about blood pressure control. A bit more than half of the people in the treatment group experienced a decrease in systolic blood pressure (SBP) of five mmHg or more.
In the next phase of the study, another half of the people were able to scrap at least one prescription drug. They had vastly better results in comparison with the placebo group.
Deep breathing is one of the methods used by Dr. Benson for his relaxation response program. It works really fast to lower blood pressure and relaxes your mind.
Stress is a key trigger of spikes in blood pressure levels. Stress increases the release of epinephrine, revving up the sympathetic nervous system, which is the “fight or flight“ branch of the autonomic nervous system. Along with increased blood pressure levels, activation of the fight or flight response also causes higher heart rate, sweating, flushing, goosebumps, relaxation of the airways, a slowing down of digestion, and an increase in blood flow to the muscles.
Try a simple breathing technique now. The “equal breathing” method involves inhaling through the nose for a count of four (count 1-2-3-4) and exhaling for a count of four (count 1-2-3-4). As you get used to it, the cycle can be lengthened to eight counts in, eight counts out.
Metal Imagery (Visualization)
Mental imagery or visualization is another great method and part of Dr. Benson’s “relaxation response,” which also works really fast.
How And Why Mental Imagery Works
Visualization works by reducing stress and the “fight or flight” response. It is used to decrease stress, anxiety, and depression as well as sports performance in elite athletes. Studies show that visualization improves so-called heart rate variability (HRV), which is a marker of heart health. A healthy range of HRV correlates with a lower risk of heart mortality and morbidity and reduces the risk of death. It also helps improve fatigue and balance hormones. HRV is the change in the time interval between heartbeats from beat to beat.
Try this simple visualization method. Here, you are asked to hold certain mental images as you take deep breaths. Try this 10-minute YouTube video or another one of your choice.
This is the only non-drug treatment currently approved for high blood pressure by the FDA. RESPeRATE is a device that uses music tones to guide you to perform deep abdominal breathing. The goal is to decrease the number of breaths to under 10 per minute and to lengthen each exhale. Based on research studies, daily RESPeRATE use helps lower blood pressure, sometimes showing the same efficacy as blood pressure drugs. This blood pressure-lowering effect also lasts after the session.
You can buy it from the official website of RESPeRATE. There are two options which cost $299.95 and $349.95. It has hundreds of reviews with an average 4/5 star rating on Amazon.
If you aren’t sure if RESPeRATE is the best option for you, try a free app that teaches abdominal breathing.
Deep breathing, mental imagery, or the RESPeRATE device are not replacements for blood pressure drugs. They are great as supplements and ways to lower your blood pressure levels naturally while helping you to better handle day-to-day stress.