High blood pressure puts you in the risks of developing heart diseases and stroke. It is one of the leading causes of death in the US and other developed world. So, if you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure then Learn to control it.
Most people with high blood pressure (hypertension) are put on daily pills. It does control hypertension but you need to do more than just depend on pills. Lifestyle changes are also necessary.
One of the fastest way to lower blood pressure is deep breathing. In one study it was found that just 6 deep breaths could lower blood pressure by 10 mg of Mercury.
How Deep Breathing lowers Blood Pressure?
Deep breathing not only lowers your blood pressure but also reduces stress, anxiety and improves overall body functioning. This improves quality and longevity of life. Deep breathing
- Deep Breathing Improves efficiency of lungs
- Dilates blood vessels and improve blood flow
- Purifies the blood with more oxygen
- Sends enough oxygen to the farthest cells in the skin
- Relaxes the skin
All these changes in the body due to deep breathing help in lowering of blood pressure.
How to Do Deep Breathing?
Indians have been practicing deep breathing since ancient time. Those breathing techniques are now getting recognition globally for their health benefits including lowering blood pressure.
Following are 5 such deep breathing exercises that will lower your blood pressure immediately as well as maintain it in the normal range if you regularly practice these breathing techniques.
You can do these exercises in a comfortable position of your choice. Though instruction given here are for breathing in comfortable sitting position (on a chair or a yoga mat), you can do it standing or in lying down position. Make sure that your clothes are loose and comfortable to do deep breathing.
All breathing should diaphragm breathing. It means don't use your chest to inhale and exhale but use your belly to push diaphragm up and down. Your belly should pop out while inhaling and it should become flat while exhaling.
1. Basic Deep Breathing
- Sit down in a comfortable position for this deep breathing exercise
- Don't force any part of your body for this kind of breathing
- Slowly inhale through nostrils for as long as comfortable for the count if 2 or 3
- Slowly exhale through nostrils with the same count
- Do not hold breath at any stage.
- Do it for 10 or more cycles
You can do this breathing as many times as you want throughout the day. Whenever you are sitting idle do this basic Deep breathing. This lowers blood pressure and relaxes you immediately.
2- Simple Belly Breathing - Variation
Everything else remains same as above except that you exhale through your mouth instead of nostrils.
- Sit in a comfortable position for this deep breathing technique
- Inhale slowly through nostrils to the count of 3
- Roll your mouth in a whistling position and exhale through mouth slowly to the count of 3
- Do not hold breath at any stage.
- Repeat it at least 10 times per sitting
- Do it as many times as you can throughout the day.
This is a bit more powerful than the basic breathing in terms of lowering high blood pressure.
3. Deep Breathing with Holding Breath in 4-7-8
This is a deep breathing techniques which requires you to breath in 3 stages - inhale, hold and exhale.
- Sit in a comfortable position. You can do this deep breathing exercise in sleeping position for even better impact.
- Slowly in health through your nose to the count of 4
- Hold your breath to the count of 7
- Exhale through your mouth to the count of 8
Do not exert any extra force on your deep breathing at any stage. Just relax and do it at a slower pace by maintaining counting pace at the same level for all three stages.
This technique not only lowers your blood pressure but also induces sleep. So do it before going to the bed if you have sleeping problems.
4- Alternate Nostril Deep Breathing
This is one of the most favoured deep breathing techniques of yogi in India. It is called Anulom Vilom.
- Sit in a comfortable position. Sitting is the best position for this deep breathing exercise.
- Close your right nostril by putting your right thumb on the right nostril.
- Keep your palm open why you hold your right nostril
- Inhale slowly through your left nostril
- Close your left nostril by the third finger of your same hand
- Exhale slowly through your right nostril
- Continue repeating the cycle for at least 10 minutes
This type of deep breathing balances the right brain and left brain activities, lowers Blood Pressure and reduces stress and anxieties.
5. Breath Counting
This deep breathing method helps to tame the wandering mind. It helps in stress reduction and lowering blood pressure.
- Sit in a comfortable position, spine straight and head slightly inclined forward
- Close your eyes
- Take a few deep breaths and then let normal breathing take over. No effort.
- Count 1 after first exhale in the inhale exhale cycle, then 2 at the next exhale and so on until 5
- Repeat the cycles of counting of 1 to 5 after each exhale. Never count above five. Just count up to 5 and repeat.
- Do it as long as you enjoy doing it.
This deep breathing technique keeps your mind to stay focused on counting. That will calm it down and your blood pressure also goes down.
Other Tips for High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure medicines alone cannot permanently control your blood pressure. If you only depend on the medicine then over a period of time you may have to increase the medicine to maintain the normal blood pressure. Therefore, in addition to taking the medicine and doing deep breathing you should make some lifestyle and dietary changes as under:
- Practice regular exercise of your choice daily. Brisk walking, cycling, swimming are your simplest options.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables
- Consume low fat diet
- Learn to deal with stresses and anxiety
- Do not sit in a stationary position for more than 30-40 minutes. Get up for a free minute or two, stretch and then resume sitting if required.
- Enjoy life
Some if the deep breathing techniques require you to hold breath. If you have COPD or other lung condition s then consult your doctor before embarking on those deep breathing activities. Otherwise deep breathing is safe and pure magic to lower your blood pressure, stress and anxieties.