Can High Blood Pressure be Effectively Treated with Yoga?
January 03, 2020 | Abigail Mckay

Can High Blood Pressure be Effectively Treated with Yoga?

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Yoga, a low-impact form of exercise, is considered an excellent mind-body therapy that has numerous health benefits. Yoga originated in India, and it is practiced by utilizing a series of slow, methodical movements that help stretch the body and create core strength. It also allows time for meditation and breathing exercises. Meditation can be what you make it, meaning that some like to clear their mind while others want to pray during meditation. Either way, yoga creates awareness of the mind, body, and soul while actively engaging in exercise. Essentially, it is the best of both worlds. While many yogis practice yoga in the comfort of their home, some like to practice with others at a yoga studio or in an outdoor environment. However you like to practice, let's review the outstanding cardiovascular benefits of routinely practicing yoga.

High blood pressure, a condition that is characterized by excessive force against arterial walls, is often subtle and asymptomatic until a more significant problem develops as a result.

Risk factors include genetics, a diet high in fatty foods and salt, high lipid levels, smoking, lack of exercise, and obesity. Usually, hypertension can be controlled with significant lifestyle changes, such as a change in diet and exercise regimen. Without a routine physical exam, hypertension is unlikely to be caught early as there are generally no symptoms. Sometimes, symptoms can occur like a headache or nosebleeds. However, these are common symptoms for a variety of conditions, so it is best to consult with your physician before jumping to conclusions.

Unfortunately, untreated high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, can cause detrimental complications if not treated. These unfortunate complications include heart attack, stroke, and heart failure, to name a few. Routine visits with your primary care provider can help prevent these complications by implementing treatment strategies to help optimize your overall quality of life. Treatment options for high blood pressure include medications, dietary changes, and lifestyle changes. While yoga has not been officially endorsed as a treatment for high blood pressure, it has recently gained acceptance as a beneficial lifestyle change to aid in the treatment of hypertension.

Due to yoga's influence of the mind and body, it can make tremendous changes regarding your blood pressure. Yoga is considered a form of exercise, and exercise is a well-backed treatment modality for hypertension. Exercise creates a strong heart, and, in turn, if the heart is healthy, it does not have to pump as hard to move blood. When the heart pumps more effectively, the force on the arteries will decrease, which lowers blood pressure. Participating in thirty minutes of yoga five times a week will help you reach your exercise goal while having a positive impact on your blood pressure. In addition to the physical benefits, mindfulness and breathing practices of yoga can help decrease stress and reduce depression, which can contribute to high blood pressure. The benefits of yoga in regards to blood pressure are strongly suggested, but it should be recommended as a complementary treatment option when treating hypertension. It has not been studied thoroughly enough to suggest making yoga a primary treatment modality.

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Abigail Mckay

Abigail has been a nurse for five years, and throughout her time as a nurse, she has worked in multiple medical-surgical units as well as spent time in the infusion therapy clinic and endoscopy lab. She is passionate about preventative medicine through patient education regarding nutrition and exercise. Due to her passion, Abigail has gone on to earn two certifications including a certification in medical-surgical nursing (CMSRN) and a certification in holistic nursing (HNB-BC), in hopes of being able to better serve her patients. Abigail earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA and now bettering patient education in the healthcare system through partnering with American TelePhysicians.