High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is blood pressure that is higher than normal. Blood pressure is the pressure of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. Your blood pressure changes throughout the day based on your activities. Having blood pressure measures consistently above normal may result in a diagnosis of high blood pressure (or hypertension).
High blood pressure usually develops over time. It can happen because of unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as not getting enough regular physical activity. Diabetes and having obesity can also increase the risk of developing high blood pressure.
Clearly, the natural solution to hypertension will lie in removing the underlying causes of the condition.
Some effective natural solutions are:
- Weight loss
- Exercise – I prefer a combination of yoga, tai chi, and brisk walking
- Meditation helps by bringing stress levels down
- Sleep – 7 to 9 hours of sleep is critical to keeping the blood pressure under control.
- Food – I prefer plant-based food that is low in sodium, rich in fiber. I did not find scientific support for dairy products.
If not caused by an underlying health condition, hypertension is a lifestyle disease and can be brought under control by moving to a healthy lifestyle.
Let me share some scientific studies that support the role of natural solutions in hypertension management:
About 90 patients were organized into weekly meditation groups that lasted an hour and half for 7 weeks. A total mood disturbance reduction of 65% and a 31% reduction in stress symptoms were observed (Speca et al., 2000). Another study with cancer patients suffering from mood disturbance and stress symptoms showed a reduction of these symptoms after a meditation-based stress reduction program (Carlson et al., 2001).
Reviews showed consistent benefits in improved psychological functioning, reduction in stress symptoms, enhanced feeling of well-being (Ott et al., 2006). Young breast cancer patients subjected to meditation sessions showed reduced stress and lower levels of depression and inflammatory activity. These patients were subjected to a 6-week meditation program (Bower et al., 2015).
Sleep disturbance is very common in cancer patients. An 8-week meditation program helped significantly reduce sleep disturbance in 63 cancer patients (Carlson et al., 2005). Similar results and enhanced quality of life, decreased stress, altered immune patterns, and decreased blood pressure were observed in another study (Carlson et al., 2007).
Asanas are yogic exercise postures. These are being increasingly prescribed by oncologists. Breathing exercises—pranayamas—are also often recommended. Yoga helped improve physical and emotional well-being of individuals. Nine studies conducted on cancer patients and survivors showed modest improvements in sleep quality, mood, stress, cancer-related distress, cancer-related symptoms, and overall quality of life (Bower et al., 2005). Breast cancer patients who practiced yoga showed some positive results (Smith et al., 2009, and Mustian, et al., 2010).
Yoga practices by cancer survivors 65 years and older helped reduce cancer-related physical and mental fatigue and reduced side effects (Sprod et al., 2015). A 7-week yoga program by breast cancer survivors showed improved quality of life and physical parameters (Culos-Reed et al., 2004). Beneficial effects of yoga were observed in patients who had not been exposed to chemotherapy (Moadel et al., 2007).
There is a substantial body of evidence that supports the role of select medicinal plants and herbal medicinal formulations in hypertension management. You will find this evidence in my selection of books on natural solutions . You can check my tri-series on the subject. It is available on Amazon.