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Mindfulness is a state of being conscious and aware of what you are doing. This exercise is mainly done to train your mind and body. Moreover, it also boosts neural connections in the brain. Mindfulness is known to benefit us psychologically, but this new study is suggesting a surprising new advantage of practicing it.
A team of researchers from Florida Atlantic University’s Schmidt College of Medicine explored the possibility of whether mindfulness with paced breathing can reduce blood pressure. Since high blood pressure is one of the major causes behind premature morbidity and mortality across the world, the study can be beneficial in understanding how hypertension can be tamed holistically.
Because guess what? According to researchers even small but sustained reductions in blood pressure even reduce the risks of stroke and heart attacks.
How can we the risks posed by high blood pressure
Incorporating therapeutic lifestyle changes, weight loss, salt reduction and adjunctive drug therapies can be beneficial to treat and prevent high blood pressure.
Additionally, mindfulness is increasingly practiced as a technique to reduce stress through mind and body interactions. In some cases, mindfulness includes paced breathing of about five to seven breaths per minute compared with the usual rate of 12 to 14.
The study published in the journal Medical Hypotheses explores the possibility that mindfulness with paced breathing can reduce blood pressure.
Suzanne LeBlang, M.D., a neuroradiologist and one of the authors of the study says, “Paced breathing stimulates the vagus nerve and parasympathetic nervous system, which reduce stress chemicals in the brain and increase vascular relaxation. This might lead to the lowering of blood pressure.”
How can the study be useful?
According to the American Stroke Association (ASA) and American Heart Association (AHA), cardiovascular disease or CVD accounts for more than 17 million deaths worldwide. CVD is rapidly becoming the leading cause of mortality across the globe. Stroke alone kills more than 11% of the population worldwide.
Barbara Schmidt, co-author of the study says, “Now more than ever, people all over the world are under increased stress, which may adversely affect their health and well-being. We know that mindfulness decreases stress and I am optimistic that mindfulness with paced breathing will produce a sustained lowering of blood pressure.”