It is well known that hypertension can be caused by stress. It is why we are advised to build some relaxation time into our daily routine. How effective is relaxation at reducing hypertension?
I have investigated this by conducting an (unscientific) experiment of my own into deep relaxation. The results were surprising.
Different types of relaxation
There are two types of relaxation:
- Active relaxation; and
- Passive relaxation.
When we talk about relaxing, we normally think of passive relaxation such as listening to quiet music, enjoying the beautiful scenery around us or just simply quieting our mind for a while. The more mentally disciplined amongst us might meditate. These methods do lower high blood pressure.
A round of golf or a tennis game might be considered as active relaxation, but these do not necessarily have the same effect as passive relaxation.
A couple of weeks ago, I decided to listen to “A Guided Meditation” by Glenn Harrold 1 that had been gathering virtual dust on my MP3 player since 2003. It induced in me a very deep level of mental and physical relaxation. As it happened, I had my home digital blood pressure monitor near me. The guided meditation lasted for about half an hour, at the end of which, on a whim, I decided to measure my blood pressures.
I took my blood pressure readings again four hours later.
The results surprised me. My morning readings that day were 140/93 with a pulse rate of 70. Those blood pressure readings were about five points up on what they normally are, but nevertheless are considered normal for a person of my age. My pulse was up by about four from what it usually is.
After listening to “A Guided Meditation” , my readings were 127/80 with a pulse rate of 63.
Encouraged by this, I repeated the experiment for the next six days. Then I changed to listening to “Paul McKenna’s Deep Relaxation” CD 2, which I listened to every day for a week. Co-incidentally, this CD had also been gathering dust on the shelf since 2003.
It must be noted that:
- Neither “A Guided Meditation” nor “Paul McKenna’s Deep Relaxation” claim to reduce hypertension; and
- They are not comparable products.
However, they both lowered my blood pressures significantly, but by different amounts:
- “A Guided Meditation” consistently resulted in blood pressure readings in the range of 11 to 13 points lower than the measurements I took at the start of the day. The effect was still noticeable, albeit reduced, after four hours.
- “Paul McKenna’s Deep Relaxation” consistently resulted in blood pressure readings in the range of 5 to 7 points lower than the measurements I took at the start of the day. The effect was not measurable after four hours.
I do not claim to have used scientific methodology. Furthermore, the results were specific to me, so my results should be considered as anecdotal evidence. Nevertheless, both sets of results are very good. The beneficial effects of deep relaxation lasted for up to hours.
This piece of rough science confirms that deep relaxation is an effective way of eliminating physical and mental stress, thereby reducing hypertension. Both “A Guided Meditation” and “Paul McKenna’s Deep Relaxation” gave good results for me. Although the benefits only last a few hours, it is still worthwhile as it compliments the other methods I am using to lower my high blood pressure.
A new unscientific experiment
The above results give me a benchmark against which to judge the results of a new relaxation product that is specifically aimed at lowering high blood pressure through relaxation. The product has three relaxation exercises:
- A walking exercise;
- An emotional relief exercise; and
- A passive relaxation exercise.
I did the de-stressing exercise under less than optimal conditions during a time when my blood pressure is naturally elevated. Nevertheless, I achieved results of 126/69 with a pulse of 68.
I also did the walking exercise, which also includes subliminal messages, in less than ideal circumstances. The pace at which I walked as directed by the exercise was faster than my normal pace, but not too brisk. I achieved results of 122/81 with a pulse rate of 69.
These are very encouraging results and both exercises out performed “A Guided Meditation”.
The final exercise is to be done before going to sleep as it induces a state of deep relaxation to aid restful sleep. Using these exercises in combination is potentially very powerful and, based on these results, I will be incorporating them into my daily routine.