Practise of breathing exercises may prevent hypertension in adults, if they are practised early while the nervous system is still plastic, reveals an Australian study published in ‘Cell Metabolism’.
According to researchers at Melbourne and Macquarie University in Australia, there is unusual activity between neurons controlling breathing and blood pressure during the development of essential hypertension. High blood pressure with no particular cause is a major risk factor for stroke, affecting 30 percent of world population.
According to experts in the study, breathing and blood pressure are functionally linked through sympathetic nervous system, which sends nerve signals to the heart and blood vessels. Changing the rate of breathing with every breathe causes altered neuronal activity, which leads to fluctuation in blood pressure. By interrupting these neurons that control these functions during adolescence, the chances of developing high blood pressure in adulthood are considerably reduced, the study reported.
Conscious breathing is an effective way to slow down the heart rate. This can be effectively done through regular practice of yoga. As per the study, yoga has the ability to decrease the sympathetic drive and can effectively help in regulating blood pressure.
Yoga asanas involve breathing consciously and deeply when synchronizing your body movements. They help in naturally controlling blood pressure, by primarily relieving stress. They can soothe the nerves, slow down an abnormal heart rate, increase immunity and reduce incidences of heart problems like heart attacks and strokes. Yoga gives positive energy to the body and mind, and makes you happier in the long run, thereby lowering high blood pressure.
The following breathing exercises or ‘Pranayamas’ can help in controlling your blood pressure levels:
Bhastrika Pranayama: It increases supply of oxygen to all parts of the body, thereby improving blood circulation, also relieves stress and hypertension.
Kapalbhati Pranayama: It helps remove fat from belly and is effective in general weight-loss.
Bhramai Pranayama: The vibrations generated by Bhramari Pranayama, resonates within, deeply relaxing the body and mind, relieves tension and anxiety.
Anulom Vilom Pranayama: This is a calming, powerful pranayama, which can help remove blockages in your arteries to a great extent, improve blood circulation in the head region too.
Finally, there is full yogic breathing, which helps you breathe slowly, if your heart rate is too rapid. This technique helps in slowing down the heart rate, and relaxes your body as a whole.
Regular yoga practice helps in developing the body and mind, bringing in lot of health benefits. Although, these breathing techniques can never be a substitute for medicine, they can help you significantly in keeping your high blood pressure under control, if practised regularly under expert guidance.