Alpha and Theta meditation have been demonstrated over and over again to be highly effective ways to fight hypertension and reduce high blood pressure. Stress is a primary cause of high blood pressure, and one which the pharmaceutical companies encourage doctors to overlook. Alpha or Theta meditation is the best way to reduce stress and can make a huge difference in the fight against hypertension.
What is Alpha or Theta Meditation, and How Can it Reduce My High Blood Pressure?
The human brain is constantly generating electrical activity. Neurologists monitor this activity on an electroencephalograph (EEG) and classify it into different frequencies or brainwaves. While we are awake and busy in our everyday activities, the dominant brainwave is the Beta wave, which has a frequency of 13 to 30 Hertz (cycles per second). When we close our eyes and turn our attention away from the outside world, such as when first going to sleep or taking a nap, the brain’s dominant frequency becomes slower but also more powerful. This is where we see Alpha waves (7-13 Hz). When we are profoundly relaxed, or have actually fallen asleep and entered the dream state known as Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, the brain generates Theta waves (3.5-7 Hz), which are even slower and even more powerful.
The Alpha and Theta states are natural antidotes to stress. When the brain is in these more relaxed states, the hormonal imbalances that result from stress – whether actual or just perceived – are brought back into balance. Specifically, when stress triggers the “fight or flight response”, the adrenal glands release epinephrine (adrenaline), norepinephrine, and cortisol. Collectively, these hormones increase heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration while diverting resources away from other functions (such as repair or growth) that would take energy away from the necessary action of the body in countering danger. That mechanism made perfect sense in an earlier evolutionary setting, but works against us now. Spending less time in the Beta state, which is hospitable to stress, reduces the damage done by this inappropriate brew of hormones.
Studies Confirm Meditation Reduces Blood Pressure
A 2004 study in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences found that older women who regularly practice meditation have a reduced cortisol response to stress, and the longer the person had been practicing meditation the greater the reduction. The study’s authors suggested that functioning of the endocrine system had been improved.
In 2007, the National Institutes of Health published a comprehensive review of various stress-reduction techniques, noting that many earlier studies had been poorly designed. In comparison to other stress-reduction methods, such as progressive muscle relaxation and biofeedback, meditation produced the best results in reducing blood pressure, a reduction of 5 mm Hg deemed “significant” by the authors.
What is the Best Way to Meditate and Reduce High Blood Pressure?
Until recently, meditation was a difficult skill to master, and most people who tried it simply gave up after a few weeks. When your health is at stake, this is very unfortunate, for meditation really can fight hypertension without poisoning your body with chemical concoctions. So is there a way to achieve the desired mental states without struggling with difficult techniques that aren’t realistic for most people?
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