New research has confirmed what yogis have known for centuries: yoga and other mind-body techniques are a powerful antitode to high blood pressure.
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is one of the most popular reasons for trips to the doctor in the UK and USA.
It can also be deadly: it's is the most common risk factor for stroke, heart failure and kidney disease.
The new research showed that mind-body techniques are at least as effective as medical approaches in treating the conditions.
Despite this, only 80% of people with blood pressure are estimated to have tried less conventional systems such as yoga.
These latest findings are interesting because they stamp scientific weight to what yoga prationers have known for a very long time: that it’s one of the best ways to calm the mind and reduce stress.
The Yale researchers surveyed the results of 12 published, controlled trials comparing mind-body techniques (yoga, meditation and guided imagery) alone or together with conventional medicine-based approaches.
Five other ways to lower blood pressure:
* Meditate regularly and try and keep stress levels down.
* Watch your salt and alcohol intake. Boost how much water you drink and lower your intake of trans and saturated fats.
* Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables and stick to low fat dairy. Better still, switch from dairy to soya.
* Keep active: a brisk half-hour walk, six days a week will do the job.
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