Ayurveda and Hypertension

While hypertension (high blood pressure) is treatable, each individual has his or her own unique way of manifesting symptoms — and Ayurveda understands this uniqueness. An Ayurveda consultation that includes the ancient technique of pulse assessment is necessary to determine the specific imbalances that are causing hypertension in any one individual. But everyone can benefit from the approaches of Ayurveda.

Foremost among these approaches is the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique.

A 1991 study of African-Americans (who are three times as likely to suffer from hypertension as the rest of the population) found that the blood pressure of those who practiced the TM technique was reduced by twice as much compared to a group who practiced a muscle relaxation technique. And blood pressure actually increased slightly in another group that followed the usual recommendations for reducing hypertension.

In 2013, a report from the American Heart Association concluded that the TM technique lowers blood pressure and recommends that that specific meditation may be considered in clinical practice for the prevention and treatment of hypertension.

The purpose of the report, entitled “Beyond Medications and Diet ­Alternative Approaches to Lowering Blood Pressure: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association,” was to inform physicians which alternative approaches to lowering blood pressure (BP) have been shown by research to be effective.

After considering meta-analyses and the latest clinical trials on different types of meditation, the report stated that while TM is recommended to lower BP, there is not enough scientific evidence to recommend other meditation or relaxation techniques.

The National Institutes of Health has granted over $20 million to study the effects of TM practice in preventing and treating heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.

Lifestyle Changes to Help Hypertension

In addition to practicing the TM technique, general recommendations for anyone suffering from hypertension include:

Make sure your midday meal is relaxed and substantial (this should be the largest meal of the day). If the midday meal is rushed, digestion will be incomplete and the body will not be prepared for the more hectic second half of the day. This will put pressure on the nervous system and exacerbate the symptoms of high blood pressure.

Follow a good Ayurvedic routine: rise during Vata time or at least at the beginning of Kapha time in the morning (Kapha starts at 6:00 a.m.), go to bed by 10:00 in the evening. Eat regular meals. Exercise regularly, but do not over-exercise.

These life-style changes are the first line of defense against hypertension and create the foundation for any other approach dietary or herbal approach. This is because stress can put extreme pressure on the sympathetic nervous system to the point of creating an anti-stress response. The anti-stress response triggers stress-fighting adrenal hormones, which increase heart rates, and put pressure on both the nervous system and circulatory system. This pressure aggravates both Vata and Pitta dosha.

For more information on Ayurveda programs for hypertension, visit The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa website:

www.theraj.com

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