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  1. #1 How Mind-Body Approaches Reduce Blood Pressure Better Than Medication (Harvard Study) 
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    Apparently, some people respond well to relaxation techniques to lower high blood pressure. For these "responders", the techniques result in a change in gene expression of 1,771 genes. In other words, relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, etc. alter the human body at the genetic level. The research below shows that a little over half the participants were "responders."

    Link to the original study: https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/acm.2017.0053

    How Mind-Body Approaches Reduce Blood Pressure Better Than Medication
    https://www.naturalblaze.com/2018/04...edication.html

    ...A new study led by investigators at Harvard Medical School, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Massachusetts General Hospital and the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at MGH identified the genes associated with the body’s response to relaxation techniques and sheds light on the molecular mechanisms by which these interventions may work to lower blood pressure. The findings are published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

    ...In this study, Libermann, Zusman and colleagues enrolled 58 people with stage 1 essential hypertension, defined as having a systolic (top number) blood pressure between 140-159mm Hg and diastolic (bottom number) between 90-104mm Hg. Participants were either not taking medications to control their blood pressure or had tapered off them for five weeks prior to the outset of the study. Participants also filled out standardized questionnaires about stress, depression and anxiety.

    Over the next eight weeks, participants attended eight weekly training sessions at which they were guided through mind-body interventions designed to elicit the relaxation response–including diaphragmatic breathing, mantra repetition and mindfulness meditation–while passively ignoring intrusive thoughts. Participants were also given an audio CD that guided them through the same sequence for use at home once a day.

    After the eight weeks of training, patients filled out the same stress, depression and anxiety questionnaires and had blood drawn for gene expression testing along with blood pressure measurement. Overall, 13 of the 24 participants who completed the eight-week intervention experienced a clinically relevant drop in blood pressure–that is, specific reductions in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings that moved participants below 140/90 mm Hg, the clinical definition of stage 1 hypertension.

    Patients who demonstrated significant reductions in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure–enough so that their blood pressure was below the definition of stage 1 essential hypertension–were classified as “responders.” Those whose blood pressure still fell within the definition of stage 1 hypertension, and those who did not see reduction in both numbers, were classified as “nonresponders.”

    When Libermann and colleagues ran gene expression analyses comparing blood samples from the two groups, they found that specific gene expression changes had occurred in the responders over the course of the eight-week relaxation response intervention that were not observed in the nonresponders. Specifically, among responders the expression of 1,771 genes differed between the baseline blood tests and those taken after the eight weeks of relaxation response practice. Further, Libermann and colleagues determined that the reduction in blood pressure was correlated with genes linked to immune regulatory pathways, metabolism and glucose metabolism, cardiovascular system development and circadian rhythm.

    ...“Our results suggest that the relaxation response reduced blood pressure — at least in part — by altering expression of genes in a select set of biological pathways,” co-first author John Denninger, HMS instructor in psychiatry at Mass General and director of research at the Benson-Henry Institute, noted. “Importantly, the changes in gene expression associated with this drop in blood pressure are consistent with the physical changes in blood pressure and inflammatory markers that one would anticipate and hope to observe in patients successfully treated for hypertension.”
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    Festivus Moderator ralph wiggum's Avatar
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    Interesting. Have a family history of of high BP, and none of us were/are anywhere near obese.

    Personally, I learned not to sweat the small stuff. A deep breath or three and a smile have been helping mine. It was a good 123/78 last Dr visit.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ralph wiggum View Post
    Interesting. Have a family history of of high BP, and none of us were/are anywhere near obese.

    Personally, I learned not to sweat the small stuff. A deep breath or three and a smile have been helping mine. It was a good 123/78 last Dr visit.
    That's awesome. Both of my parents had slight blood pressure elevation (when they reached their late 60s) so I'll be looking out for that at some point. I was just interested in the fact that, at least for some people, meditation techniques can work at such a deep molecular level.
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    Festivus Moderator ralph wiggum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elspeth View Post
    That's awesome. Both of my parents had slight blood pressure elevation (when they reached their late 60s) so I'll be looking out for that at some point. I was just interested in the fact that, at least for some people, meditation techniques can work at such a deep molecular level.
    I've been on a mild BP med for 15+ years. The common "white coat" affliction when I often hurry to get to a Dr. appointment. And I don't meditate, just stretch/limber my body first thing in the morning. And through the day occasionally.

    But honestly, several deep breaths and just grinning seems to do wonders. For me at least.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ralph wiggum View Post
    I've been on a mild BP med for 15+ years. The common "white coat" affliction when I often hurry to get to a Dr. appointment. And I don't meditate, just stretch/limber my body first thing in the morning. And through the day occasionally.

    But honestly, several deep breaths and just grinning seems to do wonders. For me at least.
    That white coat phenomenon is so real. Mine tends to shoot up when I see a medic. Of course, the BP might be related to sitting and waiting in the lobby for an hour....
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    Read the book NONE OF THESE DISEASES for a whole lot more problems that can be modified/eliminated by actions/attitudes.

    Authors names: S. I. McMillen & David E. Stern

    Edited to add that both are MDs
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    Ancient Fire Breather Retread's Avatar
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    My wife exhibits the white coat syndrome strongly. My problem is just the opposite. I have enlarged cardiac veins resulting in lower blood pressure. Not a problem except all of my cardio meds reduce my BP. My cardiologist is continually worried it’s too low.

    Of course all I have to do to correct that is to get out on the roads around here.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retread View Post
    My wife exhibits the white coat syndrome strongly. My problem is just the opposite. I have enlarged cardiac veins resulting in lower blood pressure. Not a problem except all of my cardio meds reduce my BP. My cardiologist is continually worried itís too low.

    Of course all I have to do to correct that is to get out on the roads around here.
    Or eat lots of fatty foods.....
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    Ancient Fire Breather Retread's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elspeth View Post
    Or eat lots of fatty foods.....
    That's the one thing I do way too much of and my diabetes doc pummels me regularly for.
    It's not how old you are, it's how you got here.
    It's been a long road and not all of it was paved.
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