How to lower your blood pressure now
The quickest way to lower blood pressure is simpler than you probably think. All you need to do is breathe… more…. slowly.
Yes, simply slow breathing is the quickest way to lower blood pressure naturally.
Yogis and alternative health practitioners have long maintained that slow regular breathing is good for the health. Medical researchers are now starting to agree. Many studies are now looking into how slow breathing can improve your health.
The evidence so far shows that slow breathing lowers blood pressure – and quickly. For example, in 2013 the American Heart Association reviewed all the studies so far into non-drug methods of lowering blood pressure. They found slow breathing was one of the most effective, and was the quickest way to lower blood pressure without medication.
In their own words,
Slow deep breathing, as practiced by meditation, yoga, and several relaxation techniques, has long been thought capable of favorably affecting BP. A short period of deep breathing (6 breaths in 30 seconds) has been shown to reduce systolic BP by 3.4 to 3.9 mm Hg within minutes in a clinic setting compared with quiet rest.
(Brooks et al, 2013)
How to do slow breathing to quickly lower blood pressure
As the quote above states, even slowing down your breathing for just a few minutes will start to lower your blood pressure. However, to get the maximum benefits of slow breathing, medical researchers recommend doing it for at least ten to fifteen minutes.
If you’ve ever tried focusing on your breathing, you’ll notice that the mind tends to wander… So to keep your breathing slow and regular you might find it helps to have some guidance.
The studies which have found the strongest effects of slow breathing lowering blood pressure were done using a device to guide participants in slow breathing. (Indeed, the studies done by the manufacturers of this device found strongest evidence for its effectiveness.) The device is called RESPeRATE. It has a band you strap around your chest which measures your breathing rate and a little electronic device which plays you musical tones which you breathe along to.
It is quite nifty and people say that they find it easy to regulate their breathing this way. All well and good. And if you have $300 (about £235 or €280) lying around, then it could be worth getting.
However, if you can’t or don’t want to buy the Resperate device, don’t worry. There are other excellent methods of doing guided slow breathing that don’t involve $300 machines!
Guided slow breathing tracks
For example, many people use guided slow breathing audio tracks. These have breathing prompts which you can breathe along in time with. Which makes it much easier to keep your breathing pace slow and steady. You can listen to some samples of our own guided slow breathing audio tracks here:
Most of our guided slow breathing tracks have some background music, since listening to relaxing music can also lower blood pressure.
However, slow breathing with music lowers blood pressure more than listening to music alone.
One 2001 study directly compared musically-guided breathing exercises with listening to quiet music on a walkman (remember those?). People with high blood pressure did one or the other of these at home every day for eight weeks. And their blood pressure was measured at home several times throughout the day.
For those listening to the guided breathing exercises, their blood pressure was lowered by an average of f -5.0/-2.7 mm Hg (systolic/diastolic). This compared to an average reduction of -1.2/+0.9 mm Hg in those just listening to music. So the effect of doing guided slow breathing at home is comparable with blood pressure-lowering medications.
The researchers concluded that, “breathing exercise guided by the BIM [Breathe with Interactive Music] device for 10 min daily is an effective non-pharmacological modality to reduce BP.” (Grossman et al, 2001).
In other words, doing guided slow breathing in the comfort of your own home can lower your blood pressure quickly.
Wondering how? Read on.
Why slow breathing is the quickest way to lower blood presssure without medication
Slow breathing is likely to be particularly effective if your high blood pressure is caused by stress or anxiety. This is because deliberately breathing slowly has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety. (More on this here: Breathing to reduce stress and blood pressure.)
However, even if these aren’t a factor in your high blood pressure, slow breathing can still lower your blood pressure within minutes. This is because breathing slowly reduces your heart rate. It also causes your blood vessels to relax and dilate. Both of these phenomena mean that your blood pressure is immediately reduced.
You can read more here in our article about how slow breathing lowers blood pressure.
Long-term effects of regularly doing guided slow breathing
In the short term, it’s clear that slow breathing is the quickest way to lower blood pressure without medications. And it can lower blood pressure to a similar extent as blood pressure-reducing medications.
However, it’s also possible that doing guided slow breathing regularly can lower your blood pressure more generally. There is some evidence which suggests that the effects of slow breathing can potentially persist throughout the day. More research needs to be done to clarify and confirm this. However, it is still a good idea to do guided slow breathing most days.
This is for two reasons. Firstly, the more you practice slow breathing, the more slowly you’ll be able to breathe. And the more slowly you can breathe, the more deeply your body can relax and benefit. (Quick plug: this is why our guided slow breathing tracks range from 10 breaths per minute to 4 breaths per minute – so you can gradually train yourself to breathe slowly more slowly!)
The second reason is that the more you practice, the more readily you’ll be able to start breathing slowly when you need to. For example, if you suddenly find yourself in a stressful situation, slowing down your breathing will really help you keep a clear head and keep a lid on your stress levels. It will also counteract the rise in blood pressure that stress tends to cause. And if you’re used to slow breathing, it’ll be much easier for you to do!
Other health benefits of slow breathing
There are many other health benefits of slow breathing, beyond lowering blood pressure. It can help you sleep, reduce anxiety and stress, help with pain relief. The list goes on. You can read more about it here: Slow breathing health benefits
Breathe-Slow guided slow breathing audio tracks
As I’ve already mentioned, we have created audio tracks for you to do guided slow breathing. These are available to buy as a set of digital downloads.
There are five sets of tracks. Each set has breathing prompts for different breathing paces – 10, 8, 6, 5, and 4 breaths per minute. (Breathing in and out is counted as one breath.)
You can thus select a breathing pace that suits you and gradually work your way down to slower paces as you get used to it. Generally, the more slowly you breathe, the more deeply you relax, and the more profound the therapeutic benefits.
For each breathing pace, there are four different tracks. Three have different kinds of background music, since listening to music has also been shown to be beneficial for lowering stress and blood pressure. The fourth track just has the breathing prompts. This is in case you prefer to play your own music in the background, or you might just like to listen to the breathing prompts on their own.
With twenty tracks in total, you can always choose a track to suit your desired breathing rate and your musical mood 🙂
The entire Breathe Slow collection of guided slow breathing audio tracks is now available for $17 USD (about £13 or €15).
The Breathe-Slow audio tracks come with a 60 day no-questions-asked 100% money-back guarantee if you’re not completely satisfied with your investment.
Note that this is a digital download ONLY. No CDs will be sent to you.
Quickest way to lower blood pressure: references and more information
American Heart Association: Slow Breathing Decreases Blood Pressure
National Center for Biotechnology Information: Breathing-control lowers blood pressure