If you ask what to do to lower the tension when it is too high, they may tell you that the keys are to have a healthy diet and maintain regular physical exercise. And, if the situation requires it, to take certain drugs. However, a study that has just been published in the journal of the American Heart Association shows another very interesting and simple trick to control high blood pressure through breathing.
It is a technique, called Inspiratory Muscle Strength Training (IMST), which basically consists of the use of a device that resists when inhaled through it. It is not a new device. In fact, decades ago it was already used to improve the respiratory function of critically ill with lung disease. However, with them a low-medium resistance was used and for the tension it is necessary to resort to the highest.
It is also not the first time we have heard about this new application, since already in 2019 there was some news about it. However, the results were preliminary at the time and had not been published under review. Currently there is not only publication, but it has also been made a clinical trial with very good results. Now, what do we know at the moment?
What to do to lower the tension with the IMST?
Participants in the clinical trial 36 healthy adults, with ages between 50 and 79 years. All of them were given an IMST device, but at different intensities. Half, belonging to the placebo group, used it with low resistance. The other half, with a higher resistance, since it is the one that the researchers, belonging to the University of Colorado Boulder, they considered that it would contribute more to lower high blood pressure.
The exercise consists of taking 30 inspirations through the device, in 5 minutes, 6 days a week, for 6 weeks
They all performed the same procedure: 30 inspirations, in about 5 minutes, 6 days a week, for 6 weeks. After this period, those who used the IMST with high resistance experienced a considerable drop in your blood pressure. In addition, this decrease was better or equal to that which could occur with other strategies, such as the consumption of certain drugs or the regular practice of aerobic exercise.
And that’s not all. It also appears that this breathing technique helps improve sleep in apnea patients and decrease stress levels.
Does this mean that if we don’t know what to do to lower blood pressure, we can take 30 breaths a day under resistance? Not really. First of all, and obviously, because we need a specific device. But, secondly, because so far the clinical trial has been very small. The authors of the investigation want to carry out a larger one, to see if the results are reproduced.
Why does controlling your breathing help?
At the moment, these scientists are not clear why controlling breathing in this way can help reduce high blood pressure.
They believe that inhalations may induce the cells lining the blood vessels to produce more. Nitric oxide. As a consequence, the muscles would relax and blood flow would improve, lowering the systolic pressure.
But it’s too early to tell. Therefore, if you want to know what to do to lower blood pressure, you must continue to resort to regular exercise, avoid habits such as tobacco or alcohol and, if your doctor requires it, take appropriate medications. Moreover, it may be that if one day the IMST is implemented, we cannot abandon all these routines either. After all, smoking carries more risks, in addition to high blood pressure, and physical exercise has many more benefits besides controlling tension. It all adds up. Until we know if we can add this, we will only have to continue with the rest of the measures.