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How ‘breath training’ can help reduce high blood pressure

When people breathe into the hand-held inhaler-like device, it provides resistance, making it harder for the subject to inhale.

September 21, 2022 / 06:20 PM IST
'Breath training' yields the same results as running, cycling or walking. (Representative)

'Breath training' yields the same results as running, cycling or walking. (Representative)

A new study has revealed that daily breathing exercises can help reduce hypertension or high blood pressure. A report published by the National Public Radio (NPR) shows that daily muscle training for the diaphragm and other breathing muscles can help promote heart health and reduces high blood pressure.

Daniel Craighead, an integrative physiologist at the University of Colorado Boulder, says that, “The muscles we use to breathe atrophy, just like the rest of our muscles tend to do as we get older."

Using a resistance-breathing training device called PowerBreathe, Craighead and his colleagues decided to test what happens when breathing muscles are given a workout on healthy volunteers aged 18 to 82.

When people breathe into the hand-held device, it provides resistance, making it harder for the subject to inhale.

"We found that doing 30 breaths per day for six weeks lowers systolic blood pressure by about 9 millimeters of mercury," Craighead says. The reductions that happened due to the device can be brought about the regular exercises like running or cycling or even walking.

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The device can be useful especially for people unable to do such exercises. The simplicity of the device is also a plus; people can easily use this at home.

Craighead also adds that the device requires less time to get the benefit and adds the resistance that gives the muscles a good workout. His research is funded by the National Institutes of Health. IMST (Inspiratory Muscle Strength Training) thus, the research shows, can help significantly in lowering high BP.

"We were surprised to see how ubiquitously effective IMST is at lowering blood pressure," Craighead says adding that he was surprised to see that even in younger subjects the results were “robust”.
first published: Sep 21, 2022 06:20 pm
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