Hypertension is no laughing matter; it’s often a reliable indicator of increased cardiovascular disease risk. What if there was a way you could lower blood pressure and find relief from stress without adding a new medication to the mix? Research indicates that massage therapy may be a useful part of managing blood pressure.
Fifty million adults in America suffer from high blood pressure, or hypertension. While there are a host of lifestyle factors that can affect blood pressure, like tobacco use and a poor diet, stress can also be a factor for many patients. Fortunately, there are approaches to treatment beyond blood pressure medication, which have been proven to lower blood pressure, both diastolic and systolic.
Since the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate up to half of the population suffering from hypertension do not properly manage their condition, it’s important to take proactive measures with the potential to stave off catastrophic health emergencies like heart attack, stroke and other serious conditions associated with hypertension.
Because stress is a heavily contributing factor to blood pressure spikes, controlling it can have significant and sometimes dramatic effects for patients. Working with a massage therapist can lower stress and promote a sense of self-care, providing a deep sense of relaxation and well-being. While researchers have yet to pinpoint the mechanism by which massage impacts high blood pressure, its value as a stress-management tool should not be underestimated.
Since massage also has the potential to reduce edema or swelling by boosting circulation, it can be a valuable treatment for patients living with hypertension and certain comorbid conditions. It’s also non-invasive and cost-effective, providing benefits without a host of associated risks and contraindications.
Every patient is different, but there is clear evidence some can benefit greatly from massage therapy regimens intended to lower blood pressure and stress levels. Research indicates patients may continue to reap the benefits of massage for up to three days after intervention, which means results don’t dissipate immediately upon leaving the massage table. Working alongside a licensed massage therapist under the supervision of your healthcare provider may prove to be a valuable and effective adjunctive therapy for blood pressure management.
Swedish massage, the variety most often utilized in clinical studies on blood pressure impact, is painless, soothing and has great potential to reduce stress while providing positive impact on blood pressure readings. If you suffer from high blood pressure, it’s worth discussing the promise shown by studies on massage therapy in relation to hypertension with your healthcare provider.
Together, you can work to integrate a non-invasive and relaxing approach to treating high blood pressure with scientifically-proven results. In the end, effectively supplementing your existing treatment for hypertension may mean obtaining a soothing massage from a qualified professional who understands the impact of bodywork on high blood pressure.