REFER TO THE EXPLANATION CONCERNING HOW TO USE THIS INFORMATION IN
HS01 THE BASIS OF SELF THERAPY
HS16 HOW TO USE THESE SUGGESTIONS
HS17 DESCRIPTION OF YOGA EXERCISES
High blood pressure seems to be an ever increasing problem in our high pressure society. Everyday I meet more and more people who are affected by this problem. Here we will examine some of the natural ways in which one can control his blood pressure and in general the «pressures» he feels in his life.
SOME OF THE CAUSES OF HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
Before analyzing some of the effective solutions to high blood pressure, we must first look at some of the possible causes of this problem. According to modern medicine some of the basic causes of high blood pressure are:
1. MALFUNCTIONING OF THE KIDNEYS may in various ways disturb the proper balance of water in the body. The kidneys determine the electrolyte balance in the liquids of the body, and thus will affect how much water will be retained in the body and how much will be expelled from the body. If the kidneys have heredity weaknesses, or are tired, or imbalanced because of life factors, then too much liquid may accumulate in the body increasing the blood pressure. One factor may be inefficient salt excretion. On the other hand, the kidneys may simply be very tired and overworked because of a heavily toxic diet with large overdoses of SODIUM. A direct relationship between the intake of high sodium foods and high blood pressure has been found in recent tests.
It seems also that the kidney is responsible for producing various chemical substances which in a certain way control the blood pressure and the tension of the walls of the arteries and veins in the circulatory system. Well functioning kidneys are essential for control of proper blood pressure.
2. MALFUNCTIONING OF THE ADRENAL GLANDS may also be the root cause of disturbances in the blood pressure. Disturbances in the pituitary gland and hypothalamus can affect the functioning of the adrenals in a negative way, creating high or low blood pressure. In general, any malfunctioning of the endocrine system may result in blood pressure problems. It is also likely that this disharmony in the endocrine system may in turn be the result of emotional or mental stress, or unhealthy living habits.
3. THE NERVOUS SYSTEM may give messages of contraction to the arteries and veins causing the pressure to rise as the volume of the circulatory system is decreased. The reasons why the nervous system may do this may be different in each person, but in many cases they are most likely psychosomatic.
4. THE DIET of an individual seems to affect his blood pressure. It is logical to believe that the substances of which the blood is constituted will affect the amount of liquid held in the blood and the tension of the walls of the blood vessels. This is especially true in cases where toxic waste products tend to accumulate on the walls of the blood vessels, destroying their flexibility and narrowing the volume of the vessels. It is only logical for the pressure in these vessels to increase.
5. THE ENVIRONMENT OF AN INDIVIDUAL will obviously create various stress conditions which may force his body into reacting with a rise in blood pressure. The pressures one feels at work, at home, in the society and, in general, in his environment become transferred through the endocrine and nervous system into a tension and pressure within his body.
6. THE INDIVIDUAL’S WAY OF REACTING TO LIFE will play perhaps the most important part of all. An individual who feels secure, relaxed and self-confident in the face of responsibilities and stress situations will obviously be able to maintain a normal healthy condition in his body, independent of the external pressures. It has been shown in thousands of cases of people who had high blood pressure that when they learned how to relax they were able to keep the problem under control without the use of medical drugs.
7. There may be OTHER CAUSES which we have not mentioned here.
SOME NATURAL SOLUTIONS
Now let us examine some possible measures we can take in order to overcome the problem of high blood pressure. If one has any doubt about any of the methods mentioned below, we suggest that he consult his doctor for his opinion.
1. PURIFICATION OF THE BLOOD STREAM. If the problem of high blood pressure seems to be accentuated by a toxic condition in the body and the blood stream, then we can improve the situation by cleaning up the inner part of the body. This inner cleansing can be made in the following way:
a. Avoid all high sodium content foods, such as salt, animal proteins, animals fats, cheese, butter and all canned vegetables or any substances which have sodium salts added as preservatives or for taste.
b. Avoid all stimulants such as black tea, coffee, cigarettes, alcohol, salt, mustard, black and white pepper, ginger, nutmeg and other spices.
c. Eat plenty of high potassium foods such as fruits, vegetables, grains and beans. Especially green leafy vegetables.
d. Occasional juice and vegetable broth fasts under the guidance of a fasting counselor will help to change the blood chemistry; detoxify the kidneys, blood vessels and other organs and restore a natural healthy condition in the body.
e. The use of garlic and onions can tend to open up and clean the arteries. One may take them in fresh form or in capsules. Some naturopathic doctors also suggest lecithin and vitamin C for helping to restore healthy blood vessels.
f. Eating only watermelon for one week during the summer when it is in season can help restore the healthy functioning of the kidneys.
2. THE RESTORATION OF THE PROPER FUNCTIONING OF THE KIDNEYS AND ADRENAL GLANDS.
We may stimulate the kidneys and adrenal glands into more harmonious functioning in some of the following ways:
a. Various physical exercises which tonify these organs. We will describe them at the end of this article.
b. Through Reflexology Massage on the points corresponding to the kidneys and adrenal glands on the soles of the feet we can effectively rejuvenate and harmonize these glands. (See the article on this massage in this issue).
3. REGULAR RELAXATION OF THE NERVOUS SYSTEM THROUGH VARIOUS TECHNIQUES.
We can relax and strengthen the nervous system so that it is more resistant to stress and effort in our daily life in the following ways:
a. Deep relaxation techniques in which we can learn to consciously relax the muscles and nerves and thus the walls of the blood vessels. While in this deeply relaxed state, we can imagine light and healing energy flowing into the adrenals, kidneys and head area.
b. Exercises and breathing techniques can be used on a regular basis to release muscular and emotional tension from the body and mind.
c. Certain phonetic vibrations such as «OOOO» and «MMMM» have a calming and balancing effect on the body and mind.
d. Regular meditation had proven to be extremely effective in overcoming high blood pressure.
Details about the above-mentioned techniques can be learned from competent yoga teachers.
4. CHANGE OF ATTITUDE TOWARDS LIFE
Our attitudes towards life; our attachments, aversions, fears and ways of reacting to life can create a great deal of unnecessary tension in our lives. When the basis of high blood pressure is psychosomatic, it is obviously necessary to analyze and overcome these emotional factors which are contributing to the problem. Otherwise a total control of the situation will be impossible even if we perfectly employ the other physically oriented methods. Thus one must begin to analyze the factors in his life which are causing him to react with stress or worry and try to become more free from these ways of reacting. He would do well to approach life in a more relaxed way, with self-confidence and peace of mind. He can gradually work towards this state of mind through working with various systems of self-analysis and self-transformation which are available today.
The practice of the following exercises, breathing techniques, vibrations and deep relaxation will help one in this transformation.
EXERCISES AND TECHNIQUES FOR THOSE SUFFERING FROM HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
1. BALOON BREATHING – Take a four-legged position resting on your hands and knees somewhat like a dog or cat, with your spine horizontal to the earth and head and neck relaxed. Inhale though your nose as slowly and deeply as you can without making any great effort. Now swell your cheeks and exhale as if you were blowing up a balloon. If you cannot take this position for some reason, you can do this breathing in any other position with the spine straight. Be sure to breath as slowly and deeply as you can on both the inhalation and exhalation. Start with seven breaths morning and evening, and then gradually increase over a period of a month or two up to twenty breaths twice a day.
Benefits: This breath exercises relaxes the chest cavity and helps to remove more carbon dioxide and other waste products from the blood. It creates a gentle massage for the heart and lungs. It releases nervous tension.
2. TIGER or CAT. Take the same «four-legged» position as in the previous exercise. Now inhaling through the nose, lift the head upwards while allowing the middle part of the spine to bend downwards the earth and the lower part of the back to lift upwards toward the sky. Then on the exhalation, let the head come down towards the chest and the pelvis toward the head and the middle part of the spine arch upward toward the sky, like a soared cat. The exhalation may be with the nose or mouth, as you prefer. Continue moving all the spinal column up and down with the inhalation and exhalation for 3 to 7 times according to your endurance. Do not over-exert yourself or lose the calmness of your breath. The movement should be made effortlessly with concentration.
Benefits: This movement gives a gentle massage to the spine, heart, kidneys, and adrenals. It relaxes the muscles and nerves along the spinal column, and gradually increases the endurance of the individual.
3. TORSION. Lie on your back on a comfortable but firm surface (not your bed). Bend your right knee and place your right foot on your left knee. Let your arm be stretched out horizontally from the body. Place your left hand on your right knee and twist your body to the left. Twist as far as you comfortably can without forcing your body in any way. Remain in this position for 1 to 3 minutes, breathing slowly and calmly with your abdomen as you try to relax your body as much as possible. Allow your mind to search inwardly noticing the tension in the various parts of the body, and allow these parts of the body to relax.
Benefits: This position stimulates the kidneys and adrenals and relaxes all the nerves of the spine.
4. VIBRATIONS. Take a comfortable straight-backed position, such as sitting in a chair, take a deep inhalation through the nose, and on the exhalation make the sound «OOOOOOOO» for the complete duration of the exhalation. Then take another deep inhalation and make the same sound while exhaling again through the mouth. Do this 7 to 10 times.
Then inhale again through the nose and, while keeping the mouth closed this time, make a humming sound inside the head «MMMMMMM» for the duration of the exhalation. Do this 7 to 10 times in any straight-backed position.
Benefits: These two vibrations have a calming and tonifying effect on the heart and nervous system. They are also good for people with heart problems or nervous disorders.
THOSE WHO HAVE A VERY SERIOUS PROBLEM WITH HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE WHICH PREVENTS THEM FROM ANY FORM OF PHYSICAL EXERTION SHOULD PRACTICE THESE FOUR EXERCISES MENTIONED ABOVE FOR A MONTH OR TWO IN CONJUNCTION WITH DEEP RELAXATION BEFORE GOING ON TO THE FOLLOWING MORE ACTIVE EXERCISES. THE FOLLOWING EXERCISES WILL HELP TO GRADUALLY BUILD THEIR STAMINA.
5. THE SIDEWARD BEND. Stand with the feet spread apart to about twice the distance of the shoulders. Raise your right arm vertically straight into the air with your left arm stretched out to the side. Inhale deeply stretching upward. Then, while holding your breath, bend sideward to the left allowing the left hand to rest near or below your knee. Hold your breath in this position for a few seconds. DO NOT FORCE YOUR BODY. Do not bend forwards of backwards. Then start coming back up to an upright position while slowly exhaling. Now bring the left arm up into a vertical position and the right arm out to the side, and do the same now bending to the right side. Do this three times to each side. If you have lower back problems, avoid this exercise.
Benefits: The kidneys and adrenals are stimulated into more efficient functioning.
6. THE HALF BRIDGE. Lie on your back on a comfortable and firm surface. Bend your knees and place your feet next to your buttocks. Now, as you inhale, lift your buttocks into the air. Hold them there for three seconds and then slowly lower them to the floor as you exhale. Do this three to five times depending on your stamina.
Benefits: This exercise also restores the proper functioning of the kidneys and adrenal glands and gradually increases the stamina of the individual toward work and play.
7. THE FORWARD STRETCH. Sit on a mat of folded blanket with your legs stretched out straight in front of you. Now lower your abdomen towards your thighs and relax your head on or near your knees. If you cannot bring your chest into contact with your thighs while keeping your legs straight, then bend your knees as much as you need in order to develop this contact without forcing your body in any way. Relax in this position with your eyes closed. Feel inwardly, noticing where you feel the muscles pulling or paining. Send mental messages of relaxation to these muscles. Allow your body to relax in this position as long as you comfortably can. Start with about one minute in the position and gradually build up to about five minutes of relaxation.
If you have lower back problems, check with your doctor if you can do this exercise.
Benefits: This exercise brings extra blood and relaxation to the muscles of the heart. It relaxes the nervous system, nerves of the spine, the digestive system and the neck and head. It helps to balance the nervous system and endocrine system. It brings a feeling of mental peace.
8. THE PRAYER POSITION. Sit on your knees «Japanese style». Bend forward bringing your chest to rest on your thighs and your head on the mat. Allow your arms to rest on the mat to the sides and behind you. Relax in the position which is something like that of the embryo. Breathe normally, relaxing as deeply as you can. You can start with one minute and gradually build up to 5 or 10 minutes. Do not stand up abruptly afterwards, but spend some time in the sitting position so that the flow of blood to the head may normalize.
Benefits: Same as previous posture, but it is more simple to do. Greater benefit is received, however, when both exercises are done in this series. The prayer position is a wonderful way to relax and rejuvenate the whole body in times of tiredness or nervous tension.
9. PEACEFUL BREATHING. Lie down on your back with your arms and legs comfortably placed. If the room is cool, place a blanket over your body. Now start breathing slowly and deeply using all of your muscles of breathing. DO NOT MAKE EFFORT OR FORCE YOUR BREATH. Start counting mentally as you breath and establish the ratio 4:2:4:2. This means that you inhale for a count of 4, hold your breath for a count of 2, exhale for a count of 4 and hold your lungs empty for a count of 2 and start from the beginning with the inhalation for a count of 4. Do this continuously in a relaxed way for about ten breaths. Gradually, when this breathing ratio seems very easy and you feel no effort whatsoever, you may try increasing the ratio to 6:3:6:3. This breathing should bring relaxation and not a feeling of effort or tiredness.
Benefits: There will be a relaxation and balancing of the nervous system, greater energy flow in the body and greater peace of mind.
10. DEEP RELAXATION. Lie on your back and cover your self so as not to get cold. With your eyes closed, focus your mind on the various parts of the body and let go of them, allowing them to relax. This will bring about a deep rest in the nervous system bringing about immediate relief from high blood pressure. The daily practice of this technique will gradually bring about a change in temperament in the individual, so that this approach to life and stressful situations will become more relaxed and harmonious. Special attention can be spent on sending healing light and energy to the heart, circulatory system, kidneys and adrenal glands. This technique is most effective when practiced directly after the «peaceful breathing».
THE ABOVE SERIES OF TECHNIQUES SHOULD BE PRACTICED AT LEAST ONCE A DAY, AND EVEN TWICE A DAY IF POSSIBLE.
We remind you again that we are not doctors or therapists. We are educators in harmonious living. We can point out to you what we have found through personal experience to be helpful to us and others. The responsibility for your health and self-therapy, however, lies with you. You can cure yourself if you have self-discipline, patience, and will-power.