How slow breathing helps to lower blood pressure – and how you can take advantage of it
NOTE: For information on Breatheasy slow breathing and other slow breathing programs available online, just scroll down to the bottom of this post.
For aeons, yogis and alternative health practitioners have claimed that learning to control your breathing can have powerful effects on your health and well-being. For a while now, scientists have been researching the effects of controlled breathing on health. And their studies are finding that it can indeed have profound health benefits.
There are different kinds of controlled breathing that you can do. Some involve focusing specifically on breathing with your diaphragm rather than with your upper chest. Others focus on breathing as deeply as possible. And there are myriad specific kinds of yogic breathing techniques and chi kung exercises. You can read more about different breathing techniques in this excellent overview article: Breathing Techniques – A Guide to the Science and Methods (Groomandstyle.com)
However, here, we are looking specifically at slow breathing. With slow breathing, you don’t worry about exactly how you’re breathing, you simply focus on breathing more slowly.
Does slow breathing really lower your blood pressure?
Yes. In fact, slow breathing is actually the quickest way to lower blood pressure without medication.
The American Heart Association did a review of studies of slow breathing and blood pressure in 2013. In it, they noted that breathing slowly for just a few minutes can reduce blood pressure by several points, even more than just sitting quietly and resting.
The studies showed that to get the most benefit from slow breathing, you need to to do it for at least fifteen minutes. This gives your body time to really respond to the slow breathing. You also need to do it regularly.
Immediate and long-term benefits of slow breathing for lower blood pressure
So far, there have been no studies looking at the long-term effects of regular slow breathing sessions. However, the early evidence suggests that regular long-term practice of slow breathing can reduce your blood pressure consistently. In other words, the effects will accumulate, rather than wearing off after each session.)
Whatever the long-term effects, there are immediate benefits to getting into a regular habit of doing a period of slow breathing most days. This is because the more you practice slow breathing, the more easily and readily you’ll be able to do it. So when you find yourself in a stressful situation, and you feel your stress levels rise, you can just slow down your breathing immediately. Breathing more slowly will not only keep a lid on your stress levels, and help you keep a clear head, it will also counteract the spike in blood pressure which stress tends to trigger.
Basically, being adept at slow breathing will benefit your blood pressure. Slow breathing will also benefit many other aspects of your health! (Read more here: Health benefits of slow breathing.)
How to do slow breathing effectively
Slow breathing is obviously really simple. You just breathe… more… slowly. However, as you might have found if you’ve ever tried to meditate, sometimes the simplest things are the trickiest. And it can actually be surprisingly hard to sustain your concentration to keep your breathing slow and regular.
So what can you do? Well, many of the medical studies done have had participants use a device called “Resperate“. This is a little electronic device which monitors your breathing via a strap you put around your chest, and which plays you musical tones to tell you when to breathe in and out. Reports so far suggest that it’s easy to use and very helpful, however the downside is that it costs about $300 (about £235 or €280)!
Don’t worry though. There are much cheaper ways to do guided slow breathing! The most popular way is to use guided slow breathing audio tracks. These play you prompts that you can breathe along in time with. So they are an easy and simple way to keep your breathing at a slower-than-usual regular pace. Read on…
Slow breathing programs for lower blood pressure
One of the first guided slow breathing programs on the market was Breatheasy slow breathing program, created by David O’Hara.
Breatheasy – Slow Breathing Program
Breatheasy slow breathing exercises by David O’Hara are a set of slow breathing audio tracks which you can breathe along to. I’ve used it myself and found it very effective (click here for my Breatheasy user review).
In the words of the man himself,
A quality slow breathing exercise audio program captures the power of slow breathing in a simple and easy to use audio program available. The difference is music, real music, not computer generated jingles. That makes a slow breathing exercise audio program more effective because slow breathing requires relaxation to be effective. In fact, the more relaxed you are, the greater the benefits.
What’s more, music has its own therapeutic powers. Researchers have recently demonstrated how listening to music can lower our blood pressure.
Even more remarkable is the findings that the benefits of music increase when combined with slow breathing. That’s exactly what a quality slow breathing exercise audio program is – a unique, powerful and effective combination of slow breathing with real music in a simple and use-friendly format.
100% safe and natural.
Using a slow breathing exercise audio program is simple. Just relax to the music, breathe along with the unique guided breathing track, and enjoy. Master the method and use slow breathing with your own music in a countless number of situations.
There is no easier way to acquire a method with a lifetime pay-off.
The problem is that the Breatheasy slow breathing program is no longer available. What now? Well, instead I’ve created my own set of slow breathing audio tracks which you can use for easy slow breathing: Breathe-Slow audio tracks
There are different tracks for different slow breathing rates (from 10 breaths a minute down to 6 breaths a minute). For each breathing rate, you get four tracks. Three of these tracks have different relaxing background music. This is because studies have found that listening to music can lower blood pressure.
However, some studies also found that it needs to be music that you personally find relaxing or joyful. For this reason, you also get a fourth track (for eacah breathing rate) which has only the breathing prompts. This enables you to play your own music along with the breathing prompts. Or of course you can just listen to the breathing prompts on their own.
You can listen to a sample of the slow breathing tracks here:
At the moment, I’m doing a launch special where you can buy all 20 Breathe-Slow audio tracks with my guide – Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally – included as a free bonus.
Click here for more details on the guide: Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally – The Complete 9 Step Guide Or just click on the picture above to listen to the guided slow breathing samples and/or to buy them.
How does Breatheasy slow breathing (or any slow breathing exercise) lower blood pressure?
There are various ways in which slow breathing lowers blood pressure. And there may be others, since scientists don’t fully understand all the effects of slow breathing.
You can read more here: How does slow breathing lower blood pressure?
To give a brief summary, slow breathing relaxes our blood vessels and slows our heart rate. Both of these result in immediate decreases in blood pressure. Slow breathing can balance the autonomic nervous system, which controls various unconscious processes in our bodies. Slow breathing also reduces stress, which has knock-on effects for blood pressure, since stress is often linked to high blood pressure.
These are just a few of the ways in which slow breathing lowers blood pressure. However, the main point to take from this post is that slow breathing is one of the simplest and most powerful ways you can lower your blood pressure.
So whether you use guided slow breathing recordings, or the Resperate device, or just sit quietly, relax, and focus on slowing your breathing down, the main thing is to keep doing it. You really can just breathe your way to lower blood pressure. And there’s nothing more natural than that 🙂
Breatheasy slow breathing for lower blood pressure – References and more information