Visiting a spa is intended to be a relaxing experience, so it makes sense that spa treatments would lower blood pressure, right? We can tell you that it may be true: Studies show these seven spa and wellness services actually do just that.
Deep-Tissue Massage: We logged on to SpaEvidence.com, the first online resource that contains thousands of clinical studies evaluating the effectiveness of spa and wellness approaches, and found this Louisiana State University analysis, which concluded deep-tissue massage lowers both blood pressure and heart rate. It noted, “45- and 60-minute deep tissue massages led to an average systolic pressure reduction of 10.4 mm; a diastolic pressure reduction of 5.3 mm; a mean arterial pressure reduction of 7.0 mm; and an average heart rate reduction of 10.8 beats per minute.”
Learn more about the physical and emotional benefits of massage.
Qi Gong: On the wellness front, this set of Chinese self-healing exercises combining movement, breathing, and mental imagery, reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure in patients with hypertension, reports a review of nine randomized control trials. Tai chi (and qi gong) is also said to lower blood pressure in older adults, as well as shows success with physical function, depression, and anxiety, says a National Institute for Health Research review of 35 randomized controlled trials.
Yoga: The Mayo Clinic states yoga lowers blood pressure, plus, decreases stress and improves heart function; most recently, a 24-week study presented at the 28th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Society of Hypertension, held May 15-18, 2013, suggested those who practiced yoga two to three times weekly experienced an average of a three-point drop for both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Additional alternative therapies, including aerobic exercise, resistance and strength straining, and isometric hand-grip exercise, may also reduce blood pressures in people with levels higher than 120/80 mm Hg and those who do not react well to standard medications, according to a recent American Heart Association statement in Hypertension journal.
It should be noted that for many of these studies, more scientific research is warranted.
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