What affects blood pressure?
High blood pressure (Hypertension) can affect anyone, at any age, and may have no obvious symptoms. Yet if left untreated, it can lead to a bleeding disorder, heart disease or stroke. It can be caused by weight gain, smoking, lack of exercise or overconsumption of salt or alcohol, but may also be a result of more serious illnesses, such as kidney disease. Even if you don’t fall within any of these categories, high blood pressure can simply be genetic.
When there are symptoms of high blood pressure, they might include headaches, fatigue, chest pain, blood in your urine or a pounding in your chest, neck or ears. However, you should also have your blood pressure checked regularly by your doctor, and particularly before starting any course of medication.
Lower blood pressure naturally
The best way to lower your blood pressure is by changing your lifestyle. This might include the following:
- Lose weight: men are most at risk if their waist measurement is greater than 40 inches, while women’s waist is recommended to be under 35 inches.
- Eat healthily: include whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and aim to lower your sodium intake.
- Exercise regularly: the best types of exercise for lowering blood pressure include walking, cycling, swimming, jogging and dancing
- Limit alcohol: try to stick to one, and then move to water or a seltzer.
- Reduce caffeine: some people are more sensitive to caffeine than others. Test your blood pressure within 30 minutes of drinking a coffee to see how it affects you.
- Stop smoking: kicking the habit is not only proven to be good for lowering your blood pressure but also for improving your overall health.
- Reduce stress: you can download an app to help you learn how to meditate, and think about trying regular massage.
Massage for high blood pressure
Long-term studies have shown that massage has a positive impact on reducing blood pressure. It’s important that you talk to your doctor before starting any course of massage therapy. Some of the benefits of massage may include:
- Reduced stress
- Deeper sleep
- Improved circulation
- Pain relief
What type of massage should I try?
If you’re trying massage for the first time and want a general introduction, you might enjoy a Swedish Massage. It uses a variety of strokes and variable pressure, so there’s something for everyone.
If you would like a treatment that doesn’t require you to undress, you could consider Reflexology. This type of massage uses points in your feet to target your nervous system, bringing about a sense of overall relaxation without being too intrusive.
If you are pregnant (and past your first trimester), you might want to book a specialist Pregnancy Massage. This is a supportive and de-stressing treatment that may reduce swelling and bloating. However, if you are experiencing symptoms of pregnancy-related hypertension you must discuss this with a medical professional first.
Although massage may feel slightly uncomfortable at times if you are holding a lot of tension, it should never be painful. Always let your therapist know if this is ever the case.