growing old

Take Deep Breaths to Lower Blood Pressure

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“Take a deep breath”—it’s a phrase we’ve all heard countless times.  But it means more than you may realize, according to Dr. David Anderson of the National Institutes of Health.  Anderson says a few minutes of deep 6234339d03049db4d007922f2c25123cbreathing daily can drop blood pressure levels.  He believes how we breathe may alter how our bodies regulate blood pressure.

Studies also show that focusing on your breathing can alleviate stress levels… stimulate brain growth… and reduce your risk of heart attack.  Nonetheless, many of us neglect to address breathing habits as part of our overall health strategy.

“We take our breath for granted the way we take our heart beat for granted,” says Carla Ardito, a breathing expert at the Integral Yoga Institute in Manhattan.  But, explains Ardito, the difference is fundamental, because unlike our heart beat, ” we can work on our breathing.”

The Steep Risks Of High Blood Pressure 

Statistics indicate as many as 65 million Americans have hypertension (dangerously high blood pressure).  Hypertension brings an elevated risk of…

  • Heart attacks
  • Strokes
  • Kidney damage
  • Blindness
  • Dementia

Individuals with hypertension are often unaware of their condition—which is why it’s often called “the silent clairvoyant-nature-nature2killer.”  By the time symptoms appear, serious, irreversible damage may already have occurred.

Deep Breathing Offers Answers

Anderson and other doctors believe deep breathing offers answers—and a 2002 study suggests they’re right.  In 2002, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a device designed tolower blood pressure by teaching users to slow their breathing.  The device, called RESPeRATE, measures your breathing pace by sensing chest or abdominal movements.
Users follow a series of chimes signaling inhales and exhales to slow their breathing from a typical rate of 16 to 19 breaths per minute to 10 or fewer.  Clinical trials found blood pressure drops of 10 to 15 points for individuals who used the device for 15 minutes each day for 2 months.

Dr. William J. Elliot, who headed some of the research, was surprised by the magnitude of slow-breathing’s impact on blood pressure—even though no one can quite explain why it works.  It “is still a bit of a black box,” he says.

Health’s Hefty Price Tag?

More than a decade has passed since the FDA approved the RESPeRATE, but many are still unaware of the connection between slow-breathing and blood pressure.  Part of the problem may be the high cost of leading slow-breathing devices.  But the fact is, you don’t need to spend money to slow your breathing and improve your health.

Simply by focusing on your breathing, you direct energy into the parasympathetic nervous system, says Ardito.  You send your whole body into a state of “relax and receive.”

Don’t Count Your Breaths

For best results, experts say you should never count your breathing or watch the clock.  Counting or tracking the time impedes relaxation, which is key to the benefits of slow-breathing.  Instead of a stopwatch or timer, some experts suggest using music as a regulator.  Select a song (or set of songs) with a slow, regular rhythm, and allow your breathing to automatically adjust to the beat.

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Ginger for Arthritis

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There’s a reason some call arthritis the nation’s number one crippler.

More than 100 different diseases are collected into the category of arthritis, and the symptom that links all of them is inflammation.

That’s why a new study from Tel Aviv University is so exciting. The study’s authors identified an all-natural arthritis treatment that is just as effective as mainstream medicine’s beloved non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAID’s)—but without the dangerous side effects.

Sharpen your mincing knives, and prepare to embrace the health benefits of ginger.

The latest statistics indicate that approximately 80% of individuals over the age of 50 suffer from osteoarthritis. Nearly 7 million people in the United States alone suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic condition that inflames the entire body.

Aspirin and other NSAID’s are among the most common treatments for inflammation and pain, yet these drugs, especially NSAID’s, are notorious for their diminishing effectiveness and nasty side effects.

Health Benefits of Ginger

Conventional arthritis treatments cause 3,300 NSAID’s-related ulcer deaths annually.

In contrast, ginger is not only a remarkably safe and natural arthritis treatment, but studies also show it to be equally effective as aspirin and NSAIDs.

On his site Herbal Legacy, Dr. John R. Christopher writes: “Modern science is beginning to demonstrate that the range of diseases that the health benefits of ginger can positively affect as an anti-inflammatory is staggering.” Two clinical trials in Denmark went further and strongly suggested that ginger be included in all arthritis treatment programs.

Health Benefits of Ginger – A Healing Gift

While modern science has only just begun to embrace the health benefits of ginger, it has appeared in the annals of nearly every medical system throughout history. In ancient Ayurvedic texts, ginger is called “vishwabhesaj,” the universal medicine.

Dr. Christopher notes that traditional Chinese and Indian practitioners considered ginger “a healing gift from God.” Now, thanks to advances in technology, scientists can connect inpidual chemical constituents to specific effects.

Somewhat surprisingly, ginger contains a high amount of protein. The root is packed full of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids—notably, vitamin A and niacin. Ginger also contains special components called volatile oils.

Volatile Oils in Ginger Pack A Disease Fighting Punch

These oils are the secret behind its characteristically pungent flavor and many of its health benefits. Two of the most potent of these volatile oils are shagaols and gingerol.

Studies confirm gingerol’s ability to reduce inflammation and block pain pathways. Gingerol and shagaol are proven to neutralize stomach acid… improve circulation… regularize blood pressure… and tone the muscles of the digestive tract. Existing research demonstrates ginger’s efficacy as a treatment for a variety of health issues, such as…

  • Elevated blood sugar and cholesterol levels
  • Cataracts
  • Some blood clotting disorders
  • Radiation exposure
  • Nausea (specifically, resulting from pregnancy or from chemotherapy)
  • Colon cancer
  • Lymphoma
  • Ovarian cancer

Ginger also combats a particular aggravating kind of pain: post-workout muscle soreness. An investigation carried out at the University of Georgia showed both raw and heat-treated ginger alleviates moderate muscular pain.